In Design Tips, Direct Mail Boot Camp, Direct Mail Copywriting

How to Design a Classic Trifold Brochure

Why should you mail a trifold brochure to your customers? The answer is simple.

A brochure can be an essential part of your lead nurturing marketing strategy. A well-designed and high-quality printed brochure that provides valuable information about your company can generate thousands in sales!

But producing original brochures isn’t simple and neither cheap. A brochure should be visually engaging and informative, without being overwhelming and stand out from the competition. We can help you manage the entire process. Let’s get started.

Before designing

Start your project with a creative brief that will set up your project for success.
First, set clear goals for your brochure. Not having a clear purpose will result in a vague message, while having too many goals will confuse your readers. What response do you expect and what actions do you want your readers to take? What should your ad make them think, feel and do? Here are some examples:

  • Remind your old customers about you and entice them to come back with an attractive offer;
  • Drive them to your website where they can learn more about your products and services;
  • Build a buzz around a new product launch;
  • Support the selling efforts by helping to overcome objections.

Whatever your goals are, write them down and limit them up to three, your brochure can’t accomplish more than that.

Second, set the budget limits and constraints. For a friendly budget brochure marketing you need to:

Estimate a reasonable price for the copywriting. If you’re not comfortable writing it by yourself, consider hiring a professional writer. Expect to spend from $100 to $300 for a professional copywriting.

If you aren’t a professional designer, don’t overestimate your graphic design skills. Your business will rather lose than win with ineffective brochure design, so hire a professional designer. By the way, our design services start at $55 per hour.

If you’re designing your own brochures, you can give your brochures a professional look by using free design templates. Canva and  Lucidpress offer thousands of tailor-made templates for you to choose from. Select one that is closer to your brand’s identity to make things simple. Or make extensive alterations by experimenting with colors and typography. Upload your logo and the images of your company, personalize the text, and you are ready to go.

Your Brand Identity

Choose design elements that fit your overall branding and the concept of your brochure. The tone must transpire not only through the copy but in all design elements too.

Do you have a Visual Style Guide? What color scheme is intended for the project? Do you have some color preferences? The colors of your brochure should reflect the tone of your brand.

Targeted Audience

While you’re creating a piece of content or design, keep your customers in mind.

Who are they? Sketch a customer profile by thinking of their gender, age, stage of life and location.

Refine the profile by adding the lifestyle criteria: their daily activities, interests and hobbies, values and beliefs, goals and challenges.

The better you know your audience, the more effectively you can create appealing content ideas, make formats decisions, handle positioning and placement, and promote the content.  Forbes

Designing your brochure

Step 1 The Copy

Write your copy and gather images, before starting your design. Having the copy first will help you make better decisions about the layout, fonts, and color scheme.

On the other hand, having your layout first will help you adjust the text to fit into a given format and design.

Compose your main points with the headline and subheadings so your readers can understand your brochure by merely glancing at it.

Build a solid structure, by using subheadings to group ideas and help readers focus only on the information of interest to them.

Include attention-grabbing questions. Make sure after grabbing your reader’s attention, the second line is worthwhile information.

Avoid clever language or subtle images, inside jokes or industry jargons.

What information to put in the brochure?

  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • Product/services benefits
  • Your special offer
  • Your unique selling proposition
  • Event or promotion dates and location
  • Contact information
  • Website and social URLs
  • The call to action.

Mistakes to avoid:

#1 Too much text: don’t include everything you do in one brochure! Put there one or two products or services. If you want to showcase more than two, choose other formats that are more suitable for this purpose.

# 2 Not having a clear target. When you want to target everyone, you end up losing everyone’s interests. Choose one, maximum two products/services and target them to one-two type of customers. Or better, one product, one customer. Maximum fit!

Step 2 Gather good images

Your brochure images should complement the text. Do not sacrifice the quality with cheap photos. Best for print purposes are photos with the highest resolution and size possible. For prints, the picture should be 300 dpi (dots per inch).

Step 3 Choose the brochure size

Your brochure type choice should depend on the content. A commonly used by small business size that has when it’s opened or flat   8.5″ x 11″, and when it’s folded creates 3 panels on each side. It’s the most popular because it can fit comfortably in a standard envelope. Also, it has the advantage of being cheaper than other unusual fold patterns. Other popular sizes for a trifold brochure are 8.5″ x 14″, 11″ x 17″ and 11″ x 25.5″.

Step 4. Filling your template

If the front cover sells the product or service, then the back cover must provide the contact information, while the inside panels should tell a story.

Front Cover is the most visually appealing to the eye, invites the reader to grab the brochure, open it and read more. What to put there? Your logo, the company name, and a tagline that summarizes your offer.

Back Cover is the right place to display your contact information: phone, fax number, website, social media, physical address, email address, your free toll. This is also an excellent location for a QR code.

Inside panels of your brochure are the most important. What to put there:

  • Reasons why your clients have chosen you in the form of a powerful testimonial.
  • Description of your company in one-two sentences.
  • List of your products and services and their main benefits.
  • One short line about your unique selling proposition.
  • Some details about how do you usually work with your clients.
  • Instructions on how to get started.
  • Call to Action: ”Give us a Call Today” or “Visit”

Step 5 Tweaking your design

Use easy to read fonts (Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond).

Use sans serif fonts for body text and serif fonts for headline and subheadings. Choose complementary fonts that are different enough to look distinctly.

Limit your font choice to maximum three. Using too many types of fonts can make your brochure to look messy.

Underline important key messages with highlighting techniques – bold, italic, bigger size fonts.

Use big fonts for headline and call to action. Adjust the font size to the importance of the information.

Break longer block texts into bullet points that can be easier to read.

Align design elements properly for a neat layout.

Balance block texts with white space and give your reader enough breathing space.

Step 6. Choosing a printer

Your marketing materials quality will affect the perception of your audience about your products and services!  A brochure printed on thin paper stocks will make your company look cheap and shallow. A matte thick premium paper and vivid ink colors will suggest high-quality products and services. Selecting a good paperweight and finishes will make a good impression on your readers. What options do you have for printing?

Short run printing
Use digital printing to deliver quick shot-runs. Digital printing is also suitable for metallic colors, and a wide variety of glossy, matte and textured coating that may be printed in-line or added in post-processing.

Offset Printing
Traditional offset printing is suitable for high-quality prints, accurate color reproduction and large (over 1,000 pieces) runs. Also, it supports a large variety of paper type with custom finishes.

While digital printing is more advantageous for short runs, with offset printing, the more you print, the cheaper is the price per piece. As a general rule, if it’s under 1,000 pieces, it will be cheaper to produce on a digital printer.

We hope the information above will help you make decisions related to your brochure design and printing. If you would like your brochure designed by a professional designer, give us a call. We have creative professionals to design any direct mail piece that will look great on someone’s mailbox. We have offset and digital full-color printers for a professional feel and look of your marketing materials.


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