Digitalise, digitalise, digitalise.

Knowing how to create a digital brochure in PDF format is something that you should be aware of, especially if you need to create one.

However, we understand that not everyone does, and that’s okay.

Try creating one yourself, but if it doesn’t go well, you always have Toast to fall back on, we promise.

So, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get a great DIY result.

Section 1: Getting Started with Your PDF Brochure

Creating a digital brochure in PDF format begins with the right tools and document setup.

Before rushing into the design and content, you’ll need to follow these steps to start on the right footing:

Select the Software

This is the foundation of your brochure project.

Your choice will depend on your familiarity with the tech and any design requirements you have in mind.

Here are some options:

  • Adobe InDesign: It’s professional-grade and offers a wide range of features for creating complex layouts, typography, and handling high-quality images. If you’re already familiar with Adobe Creative Cloud, this might be the one for you.
  • Microsoft Publisher: If you’re more comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite, Publisher is a user-friendly option. It’s known for its ease of use and offers templates—an excellent choice for those who want to create a brochure without a steep learning curve.
  • Online Tools like Canva: For the most accessible (but most limiting) approach, online design tools can provide a user-friendly interface for creating online brochures. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and small projects but not a great option for higher-scale or more detailed designs.

Start a New PDF Document

After selecting the appropriate software, the next step is creating the brochure.

  • Launch Your Software: Open the software you’ve selected. Typically, this means opening an application; however, if you’ve opted for an online tool, go to their website and choose a template you’d like to work with.
  • Choose the Page Size: Select the appropriate size or template depending on your brochure’s purpose. You can specify the dimensions directly or choose pre-existing sizes.
  • Set Orientation: Landscape or portrait? It has a more significant impact than you may think.
  • Specify Margins and Bleed: Margins make sure your content stays within a certain area, while bleed extends elements beyond the page edge to prevent white edges when printing (not so crucial for digital).
  • Save Your Project: Name it something that makes sense, and save it to various files to ensure you don’t lose it.

Section 2: Designing Your Brochure

Designing a digital brochure in PDF format is a creative process crucial to captivating your audience.

To ensure your brochure is visually appealing and effectively conveys your message, follow these detailed steps:

Adding Content:

  • Text: Consider the content you want to convey and break it into sections or pages. Organise your content logically with headings, subheadings, and body text.
  • Images: Images are powerful visual elements that can enhance the appeal of your brochure. Select high-quality images that relate to your content. Ensure they are correctly sized and optimised for the digital format.
  • Other Elements: Depending on the nature of your brochure, include additional elements such as charts, diagrams, icons, or infographics. These elements help convey complex information in an easily digestible format.
  • Layout and Organisation: Use columns, grids, and guides to align elements correctly. Make good use of white space to avoid overcrowding the design. Consider using a consistent layout structure for each page or section.

Choosing Fonts and Colours:

  • Fonts: Choose fonts that align with your brand and message. Consider the readability of the fonts you select, especially for the body text. Ensure your fonts are available and licensed for your intended use.
  • Colours: Use a colour scheme that aligns with your brand identity and the message you want to convey. Make sure the text and background colours provide sufficient contrast for readability. Limiting your colour palette to a few complementary colours is good practice to maintain visual consistency.
  • Branding: If your brochure is part of a broader marketing strategy, make sure to incorporate your brand’s colours and logo. Consistency in branding helps reinforce your identity and message.
  • Test for Accessibility: Ensure that your font choices and colour combinations are accessible to all readers, including those with visual impairments. Use tools to check the accessibility of your design and make necessary adjustments to improve readability.
  • Create Style Guides: Create a style guide outlining your font choices and colour codes. This guide can be handy if you collaborate with others on brochure design and maintain consistency in all your marketing materials.

Section 3: Adding Interactivity

To make your digital brochure genuinely engaging and interactive, consider incorporating the following elements:


Hyperlinks are valuable to your digital brochure, allowing readers to navigate seamlessly between sections or access external web content.

Here’s how to use hyperlinks effectively:

  • Internal Navigation: Create hyperlinks that link to different sections within your brochure. This is particularly useful for long brochures with multiple sections. Readers can click on a table of contents, which will take them directly to the relevant page.
  • External Links: Include hyperlinks to external web pages, such as your website, social media profiles, or other online resources related to your brochure’s content.
  • Creating Hyperlinks: Most design software, including Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Publisher, allow you to create hyperlinks easily. Select the text or image to turn into a hyperlink and specify the target URL.
  • Test Hyperlinks: Before finalising your brochure, thoroughly test all hyperlinks to ensure they work as expected. Make sure they open in a new window or tab to keep readers within the brochure.


Interactive buttons provide a user-friendly way to guide readers through your brochure and encourage specific actions.

  • Define Button Actions: Buttons can trigger a range of actions, such as “Learn More,” “Contact Us,” “Download Now,” or “Request a Quote.” Define the action that best suits your brochure’s goals.
  • Button Design: Customise the design of your buttons to make them visually appealing. Consider using different colours, shapes, and text styles to attract attention.
  • Button Placement: Strategically place buttons throughout your brochure to encourage readers to act immediately. For instance, a “Learn More” button could follow a section with a brief overview.
  • Interaction Feedback: Ensure that readers receive immediate feedback when they click a button. This might include a change in button appearance, a brief animation, or a pop-up message.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Test your buttons on various devices to ensure they are responsive and functional on desktop and mobile platforms.

Multimedia Elements:

Multimedia elements can transform your digital brochure into an engaging multimedia experience.

  • Videos: Embed videos related to your content. Ensure that videos are hosted on platforms compatible with your PDF reader.
  • Audio: Include audio elements like narrations or sound effects to provide an immersive experience. Make sure audio files are compressed and play without issues within the PDF.
  • File Optimisation: Optimise multimedia files for smaller file sizes to prevent slow loading times. Provide clear instructions for users to enable multimedia content if it’s disabled by default in their PDF viewer.
  • Accessibility: Ensure multimedia content is accessible to all readers, including those with disabilities. Provide text descriptions for images and transcripts for audio or video elements.

Section 4: Saving Your Brochure in PDF Format

After you’ve invested time and effort in designing your digital brochure, it’s crucial to save it in a manner that ensures it looks great both on digital screens and in print.

PDF Settings:

PDF settings play a vital role in determining the quality and compatibility of your digital brochure.

Here’s how to optimise these settings:

  • Quality vs. File Size: Choose the appropriate balance between quality and file size. For digital brochures, a high-quality setting is usually suitable, but you can adjust it based on your specific needs.
  • Page Size and Orientation: Ensure that the page size and orientation are consistent with the design of your brochure. This is especially important if you plan to have your brochure printed.
  • Colour Space: Set your colour mode to CMYK if you intend to print the brochure. For digital viewing, RGB is usually suitable. Be sure to choose the right colour profile to ensure consistent colours across different devices.
  • Embed Fonts: If you’ve used custom fonts in your brochure, make sure to embed them in the PDF. This ensures that your chosen fonts will display correctly, even if the recipient doesn’t have those fonts installed on their system.
  • Security Settings: If your brochure contains sensitive information, you can apply security settings to restrict access, printing, or editing. However, ensure that these settings don’t hinder the user experience.
  • Metadata: Include essential metadata, such as the title, author, and keywords, to help with document management and SEO.

File Compression:

Compressing your PDF is essential for improving loading times, especially if you plan to distribute it digitally.

  • Image Compression: Reduce the size of images in your brochure without compromising quality. Most PDF software allows you to adjust image quality and resolution. You can also use image optimisation tools to reduce file size.
  • Text and Font Compression: Enable text and font compression to reduce the size of text elements. This is particularly effective if your brochure contains a lot of text.
  • Downsample Images: When saving for digital use, downsample high-resolution images to screen resolution (typically 72-96 DPI). For print, choose a higher resolution suitable for your printer’s requirements.
  • Remove Unnecessary Elements: Eliminate unnecessary layers, annotations, or hidden elements that may bloat your file size.
  • Testing and Preview: Before finalising your PDF, test it on various devices and PDF viewers to ensure that the compression doesn’t compromise the quality and readability of your brochure.

Section 5: Distributing and Sharing Your Brochure

Creating an outstanding digital brochure is only the first step.

The next crucial phase is distributing and sharing it with your target audience.

Here’s how you can successfully get your brochure into the hands of your readers:

Sharing Channels:

Selecting the right channels for distributing your digital brochure is essential.

  • Email: Send your brochure as an attachment or provide a link to download. Personalise your email with a compelling subject line and a brief introduction to entice recipients to open and explore your brochure.
  • Website: Create a dedicated page on your website where visitors can easily access and download your brochure. Include a clear call to action (CTA) encouraging visitors to explore it.
  • Social Media: Share snippets, images, or links to your digital brochure on your social media profiles. Tailor your content for each platform, taking advantage of hashtags and tagging relevant accounts to increase visibility.
  • Document-Sharing Platforms: Platforms like SlideShare, Scribd, or Issuu are excellent for uploading and sharing PDF brochures. They offer exposure to a broader audience and may help your brochure get discovered by interested readers.
  • Online Advertising: Consider paid online advertising, such as Google Ads or social media ads, to target a specific audience interested in your brochure’s content. This can be especially effective for promotional brochures.

SEO Optimisation:

To make your digital brochure discoverable on search engines and increase its visibility, you can apply SEO optimisation techniques:

Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords and phrases related to your brochure’s topic. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find high-traffic and low-competition keywords.

  1. Meta Descriptions: Craft compelling meta descriptions that not only include your target keywords but also entice users to click. A well-written meta description can significantly improve click-through rates.
  2. Title Optimisation: Optimise the title of your brochure to include keywords naturally while still being descriptive and engaging.
  3. Image Alt Text: If your brochure contains images, provide descriptive alt text for accessibility and SEO purposes. This helps search engines understand the content of your images.
  4. Backlinks: Encourage backlinks to your brochure from other reputable websites. The more quality backlinks you have, the more authority your brochure gains in search results.
  5. Local SEO: If your brochure has a local focus, consider optimising it for local search by including location-based keywords.
  6. Regular Updates: Periodically update your brochure with fresh content or new editions to keep it relevant and improve search rankings.

Final Thoughts

Woah, that’s a lot.

If you’ve read through all that and decided it’s not for you, don’t worry because you’re already in the right place.

We design brochures: Wink wink, nudge nudge.

There’s no shame in hiring a professional design agency to do your digital brochure for you.

Do you need help with digital brochures?

If you would like to discuss your digital brochure requirements, call us on 01295 266644 or complete the form and we'll get in touch.