Red River Paper Blog
By Arthur H. Bleich–
My first introduction to tri-fold brochures came in pre-web times when I was on an extended assignment to Alaska and based in Sitka. The Chamber of Commerce had placed some small ads in travel magazines to promote their beautiful town as a tourist destination. The response was overwhelming but when readers requested more information, the Chamber was at a loss. So they asked me if I could design a tri-fold, color brochure that they could mail out.
The tri-fold is probably the most popular brochure in the world; it’s simply an 8.5 x 11 standard letter-sized paper folded into three panels. It can be self-mailed or easily slipped into a standard #10 envelope.
It took me only a week to shoot the images, write the copy and do a rough layout. But after getting local approval, all the material then had to go to a printer 3,500 miles away and proofs had to fly back and forth until everyone was satisfied. It took about six months before the Chamber received their first batch.
Today, hundreds of free, designer templates for brochures are available that let you pop in both pictures and text of your choice. With just a simple inkjet printer, you can produce beautiful tri-fold brochures in just a day– even hours, if need be. Folding them into thirds, which used to be a killer, is now a snap with Red River’s pre-scored, tri-fold inkjet paper.
Of course, if your client needs large quantities, it may be more cost-effective for them to use a professional printing firm but even so, there’s an advantage to proofing and tweaking the tri-fold with your own printer and paper before a commitment is made for a large run. And you can charge for that service.
Recently, a real estate agent friend of my wife had a problem. She had a listing for a home that the owner wanted quickly sold and even though it was multi-listed on the web, the house wasn’t getting much attention. She needed to get other real estate agents (who stood to get a percentage of the sale) interested enough to bring it to the attention of their clients.
She had thought about doing a classy, tri-fold, color brochure that she’d mail to other agents in the area (about 50 of them) but had rejected the idea because it would take too much time to have a piece designed and printed; besides which she’d have to order a large minimum number of copies which she didn’t need.
My wife, who just uses her computer for everyday word processing and web surfing (and who had never done a brochure) told her not to worry– she’d do it for her. When she told me about this, my response was: “I guess you’re going to give me another job to do.”
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. She had discovered a treasure trove of brochure templates that are buried within Microsoft Word and in less than a day had put together a tri-fold brochure that impressed me with its professional look. All I had to do was write some text, re-size a few photos and she took care of the rest. And, as you can see, it turned out every bit as good looking as if it had been done by a professional designer.
Prospective clients are all around you– small businesses, for example, who can’t afford to invest in expensive design services or order large minimum runs that may leave them with outdated brochures. At a reasonable cost, you can offer them great flexibility to change pricing or services, send out seasonal brochures or print small runs with different content targeted at specific groups.
As I write, I’m looking at a fluorescent orange flyer that was stuck in my door, promoting a paving service. It has smudged type and a big black line through one of its phone numbers, which doesn’t give me much confidence in the kind of job they’ll do. A slick tri-fold, though, might have prompted me to call them.
Small businesses and organizations on tight budgets want to present themselves through professional-looking material but cost is always factor. If the price is right, they’ll give it a try. All it takes is a few samples to show them and some suggestions about how tri-folds could help improve sales or services or get the word out about upcoming events or an organization’s mission.
My local florist recently told me he’d like to send out small volume mailings to highlight specials during holidays, but can’t spend time and cost involved in getting a designer and printing firm to produce them. A local roofer I know would love to leave a brochure with a potential customer other than just his business card.
If you want to make some extra money with the resources you already have, just look around and the opportunities to offer tri-fold brochure services will jump out at you. Your costs will be low and the quality of your product will be high. You’re sure to get lots of business– and repeat business. Give it a try!
Red River Tri-Fold Paper
Pre-Scored, double-sided paper that is perfect for Tri-Folds.
Microsoft Word for PC: File > New (Template folders are displayed.)
Microsoft Word for Mac: File > New from Template (Folders are displayed.)
For other applications: Google “Free Tri-Fold Templates”
Informational Web Sites
Have you designed a tri-fold brochure? Share your tips with other readers in our Comments section below.