Sometimes marketing directors or department managers are compelled to have a graphic designer create an editable brochure in Microsoft Word so that future issues or editions of the brochure can be easily edited by the internal team. Sounds like a legitimate request, right? Not so fast. In fact, creating a brochure in Word for these reasons is perhaps the most unproductive use of time and manpower imaginable. If you are working with a legitimate graphic designer they will no doubt do their best to steer you towards more robust page layout software, such as Adobe InDesign.
In theory, Word provides some tools that can be used to design a brochure. Tasks such as inserting images, creating columns and changing fonts and colors can be accomplished. In reality, Word is not the way of achieving aesthetically pleasing layout and design – after all, it’s a word processing program. While it can format text and insert artwork, Word does not allow you the exceptional control, accuracy and adaptability that professional page layout software provides.
Common misconceptions of designing your brochure in Word
- Anyone can easily edit the file
- Once you create it, alternate versions can be created with ease
- You can print high-quality brochures locally
- You will love the experience of designing in Word
At Trillion, we’ve had requests from Fortune 500 clients, as well as some of our smaller clients, to develop complicated template designs in Word. Upon receiving these requests, we quickly persuade our clients to choose another route. While clients are seeking the ability to change content quickly and internally, the fact is any change in word-count or resized photos in future issues can render a Word template useless; or at the very least create enormous headaches for the person tasked with trying to make the design look acceptable. Bottom line: it will cost you more in lost time and productivity than to have a designer produce the document in InDesign.
In addition, file sizes can become very large if photos are embedded into a Word document. Increased file size can tax systems and networks that are not capable of handling the increased bandwidth that large files require. Inserting, resizing and rotating images can yield unpredictable results given the level of the person’s expertise. It’s also likely that photos will not be proportionately scaled or resized simply due to the software’s lack of control when importing images. The end result is your brochure will look less than professional to your prospects and/or customers.
Even the act of trying to print a brochure created in Word at a commercial printer will pose major challenges. For one, Word cannot separate colors properly. This means that if you need 5,000 2-color brochures to be printed you’ll be out of luck because of software limitations and incompatibility with the printer’s equipment. When the printer calls you and says “so what do you want me to do with this?” expect that one of the solutions she offers is to recreate the brochure in more appropriate page layout software such as InDesign. That means additional costs to you, of course.
Another major limitation of having a brochure designed with Microsoft Word and printed is that images cannot extend to the edge of the paper. Nothing says “amateur” quite like white borders all around a brochure’s perimeter. With InDesign, we can extend images over the edge of the paper (this is called bleed) and then properly render that to show trim for printing.
In summary, here are the realities of designing your brochure in Word:
- Lack of layout precision and control
- No guarantee editors will know how to modify or adjust
- Major printing limitations
- Embedded artwork can lead to cumbersome file sizes
When department heads want to have an editable brochure template created, we recommend having Trillion design it in InDesign so the project goes smoothly from start to finish — in the initial version as well as those that will be revised or updated in the future. This will help ensure that you distribute a brochure that looks great no matter how many iterations or future editions you require. If you would like to discuss your brochure design project with Trillion, give us a call at 908.219.4703 or click here to contact us.