How to Choose the Right Font Size for a Brochure

... Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images

Choosing the right font size can make or break a brochure, so it isn't a decision to be made lightly. The goal of a brochure is to attract attention and provide information. A brochure that is not legible, or doesn't attract attention, will simply not be read. Different font sizes should be used effectively to help readers quickly differentiate between headlines, subheads, new subjects and body type. Font size, along with font style, can help establish the mood of the brochure and play a pivotal role in the "story" it is trying to tell.

Select a highly legible font that reflects the tone of what you are trying to say. Serif fonts, such as Century Schoolbook, Century Expanded, Times New Roman, Georgia, or Palatino, work best for body type. You may prefer to select a type "family"--such as Times--using its many variations for all of your different brochure elements (body text, headlines, captions). Limit the number of fonts used to under three to achieve a consistent look that can forge your brand image.

Design a maximum visual hierarchy, making your headlines the largest font size used in the brochure. Don't boost your point size just to fill up extra space, create impact where it matters, like the front cover. Keep all subheads the same size.

Set the text at a 12 point font size. Avoid font sizes that are smaller and more difficult to read.

Make enough room between the lines, giving the type a leading 120% to 130% the size of the type. (A 12-point text would be set on a leading of 14 to 15 points.)

Make sure that no lines in the body of the text are shorter than the font size or longer than double the font size measured in picas (range of 12 to 24 picas equals 2 to 4 inches).

Set off photo captions in bold, to create contrast, rather than setting them in a smaller type size.

Vary the font size of individual parts of the brochure according to their importance, but be consistent throughout with each part. Reserve larger type sizes for the most important headlines.

Lynn Holmgren is a freelance writer based in York, Penn. She has published articles about writing, international exchange, travel and outdoor recreation in ShowcasePA! magazine and Homgren also enjoys writing and reviewing short stories on her blog Long Story Short.