Carfraemill wedding brochure design

Thursday 10 March 2016

My wedding brochure design for Carfraemill

Carfraemill is a family-run hotel nestled at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills in Lauderdale. It is set in a stunning location, conveniently placed between the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh and the rural towns of the Scottish Borders.

The brief from Ruth was to create a visually inspiring brochure which would encourage brides and grooms to visit the venue. The brochure needed to work equally well in both PDF and printed format, complement the clean style of their web site, and feature lots of the lovely images they have recently commissioned. And with the wedding planning season in full swing they needed something as soon as possible to respond to an increasing number of enquiries. Printed copies of the brochure would be produced in small batches to allow for the images to be updated as appropriate.

Choosing a venue is a key part of planning a wedding, as well as being one of the highest value decisions that the bride and groom will make. So I felt it was important to reflect this in the production values of the brochure as well as in the design. With this in mind I began planning the project from the end, and worked backwards.

The size of this brochure design is guided by the fact that it will be posted out

The brochure would be posted as well as being viewed as a PDF. For posting purposes choosing a size which would fit through letterboxes without being damaged, and which would work with Royal Mail pricing was important. For the PDF (which was to be identical to the printed version) keeping the page size down would make the same sized type appear relatively larger on the page. This was important as it should help reduce the need to zoom in and out to read it – even when displayed as spreads. Using A5 met all these requirements, as well as being a standard paper size, which reduces the amount of waste from each printed sheet.

The next step was to find a printer who could print the brochure. With short print runs planned it was almost certain that the best way to print the project would be on a digital press. However, digital printing technology is massively varied, and the quality of the print and ability to reproduce colour well were important deciding factors. This brochure was going to have large images in it but, just as critical, the client’s corporate colour is orange. Orange is a notoriously difficult colour to reproduce accurately, so we needed to find a printer who could cope with that. I decided to focus my search on printers running HP Indigo presses based on previous experience. For more information about digital printing read my interview with Matt Taylor at Colour Options.

With a printer identified I was able to choose a paper from the range which was suitable for their press. Several paper merchants produce papers which are HP Indigo compatible, or which can be treated with a special sapphire coating to make them receptive to the digital inks. This focused down the search. From the papers available I knew I was looking for something with a soft white colour so it would complement the orange in Carfraemill’s identity. But thinking back to those production values I also wanted something with some texture, which would make the brochure pleasingly tactile to touch. With lots of images in the design it was also important that the paper was opaque enough to negate the risk of any show through, which would really spoil the end result. The paper I chose was Old Mill from Fedrigoni, which ticked all the boxes.

Centre sewing with orange thread finished the brochure design beautifully

The usual binding technique for a 16pp brochure would be a simple wire stitch – or staple. I felt this would be missing out on an opportunity to use the binding to further enhance the finish, and to help this brochure to stand out from any others that brides and grooms might also receive. Centre sewing was ideally suited to this project and is becoming increasingly popular. This is where the pages are sewn together along the fold with a run of small stitches. It allows the brochure to be opened flat, and with the stitching in orange to make a real feature of it, it would be the perfect finishing touch. I have been lucky enough to work with Hipwell Bookbinders on projects in the past, and so I knew that they would work their magic on this project too.

There was a huge range of lovely images to choose from for this brochure design

Designing this brochure was a pleasure. Ruth was able to supply copy and a huge range of lovely images to choose from. With the web site in place, the visual style was already established, but translating that to print, and presenting the information and images in a way which was interesting and impactful was great fun.

Tweet from Carfraemill about the project

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Photograph of Sarah Cowan

Hello! I’m Sarah, an independent graphic designer & typographer, helping businesses to communicate their unique selling points through printed marketing and communications.

I’ve been sharing my knowledge about design, typography, marketing, branding and printing since 2014. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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Sarah Cowan