Another New Career: Designing Brochure Covers

I decided instead of not posting while I’m working, I would bring you into my workspace.  Although I am not a graphic artist, I am designing covers for a new brochure for California Council for the Social Studies.  So I’d like you to help me judge attractiveness.  You should probably know what the organization is all about.


California Council for the Social Studies

  • advocates for and promotes social studies education as an essential foundation in developing citizens for a democratic society in the 21st Century.
  • provides professional development for social studies teachers through state and regional and local conferences.
  • identifies and produces quality instructional resources and programs to improve classroom instruction of social studies
  • assists in the development and implementation of state and local policies, legislation, framework, standards, testing and other instructional components.

So here are a few brochure covers I have played with.  I won’t be at all insulted if you have some constructive feedback for me because these are ideas.  Paula may redo them all, but I wanted to give her something to work with to start.  One of these designs has an image that may be copyrighted that I have altered a bit, but if we use it I’ll get permission or purchase the image.  Since we might not choose it, I’ll leave it for now.

Brochure #1
Brochure #1
Brochure #2
Brochure #2
CCSS Brochure #3
CCSS Brochure #3

So what advice do you have for me?  Do any of these look like a possible brochure cover?

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

46 thoughts on “Another New Career: Designing Brochure Covers”

  1. The third one looks like a gov’t pamphlet. If you’re going for that official look, that’s u’r best bet. I like the 4th one best, my only suggestion would be to remove the letters over the fingers… it’s a bit busy and difficult to read the acronym. Best of luck and have fun with it! 😀


  2. The first one I think is the best ……..simple and to the point
    The second is too way out
    The third looks like an old sock
    The fourth a bit wacky
    Good Morning dear Marsha 😀 xox


  3. Honest feedback? Here goes:
    1. It’s good, but I don’t quite like the slant of the font. Especially in the subtitle. It’s a little too slanted and a little too think to read comfortably. Also, since it’s about California, wouldn’t a photo (in the same style and general look as the one you have) of a California flag (or any other California-related symbol) make a bit more sense?

    2. The background is way too pink and too unquiet. It distracts. The vertical writing is BAD. It’s hard to read and you want it to be easily read because that attracts the gaze.

    3. The third looks unprofessional, in the way that it’s a bit all over the place and there is no structure there.

    4. Don’t like the background – too jumpy. Don’t like that you’re using different fonts and/or different sizes of the font, it makes it eve more unquiet. I have no idea what the picture has to do with your message.

    I’m sorry if it sounds harsh… But now comes the good part (= the constructive part):
    – keep the background simple and in tone with the picture you’re using, like you did with no. 1
    – give the symbol/picture another think – maybe there’s something that connects better with your message – something to do with social studies teaching or with California or both?
    – try and use a font that is a bit straighter than this one, the slant is a little too rushed – maybe something in bold?
    – for the overall structure, the first (and fourth, except for the CCSS in the middle) is the best because it’s easy to read, easy to orientate yourself at a first glance and it makes it clear what it is about
    – if you have some kind of professional crest or symbol or emblem, try using that as well, maybe in front of the undertitle – it’ll make it look a lot more professional and serious and it increases the branding aspect (people with recognize it on other pamphlets or letters or whatever else you’re using)

    I hope this helps!


    1. Wow, you are a wonderful critique. It really does help. Like I sais, I’m not a professional. I did them all in photoshop, so I’m going to purchase adobe illustrator, which is what the folks in our county office use. THANKS SO MUCH!


      1. I’m not a professional either, I’ve just had a lot of experience with what works and what doesn’t – designing teaching material and so on. 🙂
        I’m glad if it helps!


        1. I’ve done a lot of that, but like I said, with the help of someone artistic! I’m getting great feedback on this. I happen to agree with everyone, but need a different photo. I’m ordering Adobe Illustrator as well, because I think it is the right product. 🙂


  4. I prefer the first one however, I’m not sure about the font… I’d like to see it in ‘regular’ as well as ‘italic’ in order to have a comparison…! Well done to you… 🙂


  5. I’m with Ralph on this one, I like number one best. It’s simple and easy to read. I also agree with carolynpageabc in that I would like to see it in both styles of font. Good work, you will have that list complete in no time!


  6. No. 1 is probably the best only I’m not fond of the woman peaking around the US flag. Just does not fit the pic. Also the mish mash of trees to the upper left gives it a cluttered look. Remove the clutter and you’ll have a better overall image. Run these by us again after making some adjustments.


    1. So I know, and so I don’t have! Creativity belongs to my husband. I am not artistic. I am like the C in art A for effort type gal. All my art comes from the wrong side of my brain!!!!


      1. You don’t? You do make quilts and sawing and initiating programs and conferences… I do believe these take enormous creativity and energy. Do you not?


  7. I think the first one is the best; it’s uncluttered and to the point. As was mentioned by another commenter, I would replace the US flag with the California state flag. The California flag is among the more striking state flags and would provide a good art element. In addition, it would reinforce the idea that the subject matter concerns social studies teachers in California.


    1. Oh, Sally, how much do I owe you? Would you lie to accompany me through cyberspace and be my voice of compliments. What I couldn’t do last night during my free internet hours was get on the internet. Now that it is past 5:00 I’m up and running. And I just realized that it’s 5:54 and Kiwanis is at 6:30. Yikes! I’ve gotta go!!! ML 🙂


  8. You have a group of wonderful readers, here, with much helpful advice. I don’t have anything new to add … I’ll just agree that I think vertical writing is bad, and the simpler the better. No fancy color fades, either, or weird fonts. Just basic “here’s the facts” goodness.


    1. You all picked the one I liked best, too. I have taken your advice and run with it. I bought Adobe Illustrator and fought harder with it than I do with Ralph. I finally caved in about 1:30 and decided I’d had enough, and I’m calling in the expert today. That’s the dear “daughter” that always :has my back:, Paula T. She’ll fix me. I have used your plain simple color choice and a different picture of the same group of kids performing next to a tiny portion of the American flag, so you know it’s a history performance. I put in the Bear Flag of CA for Cotton, whom I love and respect. I’ll share it with you all soon. Love and hugs to you all for your help!!! 🙂


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