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Everything you need to know about designing brochures

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Let’s face it; you Let’s face it; you have, at some point, definitely been handed a good couple of brochures. Whether you’re attending a corporate event, a seminar, and or looking at a property, brochures have been used as a marketing tool to convey information effectively.

Industries from various sectors have utilized this powerful and useful tool to engage, communicate, and educate their audiences. They have been relentlessly used by brands to market their products/services and or drive their sales.

Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to understand what exactly is a brochure.

Simply put, a brochure is a paper document that holds promotional information about a product(s) and or service(s). They’re traditionally single or multi-folded papers and come in various shapes and sizes. It is used to advocate a brand and its services, solutions, and or products.

Brochures, pamphlets, and flyers are terms commonly used interchangeably. And more often than not, most people tend to think that the only difference between these terms is their names.

But that isn’t the case. The difference between them goes beyond their names; their physical characteristics and intended purpose make them different. Allow us to guide you through these terms to get a clear understanding of these terms and what they represent.

As you already know, a brochure is a single or multi-folded paper used to sell and or highlight a company’s products or services. This paper can be folded several times to make a ‘booklet’ consisting of several pages bound together.

Whereas, a pamphlet is a small, unbounded booklet that is used to provide information or highlight or lay emphasis on a particular subject. It is mainly used for informing and educating rather than selling a product or service. Some of the most common uses of pamphlets include communicating organization information, political campaigns, and event promotions.

Flyers, on the other hand, is usually a single, unfolded piece of paper that is majorly used to direct attention to a service, an idea, a product, or an event. A flyer typically holds information on one side of the paper, and it comprises a simple message that can be conveyed quickly with just a glance.

Each of these is different not only with respect to their shapes, sizes, and types but also with a different cost value. While pamphlets and flyers are budget-friendly, a good brochure in comparison to them costs more as it has multiple pages that hold a lot more information. Having said that, all of them – brochures, flyers, and pamphlets – are essential marketing tools for any organization/brand.

Now that you know the difference between them see which is right for your brand. Just like these terms, every business has its own identity with a unique selling point. No matter which of these you choose, they will not only reflect your brand but will be the face of your brand.

A good brochure is about presenting your information in a practical and easy-to-understand manner without overloading the client. And the first step towards creating a good brochure is knowing which type of brochure suits you best.

Here, we have a list of 9 types of brochures that you can use to present your information in an organized, effective, and easy-to-read manner:

1. Half-fold brochure

It is also called a bi-fold brochure. This brochure is made up of a single sheet of paper that is folded into two panels. The standard size of a half-fold brochure is 8.5” x 11”. Half-fold brochures are generally used for simple product presentations, such as one or two specific product features.

2. Tri-fold brochure

As the name suggests, a tri-fold brochure divides a single paper into three panels. This paper is folded in a manner where the right section is folded underneath the left section. It provides an ideal balance of content and design.

The standard size of a tri-fold section is similar to the half-fold brochure, 8.5” x 11”. It is one of the most common types of brochures that can be used for many different reasons, such as menus, company brochures, etc.

3. Z-fold brochure

Similar to the tri-fold brochure, a z-fold brochure also divides the paper into three sections. It gets its name from the distinct Z-shape it creates when the paper is folded with each panel sitting on top of the other.

And just like the other two brochures – half-fold brochure and tri-fold brochure, 8.5” x 11” is the standard size of the brochure. Z-fold brochure is commonly used for events, sales, etc..

4. Gate fold brochure

As the name suggests, a gate fold brochure divides the single sheet of paper into three unequal parts, where the side panels are folded like a gate. 8.5” x 11” is the standard size of the gate fold brochure. It is the ideal form of a brochure for graphics-heavy designs or single product/service presentations.

5. French fold brochure

French fold brochure is also popularly known as the right angle fold brochure. It is a unique style of folding that divides the brochure into four different sections. Here, the paper is folded in half, and then again folded in half, perpendicular to the former fold.

Standard size for a french fold brochure is 8.5” x 14”. It is mainly used for invitations or a map. For instance, many large amusement parks and or large venues use this particular type of brochure as a map of that area.

6. Double parallel brochure

A double parallel brochure has three creases that create eight panels that give ample space for content and images. To create this fold, the single sheet of paper is first folded into half, and then the folded page is once again folded into half. This creates two parallel bi-fold brochures in one.

8.5” x 14” is the standard size for a double parallel brochure that usually works best for reference material. If you’re looking for a general design like the tri-fold, but want as much content as a Z-fold brochure, this is the ideal layout for you. Majorly used for lists of products, general information, and services.

7. Parallel fold brochure

Parallel fold brochure is similar to a double parallel brochure, wherein this brochure folds in three halves to create sixteen sections. The size of the brochure doubles the size of the dual parallel fold brochure.

The 8.5” x 14” is the standard size for this brochure. It has the largest number of pages offered by a folded brochure. This form of brochure holds large amounts of information, often used as a reference guide, an extensive product or service list, and even an informational booklet.

8. Accordion fold brochure

An accordion fold brochure can have either four to five creases that fold the single sheet of paper in a zigzag pattern, similar to the z-fold brochure. Dividing the paper in this manner leaves you with eight to ten pages for images, infographics, and content.

8.5” x 14” is the standard size for this brochure. Since this type of brochure has more pages and is larger than the other standard brochures, it is prominently used for presenting detailed information. For instance, it can display a variety of products and or services or give a step-by-step explanation for your customers/clients.

9. Roll fold brochure

Like accordion fold brochure, a roll fold brochure also has four or five creases depending on the amount of information you would like to present. But what sets it apart from the accordion brochure is that this brochure folds in a ‘rolling’ motion. Here, the right section is folded in, and then the two folded sections are folded inwards once again. This process continues until the left-most section acts as a cover for the brochure.

The standard size for the roll fold brochure is 8.5” x 14,” which can be bulkier than other brochures because it folded often. It offers you eight to ten pages to fill with content images. And if significantly used for content-rich handouts and or a detailed brochure such as informational booklet, a manual, a step-by-step guide, etc.

Now that you know the different types of brochures choose the one that fits all your content and graphic requirements. And you’re all set to move towards your next step, designing!

You should have a strong, clear message that should resonate with your audience. If you use language and visuals that don’t relate and or resonate with them, your brochure will fall flat irrespective of what design you come up with. Knowing your message before you start design will also help you in coming up with designs that strengthen your message.

Brochures tend to get a bad reputation since they are filled with so much information that it makes the readers feel as if they are reading a lengthy novel. But this feeling can be instantly revoked with the help of good design. Creating an ideal balance between content and design will help you go a long way and also increases your chances of potential customers.

When we say simple, we mean fewer elements and not less content or make it dull. There is a lot you can do with few elements. Find the perfect balance between fewer elements and more content, and you’ve got a simple, clean design that will resonate with your audience.

Make your brochure design stand out with shapes. For instance, use geometric shapes made to look like callouts, add a fun element to your design plan, and elevate it. And using pop colors for these shapes against a simple background will highlight the information forward as if you’re actually calling it out. To further elevate your brochure design, cut it in a way that gives a three-dimensional look to it, which acts as another element altogether.

If you want to try something bold, then think outside the rectangle. Your brochures do not necessarily have to be rectangular or even a square. You can go with circles, triangles, hexagons, and even hearts if it suits your business well!

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