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Crafting Visual Stories Through Effective Collateral Design Strategies

February 20, 2024 | Design

Consider two marketing scenarios. The first involves Company A, which opts for a straightforward approach to flyer distribution, presenting just the essential details of an event alongside one or two images. On the other hand, Company B takes a more thoughtful path, crafting its flyers with careful attention to layout, color schemes, and typography to ensure maximum visual appeal. The outcome? Company B sees substantial success thanks to its creative flair. Their collateral design not only boosts attendance at the event but also prevents wasted marketing spending.

The average response rate of a leaflet distribution campaign is between 0.5% and 1%. But effective collateral design can move the needle, capturing the reader’s attention and compelling them to take notice. How? Find out below. 

What is Collateral Design?

Collateral design refers to the creation of marketing materials used to support and reinforce branding. Companies often print marketing collaterals to advertise a new event or campaign, educate customers about their products, or simply provide a way to keep in touch. 

Common examples of marketing collaterals include:

  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Email templates
  • Social media graphics

Too often, companies give insufficient consideration to the design of these marketing materials. But they matter. The font on a business card, the material, and the design all tell a story about your company. If you’ve ever leafed through a brochure from a high-end hotel, you’ll notice the luxurious design with ornate typography and a color palette of reds and golds. Quality, creativity, and coherence in these materials work together to influence customer perception – they convey a brand’s ethos and values, giving a little taste of what’s to come.

Key Principles of Collateral Design

Exceptional collateral design doesn’t happen by accident. It takes close attention to detail and a fundamental understanding of the core principles to achieve the desired result. Even Apple’s minimalist adverts aren’t cobbled together – the less there is on the page, the more critical each element becomes. 

So, what are the key principles of collateral design? And how do they guarantee an effective, eye-catching result?


Telling a story visually begins and ends with layout. Where things are on the page informs the viewer what to notice first and what journey their eyes should take through the piece. Effective layout uses space, balance, and movement to guide the viewer. Even white space is vital for separating components.

As a rule of thumb, the most important information should be at the top. We visually prioritize this information, giving it more attention. However, as with all design rules, you can break it if you have a specific design reason.

Color Schemes

Colors are more than just decoration; they communicate feelings, set the tone, and can alter a viewer’s perception. Choosing the right color scheme is critical for creating a mood and highlighting essential elements.

However, color is also linked to emotion. If you’re creating a poster for a health campaign, reds, yellows, and oranges should be off the cards. Patients associated healthcare with blues and whites. Ignoring these time-tested associations will undermine your overall message.


Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. It encompasses the choice of typefaces, point size, line length, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking) and adjusts the space between pairs of letters (kerning).

The font choice is closely linked to a brand’s identity and particular industries. For example, sleek, minimalist fonts are the mainstay of the tech industry. Meanwhile, serif fonts (with the little pointy extras) are often found in collateral designs for traditional products and services. Indeed, the more ornate the font becomes, the more we expect opulence and luxury. 

Consistent Brand Identity

The cornerstone of effective collateral design lies in maintaining a consistent brand identity. Usually, that’s a specific color scheme and font selection. Customers should be able to look at your marketing collaterals and immediately know who’s behind the campaign. 

Every piece of collateral, from the smallest business card to the largest billboard, should be instantly recognizable as part of the brand.

Best Practices for Designing Collateral Marketing Materials

How do we bring these concepts together in our collateral design? Whether you’re making a brochure, business card, or flyer, consider these best practices:

  1. Clear Hierarchy and Layout: Design with a logical flow that guides the reader through the material. Use headings, bullet points, and spacing strategically to highlight key information, ensuring the layout balances aesthetic appeal with ease of navigation.
  2. Consistent Brand Elements: Consistently incorporate your brand’s logo, color palette, and typography across all materials. This not only reinforces brand identity but also enhances recognition and trust among your audience.
  3. Engaging Visuals: Use high-quality images and graphics that complement the text and effectively convey your message. Visuals should capture attention while aligning with the brand’s aesthetic and message.
  4. Purposeful Color Scheme: Choose colors that evoke your audience’s desired emotions and actions. Color schemes should reflect your brand’s personality and enhance the readability of your content.
  5. Contact Information and Call to Action: Clearly display contact details and a compelling call to action. Encourage readers to take the next step, whether it’s visiting a website, making a call, or attending an event, making it easy for them to engage with your brand.

Try Ashore for Your Collateral Design

Collateral design is central to creating impactful marketing materials. But with the fast pace of digital design and production, it’s easy for errors to occur. Imagine finalizing a brochure design only to find a typo after hundreds have been printed.

Ashore offers a specialized proofing platform designed for the unique needs of collateral designers. It allows for the upload of various file types, streamlining the approval process, enabling comments, and allowing direct annotations on designs.

With Ashore, confusion and delays in receiving feedback are eliminated. Designers can quickly finalize their creations and rectify mistakes before production, ensuring flawless collateral. Ashore’s platform is known for making the proofing process 50% faster compared to conventional methods. Features include automated workflows, comprehensive customer approval checklists, and an intuitive proofing interface. Get started with Ashore for free and transform how you proof your collateral designs today.

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