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Which Brochure Format is Right for You?

May 4th, 2015



One of the first questions we are asked when discussing a brochure project with a client is what format to use. To help us make the best suggestion we can, we like to understand as much about the project as possible; to know what it is trying to achieve, who the audience will be, what the content needs are, and how much the budget is.
All of these factors will help shape the final decision on format, as they all bring their own qualities and limitations. To help you understand how, we’ve put together a rundown of the most common marketing brochure formats used today.

Rack Card
Sitting in racks in reception areas of restaurants, hotels or theaters, at landmarks, travel agencies, trade shows, and other locations that see a high amount of foot traffic, single panel rack cards are designed to quickly grab the attention and provide a call to further action.
Providing a short burst of information, rack cards are ideal for conveying a specific message, such as an upcoming event, a special offer, or an invitation for the reader to visit your website to find out more.
Because rack cards are usually displayed in tiered racks, the top half has to be eye-catching. This may be your logo, an attention-grabbing title, or a call to action, with your contact information, map of your physical location, or even a QR code can be placed in areas that are only visible once the card has been picked up.

Traditional Trifold
Folding to the same dimensions as the rack card, the traditional trifold is a staple of brochure design.
Often fitting in the same reception area display racks, the extra real estate allows a lot more text and visual information to be presented, making them more suitable for introducing a company than rack cards while still being small enough to be taken away.
Following the rules of brochure design, the text should be broken up with images and graphics, with bullet lists also making the information more scannable by the reader. As the back cover is the least likely panel to be read, no important content should be placed there; your contact information is often enough.

Larger Bifold or Trifold
For those looking for a more visually impressive result than the traditional trifold can give, larger bifolds or trifolds that typically fold to an 8.5 x 11 or similar size allow more room for the higher quality photographs that are preferable when introducing higher-end products or services.
Simple yet flexible, good brochure design can allow large bifolds to feel less claustrophobic than traditional trifolds, with more space around the images and text.
While rack cards or traditional trifolds are designed to easily fit into the pocket or bag and be taken away, larger bifold or trifold brochures are aimed more at individuals who will have the time to sit and read at the point of contact, and can be used as folders to hold additional papers or proposals too.

The pinnacle of brochure design, booklets are used to give in-depth information about a company and its products or services while making a more impressive statement than any bifold or trifold could.
Whether placed in a company’s own reception area to be read by visitors or sent out to clients or prospects who have requested more information, the number of pages available in a booklet allows the designer to provide something unique while both impressing and informing the reader.
Full-page photographs can be used in high-end booklet design for a greater impact and to give visual breathing space to the content, while the quality construction of the booklet lengthens its lifespan; not only will it be physically more durable than a bifold or trifold, but the recipient is also less likely to discard it.

Further Considerations
Once you have decided on the most suitable format, there are a number of further aspects to consider regarding your brochure design.
Whatever message you’re trying to convey, your copy has to be right. As most company brochures are marketing pieces, that means focusing less on yourself and more on the customer, with more persuasion than information, and technical jargon reserved for when further contact is made.
High-quality photography is also a must for showing your company in the best light. Depending on the subject of the photos, hiring a professional photographer or having your designer select high end stock photos is highly advised to ensure your business brochure is conveying a professional image.
Finally, both the printing quality and choice of the paper stock used can have a huge effect on the success of your brochure. Today, there are many more affordable quality printing options available so a high end look can be achieved on a smaller budget.

Thinking of getting a brochure designed for your organization? Get in touch and we’ll happily help you sort through all the options.