How to design a trifold brochure. Free brochure templates
Brochures have been around and about for decades, right? I’m sure you’ve received some at malls, travel agencies, or in your mail. Even if you think they’re not so popular anymore, you would be surprised to find they are still versatile and quite effective advertising tools.
No matter their various shapes and sizes, brochures should be part of your offline marketing strategy, especially when trying to get the word out about a new business, a new product or service, or to simply inform and reach your target audience.
If designed creatively, brochures can have the power to dazzle and grab attention within seconds. Perhaps, the most popular type is the trifold brochure. In this article, I’m gonna tell you some tips & tricks on how to design a great trifold brochure. I’ll also show you some life-saving trifold brochure templates that you can customize in any way you like. And they’re free. Yes, you read it right!
So if you want to save time, design like a pro, and improve your marketing strategy, keep on reading!
But before we get into the specifics of what it takes to design a stunning trifold brochure, let’s start with the basics.
Here is what this article will cover (click to jump ahead):
- What is a trifold brochure
- How to design a trifold brochure
- The importance of professional photography
- Measuring the impact of your trifold brochures
- How to print a trifold brochure
What is a trifold brochure?
As I said before, trifold brochures help companies promote a new business, establish trust, reach their target audience, etc. This kind of brochure is more engaging than a flyer or a postcard. First, because it offers more space – 6 pages to be specific – for texts, details, and images.
There are 2 ways in which trifold brochures fold. The most common one is the Letterfold in which two pages fold over the middle section.
The next one is the Z-fold where the pages are folded back and forth.
You may think that the folding process it’s not that important and that you’ll deal with it only when it’s time to print the brochures. Actually, the folding process is the first step you need to decide because the whole design process depends on it. By doing this you avoid having unmatched design elements and texts. There are certain guidelines to follow when you design a trifold brochure but I’ll get into that later. So, before designing your trifold brochure take a look at some standard brochure sizes for print and choose the one that suits your needs.
Our designers’ tip: Choose the folding type you want your trifold brochure to have. Based on this, create a design scheme that best suits that folding type.
Keep in mind, brochures give you less than 5 seconds to grab the attention before it ends up in the nearest trash can. And the way to avoid that is with a stunning brochure design. Therefore, you have to include the whole mix: creative typography, color scheme, logo, and eye-catching photography. Oh, and the way text is integrated within the design is very important.
Ok, now you may be saying “That’s great, but I still have no idea how to design a trifold brochure.” Rest assured, after you’ll be done reading this article, you’ll know so much more about designing a professional trifold brochure that will have a long-lasting impact.
First thighs first, you have to keep the customer in mind. You design the trifold brochure for them so focus on the message you’re trying to deliver. It takes some research to find the right balance of a good brochure design but when you combine all the proper elements, the result will be stunning
Let’s establish some key questions that you need to answer before designing a trifold brochure:
- Who is your target audience?
- What should be the first thing they see when handed your trifold brochure?
- What’s your message?
- How to grab the attention better?
Remember that you have the first page (and 5 seconds) to showcase the best features of your product or service to the audience you’re sending the message to. So, keep it short and clear.
Moving on, I’ll tell you some steps that you should follow when you design a trifold brochure. Also, let me introduce you to a wide variety of trifold brochure templates that will simply make your life easier.
These templates are your solution for designing professional-looking trifold brochures. Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science and you don’t need professional design skills.
1. Choose a design theme that represents your brand
I cannot stress this enough but the way your brand communicates through design says a lot about your company. Actually, a McKinsey study found that companies that integrated and put effort into their design did way better than the ones that didn’t.
From the early days of your business, you have to build a brand kit. Why? Because it’s going to save you a lot of time and headaches. The design theme is usually represented through the brand kit that you already have. It’s composed of elements like logo, color scheme, fonts, shapes, and so on. It ensures consistency on the company’s platforms: product’s packaging, social media platforms, advertising campaigns, and all the other communicational aspects of a brand.
So the way you design a trifold brochure for a medical clinic will definitely be different from how you approach a brochure for a coffee shop for example.
Firstly, this medical and care trifold brochure template below is an informal one. It’s about the medical clinic in general and it also presents the clinic’s services. On the first page, they placed an image with their medical team. The name is placed centered, above all the other design elements, followed by their statement “All for your health and care”.
The colors used are “blue” and “white” to create a clean and professional look.
Colors are most of the time chosen on purpose to best represent the message, value, and mission of a brand. So keep that in mind when you design a trifold brochure.
If you find it intimidating to start a trifold brochure from scratch, click on the image and go straight to Flipsnack’s Design Studio to customize this template. You’ll be done within seconds.
2. Decide on the content and map out your brochure
The next big step when you design a trifold brochure is to establish the content. But, you can’t do this if you don’t think about the message you want to send. Take a minute and sum up the points you need to mention in your trifold brochure.
Do you want your brochure to be promotional, educational, or informative? After you’ve figured this out, you already have a starting point.
Trifold brochures have to get straight to the point. Don’t get lost in details that have no relevance for the reader. Remember about the 5 seconds I was talking about? Just tell people the essential information in a short and concise way through enticing headlines.
Let’s say your trifold brochure is informative because you just opened a new spa, for example. Because you are new on the market, you have to include information about your spa services. This will bring brand awareness and people will already know you when thinking about spending a day at the spa.
Take a look at the spa trifold brochure template below. You’ll notice that our designers added a section about the story behind. And, of course, they also made room for presenting the SPA services.
However, it doesn’t seem like too much text, right? How did they do that? Simple. They mapped out the text correctly.
This brings me to my next point. For your trifold brochure design to be easy to skim, you should divide and categorize your text.
Structure your content
Too much text can make the reader feel overwhelmed. And you risk that people might not even read your trifold brochure. So integrate subheadings throughout different sections, and use italic serif fonts to mark a category.
In the spa template, you can see they used a bigger and thin font for the headline “Our plant based SPA services”. The subheadings mark and divide three categories: Spa Facials, Massage Therapy, and Body waxing. And they also used bullet points to make the following texts easy to read.
Our designer’s tip: Focus on readability and use paragraphs between sections. Also, if you can use graphics or icons to represent some parts of the text, go for it!
3. Make great use of the grid
Do you notice how well categorized this trifold brochure template is? Well, this is where grids come in handy. They help you structure your design layout fast and easy. Also, notice the brown background color they chose to make the text stand out more and to break the images between.
I’ll offer you an example of how to design a trifold brochure that includes a coffee shop. Unlike the medical template above, this coffee shop trifold brochure has a more dark approach. Coffee photography goes really well with dark backgrounds in general. And let’s be honest, the images are the key in this template. So, how do you attract new customers to taste the best flat white in town? With beautiful shots of your latte art, of course.
As we already talked about, working with a lot of text can be difficult, but the template below allows you to make things easier and use a grid to help you organize all the information and images.
Not only do they save you a lot of time, but they also create a neat and balanced layout.
On the third panel of the template below, you can see how the two coffee images are placed exactly in half. Well, before those images were added, our designers used grids to perfectly cut the page in half. By doing this, they avoided having an image that is bigger than the other. This was just an example of how grids assure you that everything will be nicely placed.
Tip: Don’t forget to use rulers and smart guides to help you align all the elements correctly.
4. Use the same image on at least 2 panels
Let’s say you own a travel agency and you want to advertise some great holiday vacations. This travel brochure template will do the job for you!
Here you have it. The beautiful image catches the eyes instantly, right? If you have a photo that does the talking for you, then use it smartly. Notice that the photo is placed on the whole 3 panels of the trifold brochure. This is usually called a double page spread. So when people open it entirely, they get a stunning view of the Alps mountains.
The text is added in bold italic fonts. On the same spread, there’s a quote and the logo. You don’t want to stuff a lot of details and information on such a beautiful image. So use the remaining 3 panels to give people descriptions and tourist points. Let them imagine what an immersive experience they could have!
Also, see the second image? The one with the buildings of the old village that’s placed on 2 panels? This also breaks the text when the trifold brochure design is opened. Click on this template and make it your own. The whole designing process is easy with drag, drop and replace!
Our designer’s tip: Use bold titles or quotes on the front cover of your trifold brochure. Make sure that you only use high-quality photos, especially when you do a spread or place an image on two panels.
5. Try a black and white minimalist design for a more serious approach
What about a more minimalist design? Not all brochures need to have images with bright colors and loads of text. In fact, if you want to achieve a minimalist style for your trifold brochure, then you can try a timeless black and white design.
This kind of design is suitable when you want a more serious approach. Like when you’re working at a law firm or maybe for an architecture studio.
Let me show you this modern black and white trifold template that will be a great choice for promoting these types of services.
Because the images are black and white, they offer a modern look. This way, the text stands out more. So, if you don’t want the images to get the most attention in your brochure design, this alternative might help.
The template also incorporates sans serif fonts (without strokes) that give a clean and professional look. If you’re not quite sure how to use fonts, do a little research on what are some of the best typography fonts for catalogs and brochures. Use the advice given and you’ll see what big difference fonts can make.
Just like in the majority of trifold brochures, the back cover is where contact details are placed.
This is helpful because contact details are one of the most important parts of designing a trifold brochure.
Any brochure should include the following contact information:
- Phone number
- Social media platforms
Tip: Integrate some icons with the contact details to make them stand out. And don’t forget to always double-check before sending your trifold brochure to print.
6. But also, don’t be afraid of colors
However, if you design a trifold brochure for a music festival, concert, or art gallery then all you need is bright and vivid colors! The young generation is instantly drowned by this kind of design.
For example, you can use the music festival trifold template below for an impressive look. See the contrast colors pink and yellow? They make the entire design stand out and it gives space for the most important information:
These colors are perfectly chosen because they represent exactly what the event is all about: summer, young people, music, and a lot of positive energy.
Let’s see what pink and yellow represents:
- Pink is a color that stands for friendship, harmony
- Yellow symbolizes optimism, energy, and happiness
What’s great about designing colorful trifold brochures, is the fact that you don’t need a lot of text. You just have to write short and catchy headlines that easily grab the attention of readers, with the help of vibrant color design, of course.
Also, this kind of trifold brochure allows you to play around with different shapes, sizes, colors, and fonts. So use bold colors and interesting shapes. Cut 3-4 images and place them together to get an artistic result just like in the template below.
The only rule here is to make your trifold brochure represent the soul of your concert or art exhibition, send the right message, and attract people.
7. Choose the right typography to complement your images
When opening a new dessert place, an efficient offline marketing strategy is to design and hand brochures all over the hood to spread the word out.
In this dessert trifold template, our designers used images and a short title for each category of dessert. I’m sure you agree with me that the font used here complements the aesthetic of the images just perfectly. See, fonts have quite the power to improve a design.
In this template, the font used is serif and is also bolded and big. Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve never heard about types of fonts. Let me briefly explain the differences.
Serif fonts are the ones that have little strokes at the end of the letters.
Sans serif means fonts without these strokes, just simple and clean letters.
Now that you know the difference between those two, you can see that the serif font is just great for complementing the images for the cake house, right?
Keep in mind to try out a few fonts before you decide on the ones you’ll use in your trifold brochure design. Choose the font that goes better with your images and with your overall theme and the message you want to send.
The importance of professional photography
To be honest with you, I’d recommend investing in some high-quality shots before designing the actual trifold brochure for your cake shop, as we have in the example above.
In the food industry, images are the main attraction and selling point.
Yes, I agree with you. If the food doesn’t taste good, there’s no point in seeing a great-looking photo of it. But most of the time, I find myself looking at the food images on the menu and only after deciding if I want to eat something or not. If the food doesn’t look appealing, I probably won’t even bother to try it. The purpose of food photography is to present how savory and delicious those desserts are.
But this doesn’t apply only to food photography. Let’s take a look at the clothing trifold template below. I’m sure you’re aware that these photos were taken by a professional photographer.
For clothing brands, hiring a professional to take photos of the new clothes they’re putting up for sale is a must. Why? These images will convince potential buyers to make the purchase.
In this template, they made the whole design theme inspired by the images used. You can see the burgundy color is picked from the dress and used throughout the entire brochure. There aren’t any other colors that might steal the reader’s attention from the images.
The main purpose and selling point here is to put the images in the spotlight.
So if you don’t consider yourself a skillful photographer, make sure to hire one. You’ll find having professional photos handy. Not only use them in your trifold brochure design but also share them on your digital platforms.
If I didn’t yet convince you, professional images will reduce your chances of having a pixelated brochure when printed.
8. Use icons to emphasize your trifold brochure structure
I’m sure icons are no surprise to you. In the digital era we live in, icons have become must-haves. Maybe you already have some in your website design. They break down language barriers, sum things up quite easily and they can add a bit of a fun twist to it.
Icons are a great way to easily grab the reader’s attention and to illustrate things, activities and avoid huge chunks of text. Not only are they visually more pleasing to look at but they make any brochure easier to read.
Just to give you an example of what I am talking about here. On the last three panels of this tourist trifold brochure, you can notice that the activities are represented by icons: Origami – swan icon; Pottery – vases icon; Tea Nights – a pot and a cup of tea. Instead of having long and detailed headlines, they went for icons to help readers visualize the topic and to offer them some context.
There are a lot of websites that offer free icons that you can integrate into your trifold brochure design. So take advantage of that and make your trifold brochure design more visually appealing.
Also, do you notice the grid style used here? The design is inspired by Japan’s flag colors: red and white. Sometimes, simple design is more than enough. Balance is the key, right?
If you want to customize this template, you can easily do it. Open our Design Studio and under the Shapes section, you will find a plethora of shapes you can use as icons to balance your trifold brochure design. On top of that, if you need this layout for advertising something else, simply change the colors, add your logo and text. It’s just that fast and easy.
Measuring the impact of trifold brochures
You may say “Yes, brochures are great and all but how do you measure their impact?” If you’d like to know the ROI, then you have to implement some marketing strategies.
In offline marketing, it is quite difficult to measure performance and see the impact your strategies have. But rest assured, besides teaching you how to design a trifold brochure that stands out, I’m also going to offer you some tips that will help you track the results easily.
Let’s say you have a coffee shop or a travel agency. I suggest using your trifold brochure to also give discounts or coupons. You don’t have to offer huge discounts, but just enough to reward the people who kept your brochure.
Include call to actions in your brochure. Text like “Get 2 coffees and get 1 for free” or “10% off your holiday” encourage people to take the brochure with them. Place them strategically near a coupon that can easily be cut out. Make sure these stand out. Otherwise, people won’t even notice them.
Use QR codes to measure the impact of your trifold brochure
Another great way to track results is by implementing QR codes that activate with the phone’s camera. There are a lot of free websites that help you make a QR code in seconds.
In the image below, the first trifold brochure tells people about the discount they have for a holiday. But you can also be creative and engage with your audience. So tell them to cut the coupon and present it at the agency in order to receive the discount.
Meanwhile, in the second example, you can see there’s a QR code. This is a fast and easy way to engage with people. And it proves to be quite helpful for restaurants and coffee shops.
- Display the menu of your restaurant
- Connect to a Wi-fi network (your barista or waiter will forever be thankful for this)
- Open a URL, maybe to show details about your company
- Show images, videos, and many more
So if you want to gain more customers and keep track of the brochure’s performance, then these strategies are great for you.
How to print a trifold brochure?
We finally made it to the last step. But before I tell you more about how to print your trifold brochure, there’s a little checklist to go through:
- Proofread your trifold brochure
- Verify that your message is clear
- Make sure you used high-quality photos
- Check the design scheme
Did you check all of them? Ok, now all you have to do is to print it. If you used a free Flipsnack trifold brochure template from the ones I’ve shown you or if you designed it from scratch, then the next steps should also be taken very seriously.
Open Flipsnack, go to the final version of your trifold brochure, click Download and save it as PDF for Print. By doing this you know that your trifold brochure will have the best quality possible. If the brochure is pixelated and the colors are faded, you increase the chances of doing it all for nothing.
Tip: Before you print a large amount of your trifold brochure, visit different print shops and make some samples. Compare the colors, paper’s texture and density, and how well it folds. Only after this step, you can move on to print large volumes.
That’s all. You can now print your brochure and be proud that you did all the design work. And you know the great thing about this? You now have the information to do it all over again.
Take things further and learn how you can use digital brochures in marketing and get ideas that might take your business to the next level. You know what? Even if brochures are printed and handed out in person, you can also use your brochure design on your social media platforms. Share it directly from Flipsnack or send it as an email to your list.
See? Learning how to design a trifold brochure was not something only a professional designer can achieve. Of course, it will take you a bit of time and practice to get that clean-looking trifold brochure design, but trust me, it’s going to be fun.
Remember, the most important aspect when designing a trifold brochure is the story you want to tell in less than 5 seconds. So, I’d suggest starting with a strong message and a powerful design. Keep it fun and creative with interesting photography or illustrations and end up with a strong call to action to drive impact. Give it a go!