K-12 Lesson Plan - How to Create a Place or Organization Brochure

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One way that people learn about places, people, and things they don't know is by reading about them. But what if they don't have time to read a whole book or just want a quick overview of the subject? Businesses often use brochures to inform, educate, or persuade quickly. They use brochures to grab readers' attention and get them interested enough to want to know more. For example:

  • A brochure for a new convenience store might include a map and list of all the store's locations around town, plus a brief description of the products available.
  • A brochure for an animal shelter might give facts about abandoned animals, pet overpopulation, and the importance of spaying and neutering programs.
  • A travel brochure might show beautiful pictures of exotic places, enticing readers to visit that locale.

These types of brochures tell enough about a place or an organization (or an event) to capture the reader's interest and encourage further action.

Task Description

Create a brochure about [place/organization] that informs, educates, or persuades. The brochure should not be an in-depth study of a topic, but it should give enough information to grab and keep the readers' interest from start to finish.

Your brochure can cover a broad topic, but it shouldn't contain so much information that it overwhelms the reader. Choose two to three key points about [place/organization]. List other important elements in a simple bullet list or chart somewhere in your brochure.

Decide the best format to present your information. Some topics work best with blocks of text; others benefit from lots of pictures. Other possible elements include small blocks of text, lists, charts, and maps. Think about the information you're providing and how best to communicate it. Typically, concentrating on one main element and augmenting with one or two others is the most effective, visually appealing approach.

Organize your information so it flows logically and presents your ideas clearly. Group similar types of ideas together so the reader knows exactly what each section discusses.

Resources

Although you should never plagiarize, drawing inspiration from other pieces is fine. These might include:

  • Brochures from family, friends, and local businesses (for example, travel and local clubs)
  • Brochure design books and portfolios
  • Classroom and library reference materials
  • The internet

Materials

Gather what you'll need to produce your brochure, such as:

  • Page layout software
  • Clip art books, digital photos, graphics software
  • Plain or colored paper
  • Staples (depending on format)
  • A printer that can handle your chosen paper stock

General Brochure Checklist

Many of the items in this list are optional. You must decide which are appropriate for your brochure.

  • Name of location, business, or organization
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Fax number
  • Email address
  • Website and social media addresses (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • A headline that creates curiosity, states a significant benefit, or otherwise entices the reader to open and read your brochure
  • Subheads
  • Short, easy-to-read blocks of text
  • Lists, charts
  • At least three key benefits
  • Features
  • Instructions, steps, parts (for a procedure, to assemble a product, etc.)
  • Biographies (of business owners, key members of the organization, officers, etc.)
  • Mission statement
  • History
  • Logo
  • Graphic images, including purely decorative elements
  • Photographs of product, place, people
  • Diagram, flow chart
  • Map
  • Call to action (what you want the reader to do: call, visit, fill out a form, etc.)

Checklist for a Brochure About a Place

These items are specifically related to brochures about a place. Not all will apply to your brochure.

  • Does the brochure give enough information so that the reader knows where to find this place? (map, directions)
  • Does the brochure tell what is significant about this place (historical importance, tourist attractions, famous residents, significant industries, etc.)?
  • Are there interesting pictures? (Pictures with people are usually more effective, but photographs of well-known landmarks or beautiful scenery can work with or without people in the photos.)
  • Are the pictures or clip art useful? Do they help to tell the story, or do they merely fill up space?
  • Does the brochure make the reader want to visit or learn more about this place?

Checklist for a Brochure About an Organization

When creating a brochure about a group or organization, address these issues (not all apply to every brochure):

  • Does the brochure give the name of the organization?
  • Is the purpose of the organization clearly stated?
  • Does the brochure list the organization's activities?
  • If appropriate, is there a calendar of events?
  • Does the brochure include information about a product or service that it sells or gives away?
  • Does the brochure state the membership requirements (if any) for the organization?
  • Does the brochure tell how to contact the organization?
  • Are the most important activities of the organization highlighted?
  • Does the brochure make the reader want to join the organization (or find out more about it)?

Steps

To take an organized, focused approach to creating your brochure, follow these steps.

  1. Write down what you currently know off the top of your head about your topic. If it is a place, describe the location. List key landmarks, exciting tourist spots, or historically significant locations. For an organization, write down what you know about that group, its mission or purpose, and its membership. Don't worry about grammar, punctuation, format, etc. at this point; you're just brainstorming and getting all your ideas out there to organize later.

  2. Look at sample brochures you or your class has collected. Identify those with a style or format you might like to imitate. See how much detail each type of brochure includes.

  3. Research your topic. Use the materials provided in the classroom or from other sources to gather more details about your topic. From these materials and what you already know about the topic, pick five or six significant or interesting facts to highlight in your brochure.

    Find your topic's unique selling proposition, or USP: one fact or feature that separates the topic of your brochure from other similar places, organizations, etc. For example, perhaps your lawn service offers Sunday mowing, whereas your competitors do not. Maybe your photography club doesn't charge dues, while others in the area do.

  4. Use the Place Checklist or the Organization Checklist for questions and ideas on what to include in your brochure.

  5. Using the Brochure Checklist, outline the major components of your brochure.

    Features are not the same as benefits. Instead of merely listing facts about your product, place, organization, etc., tell the reader why she'd be interested in it. Put yourself in the reader's place and ask yourself why you'd visit or use what the brochure is describing. For example, you might use specialized equipment in your lawn service. Rather than describing that equipment, tell the reader how it benefits him; rather than "We use the Acme X5000 to cut your lawn," write "Our quiet, fast lawnmowing won't even wake you on a Saturday morning, thanks to equipment like the Acme x5000."

  6. Write headlines and subheads. Write the descriptive text. Make lists.

  7. Sketch out some rough ideas of how you want your brochure to look, including graphics. Sources might include clip art included in your software; clip art books; your own photos and drawings; and online graphics sites (Creative Commons is the best place to start for royalty-free graphics). Experiment with formats and layouts.

    Make sure that the graphics you choose are not copyrighted or otherwise restricted for use.

  8. Using your page layout software, transfer your rough sketches to the computer. Your software might offer templates or wizards that provide even more ideas.

  9. Print your final design and fold or staple as necessary.

Evaluation

Your teacher and classmates will use the criteria listed in the checklists accompanying this lesson (Brochure Checklist and Place or Organization Checklist) to see how well you have presented your topic. You will use the same criteria to judge the work of your classmates and providing input to your teacher. Not everyone will agree on the effectiveness of any single brochure, but if you have done your job well, most readers will agree that your brochure gives them the information they want and need, is easy to follow, and makes them want to know more.

Conclusion

The brochure as an informative, educational, or persuasive device must present information in a clear, organized manner. It should be concise and organized so that the reader doesn't become bored before reaching the end. Because it doesn't tell the whole story, it should contain the essential parts of the story. Give the reader the most significant, most interesting facts — enough information that will make them want to find out more or take the action that you clearly describe at the end of the brochure.

Note to Teacher

This project could be assigned to individual students or teams of two or more. Assign specific topics, or provide the class with a list of approved or suggested topics.

Suggestions

  • Where you live (city, county, state, country)
  • An entire country or specific regions or cities that tie in with your current unit of study (current or past periods, such as London in the 1860s)
  • A fictional location (The land of Oz)
  • Mars, Saturn, the Moon, etc.
  • An organization or group related to your current unit of study (the Sons of Temperance, a Native American tribe, the Whigs)
  • A local or school organization (FTA, the Art Club, the school football team, the Junior Rotary Club)

In evaluating the brochures, consider having classmates who are not involved in that particular brochure project read a student's brochure and then take a simple quiz (written or verbal) to determine how well the brochure writers/designers presented their topic. (After one reading, could most of the students tell or describe what the brochure was about? What key points were made? etc.)