Adding that little more to your PDF brochure.

Online brochure formats are increasingly becoming more and more popular as they give you the ability to respond to client requests instantly.

The most popular is the PDF brochure format, which can be created from various software packages, but there is a lot more you can utilise from this format that will help enhance the end-user experience. A PDF brochure offers a whole range of benefits, from interactivity to increasing the ability to share your work in seconds.

Interactive brochure design

A Brief History of PDFs

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s to present documents, including text formatting and images, independently of application software, hardware, and operating systems. It beat off the competition to become one of the most widely used digital file formats, with many traits that make them perfect for online brochures.

Here are some key aspects of the PDF format:

  • Cross-platform compatibility: PDFs are designed to be viewed and printed consistently across different platforms and devices, ensuring that your brochure looks the same regardless of the software or operating system being used.
  • Fixed layout: Unlike other document formats like Word or HTML, which can be easily modified and reflowed, PDFs have a fixed layout. This means that the position of text, images, and other elements on the page is preserved, making PDFs ideal for documents where precise layout is important.
  • Security features: PDFs can include various security features such as password protection, encryption, and digital signatures to control access to the document and protect its contents from unauthorised viewing, copying, or modification.
  • Compression: PDFs can be compressed to reduce file size without significantly compromising the quality of the content. This makes them ideal for downloadable documents or distribution via email.
  • Interactive elements: PDFs can contain interactive elements such as hyperlinks, bookmarks, forms, and multimedia elements, allowing for enhanced user engagement and navigation within the document.

Why are PDF brochures better than print brochures?

While a beautiful piece of print design will always have a place in our hearts, PDF brochures offer several advantages over print brochures:

Creating and distributing PDF brochures is often more cost-effective than printing physical brochures. You can skip the printing or shipping costs with PDFs, which can be distributed electronically at minimal expense. Online distribution is great for reaching a larger audience whereas print brochures are limited by access to physical distribution methods. PDFs can be emailed, shared on social media, or downloaded from websites, allowing for broader reach and accessibility. That way they are instantly available to anyone with internet access, enabling immediate access to information about your products or services. Print brochures take more time to produce and distribute, leading to delays in accessing the information.

PDF brochures can incorporate interactive elements such as links, multimedia content, and forms, providing a more engaging and immersive experience for the reader. They can also be easily updated and revised without the need for reprinting. You can make changes to the content or design of your brochure and distribute the updated version electronically, ensuring that your information is always current and accurate.

PDF brochures are also kinder to the environment, as they eliminate the need for paper, ink, and other resources associated with print production. By opting for PDF brochures, you can reduce paper waste and minimise your environmental impact.

With PDF brochures distributed online, you can track engagement metrics such as downloads, page views, and click-through rates using analytics tools. This provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your brochure and allows you to optimise your marketing efforts accordingly.

What can Toast help me do?

The PDF or ‘digital’ version of your brochure should not only follow your brand but enhance it. Toast can create a digital version of your online brochure design and tailor it depending on what the end user’s primary use is going to be or which format enhances what you are selling/promoting. Some of the functions that can be added are:

1. Forms – editable for questionnaires, technical forms, booking forms and enquiries

2. Embedded movies – add movie clips to pages

3. Hyperlinks – provide easy links to external web pages, but also to internal pages to save scrolling

4. Interactive – convert the PDF to an online ‘flippy’ page format that you can add to web pages and create links to it.

Talk to us today about how to make your brochure interactive

PDF brochure

So why bother adding these functions to my PDF brochure?

Adding one or more of these functions will help your PDF work a little harder and might just be one of the things that help differentiate your PDF brochure from your competitors. When creating your electronic PDF brochure you also need to consider:

1. File sizes – can you email this, is it small enough to download quickly? Consider whether your customers could be downloading your PDF brochure on their mobile phone and relying on mobile data.

2. Optimise images – make sure images are looking as good as possible within certain file sizes. Low-resolution images can look unprofessional and detract from all of the hard work that has gone into your PDF brochure.

3. Security – do you need to add encryption or create a password for your brochure? You can also update your website to require a password or a sign-up before downloading.

4. Configuration – does the PDF version you’re creating conform to the print version? Sometimes you’ll want to faithfully recreate your PDF brochure to match the print version and other times you’ll add extra interactive features.

Adding extra functions to your PDF brochure isn’t the golden ticket and should just be a part of the overall package your electronic brochures provide.

In most cases, people create PDFs but are then let down by the presentation/design of the document. Toast are expert in providing well-designed and functional PDF brochures for companies, so why not talk to us today about how we can help you get the most out of your PDFs?

Also check out our blog post about epublishing.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Mark is a founding Director at Toast and heads-up the print team. He specialises in Report design and typography. He's been a Graphic Designer for over 25 years.