Brochures are an effective and cost-efficient way of getting the word out about your brand, event or promotion. In contrast to the flyer or the poster, brochure folds give an interactive 3D element. Customers have to actively interact with your brochure in order to access information. Which offers opportunities for more profound connections with them. Given this interactivity, your folded brochure is more likely to stick in the mind of your audience as a result.
The structure of the brochure also means you can be even more creative with design. There are endless variations to choose from to make your brochure attractive and exciting. Brochures can be of any size, have a variety of content and serve a variety of purposes.. However, since they tend to include more detailed information about a product or brand then, for example, a poster. They are often used for customers that already have some interest in the subject matter. They present a unique opportunity to deliver further detail to potential customers. Using eye-catching colors, powerful text and an innovative design.
However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start with your brochure design. One key print marketing design decision to be made is how your brochure will be folded. How your customers open your brochure, read the text and navigate the information will affect how they encounter your product. Or how your event might come across. You’ll also need to adapt your design according to the exact brochure fold you select. So this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
Luckily, we’ve put together a guide to the most popular types of brochure folds so you can select the right one for your print marketing. And ensure maximum ROI, sales conversions and increase the effectiveness of your CTA.
A half-fold brochure (sometimes known as a bi-fold brochure). Means a single piece of paper folded in half, to create a booklet appearance. When opened, this type of brochure presents the reader with two main internal panels. This fold is great for telling a story, since you can introduce an idea on the front cover. Provide more detail on the inside, before leaving your audience with a CTA or final message on the back page.
For that reason, it’s a great choice for telling the story of your new startup, or introducing a brand new product. The two interior panels are a great opportunity to highlight two key messages about your event or product. With lots of space that can be used for images, graphics or bold text. This is the basic, fail-safe brochure that’s particularly well suited to larger amounts of information. And guiding your reader through a narrative that leaves them wanting to explore your brand, product or idea further!
One of the most popular types of brochure folds, the trifold, divides your sheet of paper or card into three. Then both the right and left panels fold on top of the central panel, typically with right underneath the left. The slimmer panels in this structure mean there’s slightly less space for content on each panel, so clever design will need to be used to make sure each panel doesn’t feel cluttered or unclear to audiences. However, the slightly more complicated fold here means there are endless opportunities for exciting designs and interactivity with your audience.
Furthermore, this brochure folds down into a handy and transportable size, meaning your audience are less likely to throw it in the bin after receiving it! Why not ask a question on the front panel, and only answer it once both left and right panels have been opened? Why not use each panel to focus on a different element of your brand or product? This will make your brochure easier to read and digest. Don’t forget that you have both sides of the paper to play with, so get inventive!
The gate fold is a slightly less popular brochure option, but can be a very impactful choice when used well to convey a specific message or achieve a marketing goal. To make this fold, the page is divided into one large panel and two smaller panels which are half the size of the larger panel. The two smaller panels then fold inwards to look like a gate.
Due to a slightly higher cost, this type of brochure is typically used to target specific, high-end audiences regarding a niche product, event or brand. That said, the more complex design makes it appear like a more luxury brochure, and therefore more likely to be kept or revisited by potential customers. The inner larger panel provides plenty of space for visual-heavy graphic design, made even more impactful by the reveal-effect of the gate fold. Why not experiment with surprising your audience with your inner design?
Another effective type of brochure fold is the cross fold, which uses a larger sheet of paper that is folded multiple times down to a small size. This works well for larger-scale designs, which need to be reduced to a transportable, convenient size. That’s why this fold is frequently used for transport maps or tourism guides. They allow the reader to carry a larger sheet of paper with them, folded down to a transportable size, usually with a ‘front cover’ which indicates what will be inside.
This large surface area offers a whole world of opportunities for your brochure design, which you might want to include lots of images, some kind of diagram or map. Either way, you can afford to make use of blank space. Frame your design well within the larger area and make your design so vibrant. That your audiences might even want to repurpose your brochure as a custom poster once it’s opened out. This would lead to lasting and meaningful exposure for your brand, so if you’re selecting the cross fold for your brochure, be sure to think carefully about how to grab your audience’s attention with a more poster-like, visually aesthetic design.
The z fold (sometimes known as the concertina fold, zig-zag fold or accordion fold) is another popular form of brochure fold. This is similar to the tri-fold, in that it’s comprised of three double-sided panels. However, the way its folded mirrors the shape of an accordion rather than folding inwards. The benefits of the z fold are that content can be divided into three parts, or run across all three panels to take advantage of a greater area.
Since information can run from one page onto the next. You could take advantage of suspense and reveal content that begins a sentence on one panel, which is completed on the next panel. For instance, by asking the question ‘Ready for the marketing event of the century?’ on one panel, and responding to it with ‘The 2018 Digital Marketing Symposium looks forward to welcoming you!’ in another panel. This makes for a more experiential kind of print marketing that remains in audiences brains for longer due to the more interactive way they read it.
Another visually exciting fold that can make an impact and spread the word to potential customers about your product or brand is the die-cut fold. This has the same Z-shape fold as the z-fold brochure, however, since the top of your sheet of paper is cut in a diagonal incline, the front panel is smaller than the other two. This means the two other panels can be seen from the front when the brochure is folded shut.
The die-cut fold provides great opportunities for humor and visual jokes, since you can use the visibility of the back panels to add extra dimensions to the ‘front cover’ of the front panel. These folds can prove very eye-catching. Meaning they’re great for use in environments where your audience may already be saturated with other content, such as at conferences, trade fairs or markets. You might want your brand to stand out among competitors at an industry event. Or for your product to stand out among many other offerings at a fair. When seeking an impactful, dynamic design. The die-cut fold could be the secret to communicating with your customers in a way which makes your brand seem innovative and intriguing.
Brochures are a unique and effective way of providing information about a particular subject matter. However, the success and ROI of your print marketing materials will depend heavily on the design of your brochure. And key decisions like the paper used, and the fold selected. This rundown of the many different types of brochure folds shows that the possibilities are endless. You have the power to generate different tones, atmospheres and messages through simple brochure folds, so choose wisely! Once you’ve decided, remember to adapt your design to the specific shape of brochure you select. Finally, always make your brochure design bold! Eye-catching and reflective of your brand to maximize the effectiveness of your print marketing.