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Should You Have a Trifold?

Eloise Deisgn Co - Trifolds

I recently traveled to Sedona, Arizona for vacation and as I sat waiting for a table at a local breakfast joint (who boasts having 101 omelets on their menu), I sat on a bench staring at a display of 100+ tourist trifolds. As someone in branding, I couldn’t help but analyze them to see which ones stood out in the sea of print. This display inspired me to share 3 rules for an effective trifold or print marketing piece. 


As with anything that we create, we always ask - what is the purpose of this piece? In general, a trifold is the first impression and “first date” as we like to call it. On the first date, you are capturing the person’s attention, you are telling them enough to be interested, you are encouraging them to take action (call you, go to your website, sign up, etc). 


The next question is why are you designing a trifold? What is the strategy behind it? Why do you need one? Who will it be shared with? How will it be shared/distributed?

How will it lead someone to a “second date”? 

When clients don’t know the answers to these questions - I usually tell them to wait on designing a piece and paying money to print them. It’s not worth it. 


The biggest mistake I see with trifolds or print marketing pieces, in general, is the tendency to try to tell a potential customer EVERYTHING on a sheet of paper. Abiding with this mistake will actually take the pressure off of outlining, designing, and writing content for your trifold - You don’t have to tell them everything about your business and offerings.

3 Rules for an Effective Trifold

that someone will pick up and use

 Eloise Design Co - Sedona Trifold

1. Strategically Design the Top ⅓ of Cover 

If you look at the picture at the top of this blog post, you can only see the top ⅓ of each of the trifolds. Whether your trifold will be displayed at another business in a display like this or on a table - the top ⅓ of the cover is extremely important. The trifolds with a lot of text will get skimmed over because nothing catches the eye. The ones with only an image miss out on telling people who you are (logo) or what you do or how you can solve their want or need. 

The top ⅓ of your trifold should be used strategically to catch someone’s attention and help know in 1-2 seconds what you are offering OR how you are going to serve them.

Remember, it's not about you - it’s about them. 

 Eloise Design Co - Trifold Example

2. Balance Your Imagery & Text

People don’t want to read a book when they pick up your marketing piece. They want to learn how you can solve their problem, want or need. They want to know who you are. They want to know what the next step is (go to our website, scan the QR code, call today). 

While you keep the text short with short sentences, 2 sentence paragraphs, and bullet points - you need to balance the simple text with imagery. Show me pictures of people enjoying your service or product. Show us the product. Show me your beautiful location. Your brand can be communicated so much quicker via imagery than your paragraphs of words. 

 Eloise Design Co - Trifold Examples

3. Think Outside the Fold with Paper and Dimensions

Our team does not design traditional tri-folds even when a client asks for one. We encourage them to think of different dimensions, folds, and styles so that their piece will stand out. Now if they told us that they needed it to fit in a display like you saw at the top of this blog post, then we would do it. But we would only do it because it aligned with their strategy for the piece. 

We normally design marketing pieces as 2-sided 7x5” cards or 8x6” (landscape orientation) quadfold. The quadfold is used when you are sharing a piece with someone you know is interested in your brand. They are more expensive to print (larger piece) so you want to be selective with who gets them. For example, a non-profit did a quadfold for a fundraiser campaign and was giving them to potential donors. The 7x5” cards are inexpensive and great to send out to the masses. 

We will work with online ( or local printers to source thicker card stock so that the weight catches someone’s attention. We will go with 120 -130 lb card stock.

You have to be careful of the thickness of paper when you are doing a folded piece as the thicker the paper, the harder it is to fold well. This is why we do 2-sided 7x5” cards more often. We can spend a little more on the thicker quality paper. 

If you are printing locally, ask for a proof so that you can see how your piece prints on the paper and if the folds are correct, clean, and don’t crack. 

Eloise Design Co

If you are trying to decide what print marketing pieces you actually need based on brand and strategy, we might be able to help! Before we can hop into a tri-fold design, we will make sure you have a brand and then we will lead you through the process. 

See our Services here and reach out via our Services Form.


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Eloise Design Co - Pinterest


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