Folding Options: Pluses and Minuses
We often get asked what strategy a customer should use when designing the fold of a brochure. The way we see it, there is no right answer; rather the creative needs to drive the decision. Here are a few marketing and creative ideas that should drive your decision on folding, and Visions, Inc. stands ready to help you with whatever design best fits your strategy.
We think of the letter-fold/roll-up fold as the "one-two-three" option. This option, aka the three-panel (or however many panel) brochure works best when you have a strong question you are posing on the visual, with the answer/call-to-action appearing on the right panel once you open the brochure. Finally, the more complete story can appear once the brochure is entirely unfolded across the three consecutive panels on the inside.
If there is a drawback to the letter-fold, it is that the cover panel needs to be compelling to draw the reader in. A really strong image and/or question needs to motivate the reader to take the next step.
The gate-fold is a great option for creating a design that has features a compelling, graphical set of information. Think of the gate-fold as also featuring three levels of information: A compelling cover, a two-page call-to-action with the first unfold, and then four panels to tell your story once completely unfolded. Consider using it when there is a lot of information to convey, as in a multiple product comparison or a long, organized list of options.
Of course, the gate-fold option may increase cost slightly since the flat-size of the gate-fold brochure is larger than a typical half-fold or letter-fold.
Z-folds unfold naturally in the reader's hands, making this format perfect for charts, maps, large graphics or photographs, or even a map or directions. Try using large text that requires the reader to open the brochure to see what it says.
While z-folds can have a strong impact, once again your cover better be compelling because you have only one shot to draw the reader in.
Half-folds give you many options. Consider using a half-fold for a product guide, since the larger panel size can mean a stronger area for displaying a product shot without a fold appearing in the middle of that larger image. You can also rely on a half-fold for side-by-side product comparisons, as the two panels on the inside can naturally accommodate this need. Finally, they are also useful for any information that needs to be listed, such as a menu-style brochure of food dishes.
Because half-fold brochures are wider than the others, they can grab the reader's attention with a larger image. Their size, however, may not fit in brochure racks that accommodate visitors and tourists, where the rack may be designed for a three-fold size. This characteristic may also increase the mailing cost, however, because a typical half-fold brochure may not fit into a standard #10 envelope. Consider designing your brochure as a self-mailer for this option.
Feel free to call Visions, Inc. to brainstorm on your design options when creating your brochure. We'd be happy to help!