My Marketing Thing

Promotional material tips: The brochure


Marketing brochure cartoon

Okay, we’ve talked about the fun things. Business cards, magnetsbookmarks, postcards, coasters and flyers. Now we’re getting into serious territory: The brochure. But can we really take brochures seriously anymore?

Why have a printed brochure when you already have a website (and maybe also a digital flyer)? Surely printed brochures are out-of-date, old hat, passé?

Mais non! Brochures still have clout in that crazy, madcap spot called ‘The Marketplace’.

A few good reasons to have a brochure:

  • You won’t be caught spamming
    Unsolicited postal material is generally better received than unsolicited emails.
  • You have something decent to put on that networking table/in an event showbag
    Rethink stapling a teabag to your brochure – this has been done.
  • They are colourful, concise and engaging bits of paper… 
    …to insert in information packs with boring-looking A4 b&w printed sheets.
  • It gives the poor sods something to read…
    …while growing cobwebs in tedious waiting rooms and reception areas.
  • Your potential client won’t have to muck around with new-fangled technical things…
    …like computers, iPhones, iPads, etc. to understand what you’re about – the printed brochure is right there in front of them.
  • They generally fit nicely in brochure racks
    Well, if you choose the right dimensions for your brochure, that is.

Some different brochure formats:

The two most popular layouts really do have the silliest names.

  1. The ever-popular tri-fold brochure really means TWO-fold to DL size (to fit in a standard envelope). ‘Tri’ relates to the brochure having three panels.
  2. And the half-fold brochure actually has one whole fold (again, to fit into a DL size envelope). ‘Half fold’ means that you fold the paper in half to make up the brochure.
    basic brochure format


Gate fold is a name that assumes all gates have two doors – and that when going through them you walk smack into a wall.

Gate fold brochure format


‘Roll fold’ is a brochure format that appears much like the Dead Sea Scrolls after a sumo wrestler has sat on them.


Z-fold is purely designed to confuse the reader who thinks it’s a tri-fold brochure that’s been incorrectly folded.

Z-fold brochure format

And the Z-fold can be expanded to more than three panels, making it a concertina fold brochure (which could be mistaken for a very small screen-off door or, as we now know, an accordion).


Whatever the format, your brochure must look professional, enticing and communicate succinctly what you are promoting.

You need to be careful

Try to avoid being too creative. Brochures that operate akin to Master-level origami can be damned irritating.

The format and layout needs to make sense – and this is where so many people go astray (including certain graphics designers who shall remain anonymous).


Some content layout tips

Like first pages on websites, people tend to scan information on a brochure rather than read it attentively like a book.

In order for whoever is reading the brochure to find the information they need quickly, there are some standard content layout approaches worth considering.


Cover of brochure:

  • Top: have a great ‘hook’ line
    Have a powerful line that will grab your target market’s attention (in case it’s sitting in a brochure rack and all you can see is the top bit). A relevant question that has ‘you’ or ‘your’ in the line is one way to engage.
  • Middle: Have a relevant image
    An image that links to what your brochure is about, something that your target market will respond emotionally to.
  • Bottom:
    Logo, tagline, contact phone and/or website address.


Back of brochure:

  • Call to action: Explain the process the customer/client goes through to get quote/buy product
  • Perhaps include how to find you physically (a simple map, opening hours, etc.)
  • Bottom: logo, tagline, contact details

Other parts:

  • If it’s a tri-fold brochure, the third outside panel:
    List of key benefits (i.e. how your product/service most benefits your reader).
  • Inside left hand side:
    Key features of your product/service (explained in terms of benefits), who you are and why I should trust you (profile).
  • Inside right hand side:
    Support information (and possibly a testimonial/case study/review).


About communicating your message powerfully…

Read the previous flyer post. It’s basically the same approach.


Hope this post will help make your next brochure a ‘bro-sure’. Boom-boom!


This post was written by Megan Hills.  Megan is a writer, cartoonist and marketing consultant who has no shame when it comes to appalling puns. Find out more about Megan.

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One Comment

  1. veronica

    You are a cack and informative to boot.

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