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Brochure Paper Options Demystified


You have planned, written, and designed an attractive brochure that you are confident will inform and entice your prospective customers when they see it displayed in distribution racks, on retail countertops, and in trade shows. Now it’s time to print your marketing piece and bring it to life! But you are faced with a dizzying array of print options, and you are not sure which to pick. We are here to help clear up the confusion.

Brochure Paper Weight

There are generally two types of materials that you will be using for your brochures: card stock and paper stock.

Just like it sounds, card stock is thicker and less flexible than paper stock. It is measured in points (abbreviated pt.), and the higher the number of points, the thicker the card stock is. Some advantages to using card stock for your brochure is that it is sturdy enough to stand upright so your brochure can be professionally displayed. It is also more resistant to rips and wrinkles and is therefore less likely to be damaged during delivery or movement from one event to the next. A couple of disadvantages to using card stock for your brochure is that it does not lay as flat as paper stock (for ease of storage and transport) and it is more expensive than paper stock.

Paper stock is thinner than card stock. Like card stock, it comes in a range of thicknesses, and its specific thickness is identified by pound (abbreviated lb. or #). The higher the value, the thicker the paper.

Brochure Paper Finish

The paper used for brochures and other print marketing materials is either uncoated or coated.

Uncoated paper has no shine. Think about paperback novel pages or newsprint. Uncoated paper really soaks up the ink and doesn’t lend itself to showcasing photographs. However, consider this option if you are creating your brochure with the specific intent for it to be written on, as coating makes it difficult or impossible for the paper to be written on.

Matte finish disperses the light and allows only a limited amount of shine to be reflected off of it. Contrary to popular belief, matte finish still carries a little bit of shine, but much less than gloss finish.

Gloss finish carries a high amount of shine. It offers a luxurious and professional look, but it tends to reveal any fingerprints, dust, and dirt that have accumulated on your brochures.

There are several other types of finishes, such as dull UV coat or soft UV coat, that add a nuanced texture to your brochures and other print marketing materials, which enhance readability and make your graphics pop. Contact us if you would like to see samples of various finishes to help you decide which one is right for your brochure.

Color Printing on Brochures

Wondering what numbers have to do with color printing? Here’s a quick key to what they mean.

4/0 means that your brochure will be printed in full color on one side of the page, and nothing printed on the back.

4/1 means that your brochure will be printed in full color on one side and in black and white on the other side.

4/4 means that your brochure will be printed in full color on both sides of the page.

Brochure Folding Options

Stymied by your folding options? Here are a few of the most popular brochure fold options to choose from.

Half-Fold: Just as it sounds, the pages are folded in half so the front and back of the page have two equivalent panels.

Tri-Fold: This popular folding style has three equal panels. The left and right panels are folded into the center.

Z-Fold or Accordion Fold: This folding style also features three equal panels. Rather than both the left and right panel being folded in front of the center panel, the left panel folds back to the center panel, which folds forward to the ring panel—just like the letter Z.

Gate Fold: Like gate doors that swing open to reveal a great mansion behind them, two narrow panels—on the left and right side—open to reveal a wider panel in the center.

Don’t forget: 5 Star Marketing & Distribution is here to answer all your brochure design, printing, and distribution questions. If you are looking for assistance in creating your business’s brochure, contact us today!

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