While an ad has a couple of seconds to get prospects' attention before they turn away, a brochure can establish a relationship: People can carry it around with them and pore over it when the day gets quiet and they can concentrate on it. Too much information and you'll lose them; too little and you'll leave them with more questions than answers. This year's gold award winners for best brochures gave their customers valuable details about the projects and important values about the communities and the builders and developers behind them.

SETTING THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS The most important message that Infinity Home Collection wanted to convey in its brochure for Moda Lofts, a loft project in Den-ver's Stapleton redevelopment area, was that this will be a very cool place to live, marketing director Dave Steinke says.

With the introduction of “something quite a bit cooler than what was offered in the area,” Steinke says, “we needed a brochure that was out of the box, too. We were speaking to an interesting crowd. ... They're drawn to the energy of an urban center. They aren't as concerned with [price] as the type of living [the units] represent.”

The result was “The Birth of Cool,” a brochure inspired by a Miles Davis recording. The brochure folder looked like an album sleeve, with the floor plans inside.

“People go nuts over it,” says Dave Miles, president of Miles-brand, which designed the piece. “This really sets the tone and expectation that this place will be trend-setting.”

Instead of preselling units, which Infinity felt would attract too many rentals and investor resales, the builder convinced its bank to finance the project with just a handful of presales and will wait until the building is actually under construction to sell units.

“We decided to start with the brochure,” Steinke says. “It got our creative side focused.”

ESTABLISHING A HISTORY Some babies take a little longer to arrive. Five years passed from acquisition to the grand opening of The Palisades, a 1,500-acre master planned community in Charlotte, N.C. The brochure is “our baby book,” says Jim Medall, president of developer Rhein Interests of Charlotte. “It shows where we were and where we were ending up as the project started to kick off.” To that end, it included sketches, vision statements, and the resulting renderings and photography.

The brochure is given to prospective buyers of custom homes “to remind them where they were ... or to remind them why they bought,” Medall says.

The direction to creative director Chris Bradle at Eye Design Studio was to give the same feeling of elegance to the production version, and even that was limited to 1,000 copies. Bradle chose a sleek black-and-silver cover on a paper with the feel of suede, and the handmade paper was photographed and reproduced on textured paper for a similar look and feel.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Charlotte, NC, Los Angeles, CA.