Even in a world dominated by digital marketing, brochures remain inexpensive and effective. They’re a convenient, bite-sized look into your brand, giving you a chance to raise brand awareness, pitch your products and services, and ultimately reach a wider audience – including people who don’t spend much time on the internet.
However, designing and printing a brochure is not a guarantee of success. If you want to maximize your return on investment (ROI), you’ll need to pay careful attention to the fine details of the piece. Notably, you’ll want to carefully consider the type of fold your brochure has – and the design around it.
Types of Brochure Folds
There are many different types of brochure folds, all of which are worth considering. For example:
Letter/C tri-fold. This is one of the most common types of brochure folds, and is instantly recognizable. You’ll divide the brochure into three vertical sections (with six faces, front, and back). Customers will open the left side, then the right side to reveal more information.
·Gate tri-fold. Here, the brochure will be folded from the edges, with both sides meeting in the middle, resulting in the “gate” style for which it is named.
Roll/double gate fold. After folding a gate, you can fold the brochure in the middle, resulting in a tighter formation that can be “opened” twice.
Accordion Z-fold. Shaped somewhat like an accordion, this fold requires you to “zig-zag” your two folds, resulting in three sections and six faces.
Double/parallel fold. After folding the sheet in half, you’ll fold the sheet in half again along the same axis, resulting in four sections and eight faces.
Double right-angle/French fold. Here, you’ll fold the sheet in half along one axis, then fold the sheet along the opposing axis.
There are a handful of other brochure fold possibilities, but they tend to be less common.
Why Does a Brochure Fold Matter?
Why is this such an important decision?
Your choice in brochure fold can affect a number of variables in your campaign, including:
Physical size. Certain folds are capable of making your brochure more compact, which could affect is mailability and ability to be distributed. Of course, you could always reduce the total size of the paper you’re using as well, but the fold will still have a major impact on the total dimensions of the piece.
Number of sections. Folding your brochure is what divides it into sections. If you have a lot of information to provide, with many different topics, you’ll need more sections. If you just want to introduce the brand generally, fewer sections will suffice.
First impressions and visibility. With some brochure folds, you’ll have a grand, impression-making image on the front page. With others, you’ll have less space to work with – but you might be able to lead into more internal information.
The experience of opening. The fold will also dictate the experience of opening. A conventional tri-fold is very familiar to audiences, so they’ll have an easy, traditional experience when opening it. Gate folds and other dynamic folds can feel like a small adventure – but also might be confusing to some audiences.
Order of operations. All brochures have different sections, but different types of brochures allow audiences to experience the different sections in a different order and in different ways. For example, a traditional tri-fold brochure can be explored in a few different ways, but the first two sections are always encountered in the same order.
Making the Decision
So what factors should you consider when making your brochure fold decision?
Your goal. What do you hope to accomplish with this piece? Are you trying to provide your customers with an information dump, or do you just want to establish the design and purpose of your brand?
Your target audience. Who are your target demographics? Do they want to get lots of information? Do they prefer a fast, concise experience? Do they like traditional, familiar experiences, or do they prefer something novel and/or exotic?
The volume of information. How much information are you trying to present in this piece? Even if you’re working with the same size of paper, different folds can help you present that information more cleanly and in different ways.
Your budget. Some folds are more expensive than others because they’re more complicated, so you’ll also need to think about your budget.
If you’re still not sure which type of brochure fold will work best for your brand and your current marketing campaign, consider experimenting with multiple different variations. For example, you can design both a conventional tri-fold and a gate fold version of your brochure and mail them out, measuring the results. Whichever brochure nets a higher response rate is clearly the better option for this scenario.