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  Hints to Help You Write Effective Handouts
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  The U-Write Solution
A) Content   B) Illustrations   C) Design   D) Production
By production we mean making copies affordably. Excellent designs can fail when it's time to pay for 500 copies of each of six patient education titles. Consider these approaches to stretching your patient education dollar:
Work with standard-sized sheets of paper.
Start visualizing your brochure series by folding or stapling familiar paper sizes. Grab a sheet of regular 8.5" by 11" paper and fold it in half or thirds, and see if your vision will fit this format.
folding sheet along 8.5 axis
Limit your color to select pages.
On the brochure above, a color image on the cover and on the inside requires two sides of color. Color just on the inside or just on the outside will save half your color budget!
Look for ways to reuse your color pages.
Let's look at an orthopedic practice creating its own set of brochures. The physicians agree that they need at least two different knee titles, one on ligament repair, and one on knee replacement. Since six brochures are being produced, every chance to save money is important. One way to save a bit on color is to use the same knee illustration, in the same place, for both brochures. The first savings is the elimination of an additional piece of commissioned art. The second savings is in the larger run size, when copies are made. Instead of paying for two runs of 500 color copies, the practice could order one run of 1000 copies, then feed the paper again through a regular photocopier to add the text that makes each knee brochure different.
Reduce the number of colors
Remember that we mentioned that sometimes less color is better. It's definitely better for the budget when you can reduce not just the number of sides on which you print color, but the number of colors that you use. Let's look at the orthopedic brochure example again. This practice is designing a series of brochures created by folding an 8.5" x 11" sheet in half. They are spending to print full-color medical art on the inside of each, yet they're having trouble justifying full-color on what will be the cover and backside. One solution is to simply add a second ink to this side, perhaps just for the title. This small splash of color will serve to liven up the page, and distinguish it from a photocopy. Yet the cost of this additional color may be as low as a few cents per copy.  
Use a "designer" paper to add a splash of color.
In recent years a number of companies have created "pre-illustrated" papers — sold with designs and/or images already on them, but no text. The concept is the same as business stationary -- the user formats his document so that it doesn't print on top of whatever's already printed on the paper.
Pre-illustrated papers are great, because the expensive color printing is already done. Purchasers can buy a package of sheets, and use their black and white printer to add their message. The result is a full-color handout.
This site was created by U-Write; when you click on the next section you can preview our selection of pre-illustrated cardiovascular sheets. But since our selection is devoted to cardiovascular, let me also recommend PaperDirect. Most of their hundreds of designs are very generic, but they do have a few sheets designed for the healthcare industry. One is called "HealthCare," and has sort of a brown stained look, with Leonardo da Vinci's outstretched man in the corner; another is called "Physician," and has a close-up of a stethoscope on the cover. If you want a nice-looking, full-color, blank brochure, ready for your message, check these out. PaperDirect can be reached at (800) 272-7377 (ask for their free catalog), or visit their Web site at []. Warning; when I last checked out this Web site it was slow and didn't work that well...
Use U-Write's pre-illustrated paper
U-Write publishes pre-illustrated, text free, patient education brochures. Our focus is cardiovascular. If your practice might benefit from beautiful, custom brochures on topics ranging from Women and Heart Disease to Angioplasty, continue to The U-Write Solution.

Share Your Secrets: If you have some good ideas for creating great handouts on a budget, and you'd like to share those ideas with other patient education professionals, email them to us at, and we'll try to add them to this site.

A) Content   B)Illustrations   C) Design   D) Production
Always Think about Production
Although production is the final step to brochure creation, it needs to be considered throughout the development process. This can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding aspects of the brochure creation process. Frankly, anyone can create a set of handouts if money is not an object. Not everyone can create a set that looks great, on a limited budget.
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