How to Fold a Paper Brochure

by Jane Smith; Updated April 20, 2018

You don't need a degree in astrophysics or mechanical engineering to fold a paper brochure. Nevertheless, you should consider a few issues before you waste time or resources on something that damages your brand instead of enhancing it. Design elements such as photos or charts may wind up with creases that destroy their effectiveness. Complicated folds could frustrate potential customers, while half-folds sometimes send a half-hearted message. A little brainstorming will turn a lackluster leaflet into an eye-popping fount of useful information, presented in a fun, unforgettable format.

Popup Brochures

Popup brochures might seem childish, but for a toy company, children's publisher or Sunday school program, they might be just the ticket. Play on your potential customer's sense of whimsy and hearken back to their childhood by including a popup Jesus surrounded by happy, curious children or a rainbow and Noah's ark. Amusement parks and children's museums might consist of a popup of a roller coaster or their most popular attraction in the brochure. Popups are always fun, no matter what age you are now, even though they require the most complicated folds of all the brochure types.

Metalworkers and machinists never have enough charts, especially ones with cutouts. Tool companies, metal distributors and industrial suppliers should throw in metric conversion and trigonometry charts and a detachable six-inch ruler. While including conversion tables will raise your per unit brochure cost, think about those extra pennies versus the profits from a new lifetime customer.

Pest control companies might include a popup cartoon bug or rodent at the top of their brochure almost as if by the Pavlovian response. Plumbing companies that include a Marioesque cartoon figure at the top will have every gamer within reach grabbing that brochure.

Tips

  • 79 percent of recipients will keep a unique or exciting brochure. Some will pass your pamphlet along to a friend, neighbor or colleague, doubling the reach of your campaign.

Single-folds

When you want a pamphlet that fits in a prospect's pocket or wallet, a single-fold credit-card size works best. Turn a 4-inch-by-6-inch sheet of paper so that one short side faces you. Now fold the top edge to bottom edge. Flatten the paper with even pressure while matching the corners. The single-fold method creates a wallet-sized brochure that you can leave at bus terminals, train stations or doctor's offices. Add a sticker for closure, and you can mail your leaflet without the added expense of an envelope.

Tri-folds

Make your trifold brochures with pockets, so they resemble the little manila folders you buy in the stationery aisle. Stuff them with business cards and bookmark-sized leaflets. Add a small ruler on one side or cut a profile along the top and you have an attention-grabbing pamphlet with some perpetual punch.

If you have a pasta company, for example, include a spaghetti measure in one pocket and a photo of Grandma's favorite bolognese recipe in the top half of the center section. Underneath the recipe directions and picture you might add: "We care about everyone, from our wholesale clients at the beginning of our supply chain to the moms and dads serving our pasta, to the kids just learning to make their own spaghetti or mac and cheese."

Accordion Folds

While it's maplike appearance frustrate some clients, others find accordion folds annoying. Just like the debate over which way to hang a roll of toilet paper, some people prefer to grab the left edge of the front fold and the right side of the back fold to pull the brochure open with a single tug. Others struggle to fold your mailer into its original form and toss it in the trashcan in disgust.

Gate or Theater Curtain Folds

Finally, when you have a new product launch or a surprise guest has agreed to grace your upcoming event, a gate-fold or theater curtain fold provides mystery and allows a dramatic introduction to your ad campaign. You can fold one-fourth of each side toward the middle, leaving a double-width center panel to reveal a photo or schematic or fold from top and bottom to the center to unveil your surprise guest's publicity headshot.

Brochure Effectiveness

  • 75 percent of brochure recipients found useful, actionable information in them.
  • 63 percent enjoyed display stands filled with leaflets from various local attractions. 
  • 40 percent of vacationers changed their plans or extended their travel after reading about local events and tourist sites in a brochure.
  • 52 percent of pamphlet readers look for special deals from brochure displays.
  • 51 percent trust brochures to provide essential information before making purchases.

About the Author

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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