The right brochure format can determine its effectiveness in delivering the right message about your company to its targeted audience. There are different types of brochures, with different morphological features, but you don’t need to have the format for your brochure already decided. Either you have some ideas in mind or a specific format can be suggested by your design company, based on your objective. Certain formats are also chosen for their morphological aspect and comfort, apart from the way information is presented.

Let’s take a marketing investigator, for example. He will rather use a bi-fold brochure to present his marketing investigation. Apart from being the most convenient way, it is also the option that allows him to hold his report inside that same folder, having his name on the cover, the name of the organization he works for or, in some cases, even the company that asked for the report.

The bi-fold format is the most popular one and it’s usually followed by a picture so that you can imagine which one would be most appropriate for your company. Other brochure formats like the leaflet letter, the tri-fold or the folder with inserts and flaps can also help to organize brochure functions, but other not so well known formats can be used sometimes for a specific situation.

One of these formats is the designed envelope that can be really effective for the image of your company. Given the investment a company really makes when sending envelopes with information on products, services or promotions, a potential client would see that company as a prestigious and important one, more even if the letter comes in a corporate designed envelope. There are people who think that having such an envelope is nothing but a detail, yet nobody can deny that it will change the way your company is viewed from the outside. If it does not have its own customized envelopes it doesn’t mean it’s not prestigious but you should consider this type of brochure as a simple and affordable way to have your corporate image and profits improved.

Size is another morphological aspect that needs to be considered when thinking about a brochure objective and design. It will determine the designer’s working method as well. It’s different to work with a big brochure than with a small one.

The format and size need to coincide with your brochure’s intention. For example, it wouldn’t be effective to hand out an A3 or 17″ x 11″ size tri-fold brochure on the street because it would be too difficult for the receiver to keep it. Even if he decided to keep the brochure, he’d need to fold it more than it already is. And, considering the fact that the way brochures are folded is exactly how the information is wanted to be read, the receivers would be having brochures that don’t stand out at all, which can be a damaging detail for both you and your company. So the best solution would be to have a smaller sized brochure than before, one that can be kept without needing to be folded.

Most popular types of brochures

People will hand out different brochure types to attract the target market and the impression they want with regards to their respective business. So you should make it your priority to invest in the best possible type of brochure related to your business.

The Bi-fold brochure is the most popular brochure type because of its fairly inexpensive print price. Bi-fold brochures are half folded, therefore forming four panels: one front cover and also a back one, plus two inside panels. Other configurations are, however, possible as well: 8 pages, 12 pages, and so forth. The purpose of the front panel is to acquaint the piece with its viewers and cause the impact necessary for them to first open the piece, and then read its content. And while inside panels usually hold the content, the brochure’s back cover holds the company’s contact information. It is, this way, simpler to go through the information.

Another most common brochure type is the Tri-Fold brochure. It has three folds, as suggested by its name, and it’s safe to say it’s the bi-fold brochure’s next version. This brochure creates six panels that provide enough space for you to present your company’s information. It’s economical to print because it is basically a print of standard size on light stocks.

These are the most popular types of brochure given their low cost. They have the capacity to actually impress the viewer and they are also easier to carry. If you are unsure what type to choose in order to fit your brochure set, the following list may help you decide, considering brochures are designed in accordance with their intended use.

Check out brochures

Counter brochures that can attract first-time clients and turn them into regular ones. Customers can pick them up when paying for their purchase and learn more about your services and products. It’s therefore very important to make an attractive front page so that people will notice them.

Z-fold brochure

This brochure type is the best alternative if looking for something different than a tri-fold brochure, as they are similar in terms of impact and costs. Z-fold brochures go by their name; they fold into a Z and they are adaptable either to large or small paper sizes. The Z fold gives it an extravagant look and the reader will be left completely impressed. It looks just like an accordion and it also comes with an advanced version, one with more folds, called an accordion fold.

This brochure allows the company to present their selling propositions in detail, considering there are roughly three panels in such a brochure. Readers are most tempted to open a Z-fold brochure as it causes curiosity when closed.


Graphic designers have called them as the sheets placed inside presentation folders. Inserts allow folders to be customized for each client, emphasizing a certain topic, product or service. They’re useful to store an enrollment or a feedback form in, in those cases when customers can fill them on the spot.

Inserts are commonly used as sales sheets or simple promotional or informative pieces, and are best used along with folders.


They are great for prospective and also recurring buyers. Catalogs are what you would call the image of your storefront in your clients’ hand. Prospective buyers will be pleased to see your services or products in detail, while recurring ones will make use of your catalogs to check your entire offer.

The catalog design is available in various formats and sizes, but the minimum of pages is usually eight (8). They are very effective marketing tools but very expensive to print due to the significant number of pages they have.


They are usually pieces of a single page but it’s not a mandatory condition. The expected and intended life of these pieces is rather short, so prints are generally made with papers of rather low quality. A leaflet brochure is used to target large numbers of people; it should be unique in design and overall presentation, and also reader-friendly, meaning that the information should be what the consumer expects: concise and to the point.

Direct mail brochures

This is a type of brochure that is sent directly to people you have in your mailing list. It is usually sent together with catalogs or other promotional items that can be mailed. Before sending your brochures, come up with a list of your chosen clients, loyal customers or first-time shoppers that might be interested in knowing more about your offers.

A mail brochure is sent to make your potential customers aware of new products or additional features of your company, usually containing a marketing letter, along with a sample brochure holding additional information about them.

Promotional brochure

Perfect to be part of your giveaway items if you plan on offering huge sales or discounts. You would this way spread the message and also leave your contact details for your customer’s reference. This way they will have the possibility to refer to your material when thinking about trying your offer.

Response brochures

These brochures are meant to be an answer to customer inquiries, especially for those who have already shown some interest in your products. They just want additional information about them in order to confirm their purchase. So the aim of these brochures is more of a ‘closing the sale’ than ‘attracting the customer’.

Supplementary brochures

Or alternatively known as supporting materials that can be found either in press kits or in other promotional tools; they provide additional information on a certain product or service. Their purpose is to get your target market to understand your business. These full color brochures are also given use when hosting a seminar or presenting a project, being small enough to be taken home by your potential customers with little to no problem at all.

There are also other custom brochure types, named according to their format and layout, which could fit your needs as well. You just need to focus on your plan and let these custom materials do the work for you.


Well organized business material gives a positive first impression, folders being a great tool to accomplish that. The most popular ones are bi-folds, with one or more claps to hold different pieces inside. They are called inserts when they are simply printed paper sheets. Folders are effective for both promotional use and as protection for those pieces inside. They are a perfect way to maintain your advertising material well organized. By removing or adding inserts, a folder can be customized for different clients, based on their areas of interest.


They are simple circulars or pamphlets created for mass distribution and promotion. They are mostly small sized and printed in only a few colors to be cost-effective. Campaigns or promotions are where they are best suitable to use for, where targeted audience is extensive.


Pamphlets are flyers or leaflets informing about a subject of interest. Their goal is to procure mass distribution. The term is generally equivalent with “leaflet” or “flyer”.


A booklet is an advanced version of the bi-fold brochure. It is just a small book with a paper cover and multiple pages. The term usually implies minimum one page. They became broadly known as CD or DVD media companions – CD booklets or DVD booklets – therefore being printed on high end, quality stocks. Booklets come in various sizes, folds and possible structures, with a morphology that allows impressive, eye-catching designs.

This brochure type is most useful for companies producing many goods, therefore needing more advertising space.

Gate fold brochures

These brochures are rather uncommon but they can have a big impact if used correctly. The cost to make such a brochure is sufficiently high to use it mostly for high-end marketing. They are made out of durable, high quality paper, to be able to reach the target audience in good shape. The impact they have is significant and readers tend to keep them longer than other brochures, at the same time expanding the public awareness of your brand and multiplying the chances to be distributed to other customers.

This brochure‘s inward folding is what makes it compact and, therefore, easy to carry, while its eight panel structure provides ample space to include images and information of your company’s services or products in detail. The eight panels usually consist of: one front panel, a back one, and 6 internal panels.

All in all, the image of a company lies in its marketing and the way people perceive it. A captivating and wisely designed brochurecan significantly increase sales and customers.

The right brochure for your particular needs depends on several factors:

  • Target audience
  • Content
  • Printing
  • Distribution method
  • Available budget

Target audience

In general, larger brochures look more corporate, while smaller brochures look more massive. ie. an executive expects a well-done, clear, larger brochure that looks corporate.

Brochures that are meant to be distributed to a wide audience will seek impact. On the contrary, brochures that are very targeted will look for elegance.

If you are targeting elder people, you may want to use a larger font and a more traditional look. Brighter and more saturated colors will have more impact on younger audiences.

There are hundreds of different factors a graphic designer will take into account when creating a brochure for a particular audience.


The lenght of the verbiage is one of the most important factors.

Same happens with images and any other graphic elements that are part of the content (and not added for aesthetics).

Before choosing the right brochure, you should have an idea on word count and number/dimensions of images/diagrams/tables/other graphic elements you need to include.

3.5" x 8.5" content panel (ie. standard tri-fold) Standard tri-fold (6 panels, 4-5 of them content) 8.5" x 11" content panel (ie. standard bi-fold) Standard bi-fold (4 panels, 2-3 of them content)
Graphics intensive
75 words per content panel
300~600 words total
150 words per content panel
500~1,000 words total
Typical brochure
150~250 words per content panel
600~1,200 words total
250~600 words per content panel
750~1,800 words total
Text heavy
250~400 words per content panel
1,200~2,000 words total
600~900 words per content panel
1,500~2,500 words total
Compressed, text-only
up to 600 words per content panel
up to 3,000 words total
up to 1,500 words per content panel
up to 5,000 words total

In the case of wide diagrams or images, brochures with narrow panels are always more difficult to work with. However, they may be the correct choice if the graphics can span several panels.


Brochures with flat open sizes up to 17″ x 11″ can be printed in both digital and offset (traditional) printers. Digital printing is great for small printing batches (less than 200 copies) quickly and affordably, but it may turn out to be very expensive for large quantities. Digital printing has limitations regarding paper stock and special inks, but most of the standard full-color designs can be printed in minutes.

All other brochures need to be printed in the traditional offset printers. Offset printers have high set up costs, meaning it only makes sense to print at least 1,000 copies.

There are a lot of factors that must be weighted in to choose the correct brochure type for each particular case. Brochure design experience is key to the correct choice, so please ask our representatives and they will be happy to recommend the best brochure format for you!