How to make a folded leaflet

Watch the video to learn how to use brochures for your business

Creating your own folded leaflet doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming! The Vistaprint guide to folded leaflets will walk you through these powerful marketing tools and show you just how easy it can be to create a great-looking print asset that can get the job done at a trade fair, at your business’s location, in the post or on the road.

Creating your own folded leaflet doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming! The Vistaprint guide to folded leaflets will walk you through these powerful marketing tools and show you just how easy it can be to create a great-looking print asset that can get the job done at a trade fair, at your business’s location, in the post or on the road.

Even though it’s made from a single piece of paper, a folded leaflet is one of the most flexible marketing tools a small business owner can use.

You can use it as a complete sales pitch, or to supplement the pitch you’re verbally telling your prospects. You can use it to talk about a single product or to sell your company as a whole. You can leave one behind, place it in a display, hand it directly to your customer, or send it to them through a direct marketing campaign.

Folded leaflets can even be segmented for specific audiences, giving you the chance to offer every potential customer a message that speaks to them.

Folded leaflets can do all that – with a small price tag to boot. So why don’t more people use them? Because they think they’re difficult to create.

But they’re not, as long as you’re prepared.

Getting started with your folded leaflet

When creating a folded leaflet the first thing you should do is establish its purpose. Doing this allows you to create a plan for everything from the choice of fold to the text you write and the images you use on the final product.

Watch the video for helpful tips for creating your brochure

Creating your own folded leaflet doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming! The Vistaprint guide to folded leaflets will walk you through these powerful marketing tools and show you just how easy it can be to create a great-looking print asset that can get the job done at a trade fair, at your business’s location, in the post or on the road.

So, why are you making this folded leaflet? Is it to…

  • Introduce your potential customer to your business as a whole?
  • Give information about a specific product?
  • Follow up on a sales visit, trade fair or other event?

First answer that, and then consider how you want to get that message across. Some selling points or services are more complex than others, especially when they are technical or involve certain industries. Others benefit from an approach that appeals to the audience’s emotions. Figuring this out provides a path for picking the leaflet fold you should work with and how you’ll sell your business to the customer.

You should use bi-fold leaflets when:

  • The selling point to your customer is relatively simple
  • You’re using large graphics to illustrate your benefits
  • You have high-quality photography that you want to spotlight

An example of a business that can benefit from a bi-fold folded leaflet might be a landscaping company that focuses on residential properties. While the tasks they perform are likely to be fairly standard – mowing, trimming and planting, for example – it’s the way their final product looks that helps them stand out from the competition. A bi-fold leaflet allows this business to use eye-catching photography and text that focuses on how they’ve helped homeowners get the most out of their property.

Tri-fold leaflets are ideal when:

  • You want to cover multiple aspects of your business’s products and services
  • You’re outlining a single product’s specifications and benefits in detail
  • There are specific steps or processes involved
  • You’re performing a direct mail campaign

A childcare centre specialising in pre-school education would likely benefit from a tri-fold leaflet. They'll probably be handing this folded leaflet to parents as an introduction or after a visit to their facility, so large photography is not the selling point so much as factors best expressed in writing. This might include classes offered, certifications, benefits of their programme and testimonials from satisfied parents.

How to write a folded leaflet

Multiple studies have shown that businesses have less than five seconds to get a reader’s attention with a folded leaflet. This is why you should determine your key messaging from the very beginning. Furthermore, to effectively write a folded leaflet, you need to consider its layout and how to best take advantage of it.

This sounds much harder than it actually is. You just have to break things down properly.

Each section of a folded leaflet created by a fold is called a “panel.” A bi-fold leaflet has four panels; tri-fold leaflets have six. Each panel is an opportunity to answer a question, explain a benefit or address a customer’s need, and these should be sketched out before you write a single sentence.

Too many folded leaflets feature the same thing on the front panel: a sterile photo of a building and a business logo. Think about how you can directly address a prospective customer’s needs and intrigue them with words and imagery.

In the case of the childcare centre mentioned above, something like this immediately sets the tone and offers a unique selling point:

Parents want their children to succeed and this childcare centre is telling them that they help children do just that.

From there, each of the inside panels will spotlight something about the Propeller Childcare Centre and discuss how they contribute to a child’s success.

The back panel is where they’d place their call to action.

As you can see, each segment is short, to the point and features exactly the information somebody would need to make a decision about this business. Including contact information and social media platforms on the back panel is also helpful for your customers.

Once you know what’s going to go where, you need to write the actual words. This is where a lot of business owners feel a bit lost, and that’s completely understandable. After all, you’re normally too busy running your business to write about it! Here are some tips that can help make writing your folded leaflet easier.

Keep your language clear and to-the-point. Short, direct sentences with a single idea can be scanned and understood easily.

Speak directly to the reader. Avoid speaking about your business in the third person and don’t refer to “customers” – that helps you make a connection to the audience.

Keep your paragraphs short. Don’t be afraid to use bullet points and lists to convey information clearly.

Read your folded leaflet aloud and then ask a friend to do the same. This helps you catch typos, avoid awkward wording and eliminate difficult areas.

Creating an effective folded leaflet design

You’ve got an idea of what you want to say. Now it’s time to make it pop. But before you start looking at folded leaflet designs or considering colour choices, there are two things that you need to have ready.

A high-resolution version of your logo. We recommend Adobe Reader (.pdf), Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or Adobe Photoshop (.psd) files for the best results, but no matter what printer you use, your logo should be 300 DPI (dots per inch) at the final print dimensions. For example, a logo that will be 2" across in the final document should be 600 pixels wide.

High-quality photos that are print-ready. It can be tempting to use a photo taken on your phone because it’s easy, but those rarely look as good as one taken with a proper digital camera. If you don’t have any photos (or a camera), invest some money into a local photographer that can create a portfolio of images you can use for the next few years. Alternatively, look at the many free and low-cost stock photography options that are available online.

Vistaprint offers thousands of folded leaflet designs for users to personalise, but there are some basic design principles that that you should keep in mind if creating your own look.

Limit the number of fonts you use to three or less. You’ll want to select a heading, headline and body font and stick to them.

Simplicity is better. Complex layouts can confuse the customer and dilute your message. You’re selling your business, and clarity is more important than creativity.

Consider how they might be displayed. Are they going to be left lying flat on a desk or placed in a holder? Kept in a presentation folder or handed directly to a customer? Keep this in mind when creating your front panel.

Choosing the right paper for your folded leaflet

A lot of people print their folded leaflet on the first available paper without considering how the stock they choose can affect the design and their message alike.

Glossy works best for designs that featuring vibrant colours and large photographs. It’s resistant to dirt and wear, but difficult to write on. Additionally, the high reflectivity of glossy paper can make it tough to read in extremely bright light, but it’s generally considered a strong choice.

If you’re using a subtler colour palette or want to keep things black and white, matte is a great choice. As it’s less shiny, many people feel that matte is a more “professional” paper compared to glossy. Most importantly, it offers enhanced readability. Like glossy, it’s less subject to dirt and wear, but it can also be difficult to write on.

As the name indicates uncoated paper has no additional coating and that results in a more natural and rustic feel. Uncoated paper is perfect for black and white text due to its readability and you can easily write on it with a pen.

Those who want to lessen their environmental impact should look at recycled paper stocks. Much like uncoated, it’s easy to read and write on.

Getting the most out of your folded leaflets

Here are some of the ways that people maximise the value they get from folded leaflets.

Leave-behinds: By placing folded leaflets on your premises or leaving them at businesses with which you might share common customers – an IT professional may ask a Computer retailer if they may leave folded leaflets in their shop, for example – you can create a passive outreach channel.

Handouts: Some campaigns will involve door-to-door delivery of folded leaflets, but most distribute them at their office or when making sales calls. Many businesses include them in the packets they leave with customers after sales calls. You can also use them as sales support, while walking through a presentation or a pitch.

Trade fairs: Make sure you have them available at your stand or table. Consider creating a folded leaflet that’s specific for the event to capitalise on your audience’s interests.

Direct mail campaigns : Tri-fold folded leaflets fit neatly in a business envelope, making them perfect for distribution through a targeted mailing list.


Remember: No matter how you find the audience for your folded leaflet, make sure that it’s the best possible expression of your business, product or service, and shows off what makes you stand apart from the rest.

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