6 Tips for Tri Fold Brochure Design

February 22, 2011 | Design Basics

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Small brochures, such as #10 tri-fold brochures, are a staple in the marketing world. They fit into envelopes and display racks and can serve as a low-cost sales and marketing piece for nearly any business.

As a professional—and some might say “high end”—graphic design firm, we used to rarely design this type of flyer. Rather, we were frequently hired to design more elaborate brochures and catalogs. When I started Visible Logic in 2001, the majority of our design projects were print design. Now, we earn more of our revenues from web site design. Yet, we’re seeing an uptick in requests for tri fold brochure design.

Why the #10 brochure remains important

Three trends contribute to the reduction in elaborate printed marketing pieces and the resurgence of the #10 brochure.

  • The increased importance of a web site for marketing, education and sales conversions
  • A more environmentally conscious public who prefers to avoid wasteful paper promotions
  • An economic climate that forces business owners to scrutinize marketing expenses

However, print is not dead, and many business owners still find printed marketed materials to be worth the money. Sales people rely on printed materials to initiate or help move forward a sales conversation. Trade show participants want something that can be handed out to prospects. Consumers request printed information about products and services.

6 Tips to improve your tri fold brochure design

  1. Set up your margins correctly. The margins that are between panels should be twice as wide as the outer margins. This may look slightly odd when flat, but it means that you’ll have an equal left and right margin on each panel when the brochure is folded.
  2. Use a template from your printer. If your printer can provide you with a template, use it. Often the inside flap is designed to be slightly smaller than the outer flap. This way it folds and opens neatly. You can figure out these details yourself, but a template will ensure it’s correct and also match the printer’s expectations.
  3. Think about the order of information. Both the front outer flap and back (center) panel are visible without opening the brochure. Then, the inner flap becomes visible, at the same time the start of the inside left is exposed. The inside, inner flap (far right panel) is the last section to be seen and may be overlooked, don’t put your critical message there!
  4. Use the inside 3-panels wisely. The biggest restraint on a small brochure design is that each panel is very narrow. This can be hard to fit certain types of content. So save that inner area for what really needs the space.
  5. Print and fold your design mockup. Whether you are designing the brochure yourself, or receiving a proof from your graphic designer, print it out and fold it up. Printing it at full size ensures that the type size is as you expect (don’t rely on just viewing it on screen). Folding it will force you to make sure your panels are in the right order and that elements align pleasingly from one part of the layout to another.
  6. Try something big. Most small, tri-fold brochures tend to suggest a very column-based layout. You know, each panel is a column of text. With that layout nothing ever gets bigger than about three inches wide. But choosing graphics that bleed off the edge or run into another panel can be a way to make your design much more impactful.

Here are a few trifold brochure designs that we’ve completed recently.

Tri fold brochure design for Speaking to Win

Tri fold brochure design for Speaking to Win

Tri fold brochure design for the Freeport Chamber of Commerce

Tri fold brochure design for the Freeport Chamber of Commerce

Tri fold brochure design for the Community Energy Cooperative

Tri fold brochure design for the Community Energy Cooperative

14 comments

  1. pocket folder printing | March 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Printing services helps drive traffic to your brand.

  2. Manpreet kaur | August 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Really this tips is very important, thank you for share such a useful information with us.

  3. Ann Daniel | August 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Great Article, It is essential to ask yourself a very important question while designing a brochure design, to who I made it? Always put your clients criteria number 1 to build a good and memorable impression with a simple brochure design,
    Regards,
    Ann Daniel

  4. Julie Farrington | September 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Great tips – I’ve often gone straight to computer instead of planning it out first too, but I think from now on I will do a little planning beforehand – it will probably save time in the long run. What do you guys suggest about printing and delivery? I have done them separately in the past but also you can get them done by the same people from companies like leaflet distribution birmingham. Thanks for the great post.

  5. tri fold brochure | September 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    The tips are easy to understand.

  6. MrMarketing | September 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Excellent brochure design tips. There are 2 sides to a beautiful final marketing tool: Design and Print. If you are in need of an awesome brochure printing company I would recommend BluegrassPrint.com for many options, quantities, paper options, folding options and coating options.

  7. Poulami | October 10, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing such important tips that is going to be very helpful while designing a tri fold brochure design.Keep us updating.

  8. Samantha Mojica | February 3, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Some excellent tips you have in here. When designing a brochure, planning should be your first step. Proper planning will help you save time and could make your brochure a success. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Lauren | March 12, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks for this post! As long as you plan ahead with plenty of creative designs and attention grabbing content your brochure has the right components to be successful.

  10. Izzy | September 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Some great tips here. Make sure you hook your reader from the front cover as the average reader is only going to glance at the brochure for a few seconds before deciding whether to read it or not! Seems brutally quick but it’s true! Good advice for the Tri Fold design – thanks.

  11. Nicky Lin | March 1, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Great article, all tips which are include here is very useful for beginners and also for expert designers. thanks for sharing you views here.

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