The most common size for a marketing brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ paper, laid horizontally (“landscape”) and folded into three panels. Taking the folds into account, the three panels are actually not all equal in size and particular care should be noted in how the piece folds vis-a-vis how the panels are laid out. Generally speaking, when you look at a landscape oriented sheet, the folding is done from right to left. The right panel will fold over the center panel first and the “new right” panels will fold to the left edge. Think of the process as a “rolling fold.” In fact, that is what it is sometimes called.
If you have a lot more to say in your brochure, consider a legal size paper, 8.5″ x 14″ also positioned in a landscape mode. In this scenario the sheet is folded in half, from right to left, then in half again, also right to left. This “double parallel” fold yields four panels. Another reason marketers choose the larger brochure is to use one of the panels as a tear-off, perfect for a coupon or a reply card. That extra panel can be defined with a perforation or simple dashed lines.
Of course there are other shapes and folds that can make your brochure something special, such a map folds and gate folds. The latter is particularly attractive. Imagine a piece of card stock with a landscape orientation. Fold the right edge to the mid-point and immediately fold the left edge to the same mid-point. The resulting brochure opens like a gate.
Before you decide on a size or shape, consider how your brochures will be distributed. We’ll go into that a little more in the Design section of this website.