Are artist brochures a thing? In a word, yes.
Do you need a brochure of your art? Probably not.
Some artist brochures are better than others. Most are a waste of paper because they’re poorly designed, flimsy, look homemade (in a bad way), have poorly photographed art, or are considered by their creators to be a magic pill that will solve all of their marketing woes.
Know that a brochure of your art is an investment and part of a bigger marketing strategy. It is not a magic bullet.
The only reason I can think of to have a brochure is if you need to give the same information to a large group of people in a compact format.
Maybe you’re sending a direct mail piece to your niche market (garden centers, the wine industry, women’s groups). Or, you teach classes and workshops and want to leave your schedule at targeted locations. Or you participate in a lot of art festivals and people are always asking you for something more substantial than a business card or postcard.
All of these are good reasons to have an artist brochure.
Reread the bold sentence above and note the phrase “same information.” If you have one body of work that you promote to one group of people and a separate body of work that you promote to another group of people, you need two different brochures.
Don't expect huge returns from your brochure. Think of it as an investment—a way to put your name in front of people again and just one component (just one!) of a marketing plan.
When you create a brochure of your art, or any marketing piece, always keep your audience in mind. Your brochure should do the following.
1. Describe what you do and how you’re different from other artists. Perhaps start with your artist statement, but then give it broader appeal. If you have a fascinating story or great sense of humor, use it!
2. Have only the best photography in it. If you don’t have good photos of your art, either get them or forget the brochure.
3. Explain what you offer the recipients. How will their lives be better if they sign up for your workshop? Why will they be happy they selected you to design their anniversary poster instead of someone else? Why should they purchase from you right now?
4. Include all of your contact information: Name, Address (or studio address), Phone Number, Website, Social Sites, and Email.
If your art is available at galleries, include gallery information. If you have open studio hours, include those along with a map.
Even though three of these items are written text, the emphasis in your artist brochure should be on the art (#2): great work, the best photography, and images large enough to make an impact.
This post was originally published on January 5, 2009 and has been updated with original comments intact.