Design is a very subjective thing, it’s more opinion that right and wrong. However, there are certain elements and principles that we should look for in a design to determine whether the design and layout of the material will be able to carry the message across effectively to the readers and your potential market. The main aim of every design material related to advertising or promotion is either to sell something, promote something or brand a company.
The more cluttered or messy the layout and design is for your marketing collateral, the harder it would be for your customers to find the important stuff. So, don’t overcrowd the design of your marketing materials. First and foremost, it should be kept clean and very simple. Yes, we all want to fit as much information as we can into the design but hey, keep the purpose of the design of the marketing stuff in mind. You want to design a novel or design something that sells.
If you have a set of corporate colours (like the colours that you use on your logo, letterhead, envelopes…etc), keep to the same colours in your design. You should present a very simplistic, unique, corporate, professional, consistent image, not a haphazard one. How can anyone rely on you when you have that kind of image, right? It’s best that you not use too many colours for your design. And another important point about designing marketing materials is this; avoid using all the colours of the rainbow in one design! You’re not trying to confuse your customers, you’re trying to make it easy for them to find information, attract them and urge them to buy something from you! I would say using 2 or 3 main colours from your corporate colour for the design is good enough.
There are tonnes of free fonts (quite incredibly attractive ones at that) that you can find off the Internet for the design of your marketing stuff – but the sad news is that it’s not always possible to use all of them. Keep to one single font for the content in your design, and if you wish to, you can use a different (a bolder and louder font) for the headings and titles in your design.
Unlike web publishing, using images in the design of your brochures, flyers, menus, company profiles is always a good idea. Enticing your customers with useful pictures or diagrams that illustrate your point or including pictures of your products in the design of your marketing stuff is encouraged. Be careful and weary of using stock photos from the web for your marketing material. One, the resolution of such images (those that you can get off the Internet) is never good enough for printing purposes.