DESIGNING A BROCHURE – Colour, Negative Space, Typography

Students analyse the use of fonts and negative space in a variety of brochures and then use crayons and markers to create a brochure that promotes an environmental issue they have researched.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9


Language Arts
Visual Arts
Media Literacy


border brochure colour font negative space typography


Crayola Crayons - 24 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Sketchbooks - 1 per student Crayola Fine Line Markers - 12 Count Crayola Broad Line Markers - 16 Count Rulers Pencils Erasers Cardstock Paper - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8 ½" x 11") - 1 per student

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DESIGNING A BROCHURE – Colour, Negative Space, Typography - Step One

Step One

  1. Choose the orientation you want to use for your brochure.
    - horizontal
    - vertical
    - square
  2. Draw some layout ideas in your sketchbook. 
  3. Use boxes and lines to indicate:
    - information zones
    - framing - negative space or borders
    - typography - font weight, size, slant
  4. Choose the design you like the best.
DESIGNING A BROCHURE – Colour, Negative Space, Typography - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use a pencil to lightly draw the compositional framework on your good paper.
    - text boxes
    - framing
    - image boxes
  2. Use a pencil to draw the pictures.
  3. Lightly pencil in the text.
  4. Share your work with a partner to get feedback about the composition and check the spelling.
  5. Make any changes.
DESIGNING A BROCHURE – Colour, Negative Space, Typography - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use markers to colour in the text.
  2. Use crayons to colour the images.
  3. Apply light and heavy pressure with the crayons to make the pictures stand out.
DESIGNING A BROCHURE – Colour, Negative Space, Typography - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use both marker and crayon to create contrast.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a brochure to promote an environmental issue;
  • use borders and negative space to construct an eye-catching design;
  • select and arrange fonts to create a clear message;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • use the lesson plan Powerful Posters available on this website to create a poster to promote their issue;
  • create a stop motion animated film about their issue using the Stop-Motion Animation lesson plan available on this website;
  • organize a viewing of their videos.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students learn modern calligraphy using the Modern Calligraphy lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Have students work through the Analyze a Media Text worksheet available on this website. (Downloads - AnalyseAMediatext.pdf)
  3. Gather a variety of brochures from your local community, enough for at least 2 per group of 4 students.
  4. Download and display the Emphasis, Colour and Balance posters available on this website.
    - review or teach the element of colour – warm/cool colours
    - review or teach the principles of emphasis, balance and unity – placement of shapes, symmetry, asymmetry, radial
  5. Gather, and make available, books about lettering, for example, Little Book of Lettering, by Emily Gregory; Adventures in Lettering: 40 exercises to improve your lettering skills, by Dawn Nicole Warnaar; Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips from Top Artists, by Jenny Doh; Doodle Art and Lettering with Joanne Sharpe: Inspiration and Techniques for Personal Expression, by Joanne Sharpe; and Hand-Lettering (An Interactive Guide to the Art of Drawing Letters), by Megan Wells.
  6. Photocopy the Brochure Analysis worksheet - 1 per student. (Download - BrochureAnalysis.pdf)
  7. Provide time for students to research an environmental issue of their choice.


  1. Place students into small groups of about 4.
  2. Have them analyse the brochures using the Brochure Analysis worksheet. (Download - BrochureAnalysis.pdf)
  3. Once students have completed the task discuss the brochures as a class drawing attention to what makes them effective.
    ​List the characteristics on a chart paper, for example, ​
    - simple and clear composition makes it easy to see important information
    - borders and negative spaces set elements apart from others making it easy to read
    - shows all required information
    - has a dominant element, such as a symbol, or character that immediately catches your eye and gives added meaning
    - uses size, contrasting colour or values to emphasize the most important part of the message 
    - images or symbols are related to the message
    - colours connect the text and images
    - colours have a symbolic meaning that match the message
  4. View and discuss the use of fonts drawing attention to their characteristics.
    List the characteristics on a chart paper, for example,
    - weight - thin, bold (thin fonts are more passive, bold more powerful)
    - colour - symbolic and cultural meanings
    - size - big, small (bigger fonts are more powerful and attract attention first)
    - slant - italics emphasizes words, suggest motion
    - formality - serious, playful
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a brochure to promote an environmental issue.
  2. Use borders and negative space to construct an eye-catching design.
  3. Select and arrange fonts to create a clear message.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when my design:
    - is based on my research;
    - is carefully planned and completed;
    - uses different sizes and weights of fonts;
    - is simple and clear; 
    - uses negative space to make it easy to see important information;
    - shows all required information;
    - has a dominant element, such as a symbol, or character that immediately catches your eye;
    - emphasizes the most important part of the message;
    - includes images or symbols that are related to the message;
    - uses colours that connect with the message.
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into partners.
  2. Ask them to: 
    - share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why
    - analyse the designs using the Analysing Brochures form

    - talk about what they found satisfying about doing this project
    - talk about how they might use what they learned in a different way
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the brochures – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Brochure_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Brochure_self-assessment.pdf)