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Bi-Fold Brochures as Catalogs

Bi-fold brochures are often designed with a particular objective: to work as small catalogs. A catalog is a kind of brochure in which products and services are shown by means of images and textual descriptions, in order to promote and sell them. It is a selling tool really essential for companies, since it is a piece in which all the company production is in the hands of real clients and future ones as well. However, catalogs themselves usually have eight pages at least, and this fact makes them expensive to design and print. Furthermore, they have to be frequently renewed since it is necessary to incorporate novelties and changes of a company. For these reasons, a good option for reducing costs and for being able to regularly modify information is to make one bi-fold brochure for each different product category.

Bi-fold brochures of this type have specific characteristics, typical of conventional catalogs, but in a smaller space. They present objectives and principles of a company. They usually include images of the personnel and facilities to bring the organization closer to the public. They show, as in a showcase, photographs, illustrations, or renderings of products and/or fundamental services that a company wants to promote. In addition, next to the images is placed a brief description with the characteristics of the products, with their prices, codes and special offers. Technical products are often accompanied by short instructions about how to use them or with explanatory graphics as well. In the bi-fold brochures that function as catalogs, the contact information (telephone number, fax number, physical address, email address and the website), forms of payment and the opening hours to the client are included as well, as in any brochure.

Advantages

Here we list the main advantages of having a catalog in the form of a bi-fold brochure. Above all, remember that with a bi-fold brochure of this type designed by professionals, you will be able to have an infallible marketing tool at low costs and with an excellent graphic quality. Writing down the benefits of the catalogs:

  1. Customers can consult a catalog repeatedly and there, they can thoroughly observe the different products and services, read their descriptions and get to know their prices. For these reasons, catalogs are graphical instruments that widely promote purchasing items.
  2. Bi-fold brochures used as catalogs are excellent means to present the production of a company to prospective clients. Thus, future clients can better know the company and have a general idea in a short time.
  3. Because of being printed material of high quality and resistance, people tend to keep them for a long time. This implies, that in this way a company stays close to its clients constantly.
  4. Bi-fold brochure-catalogs are pieces of design that work by themselves effectively, and also as supplements of other promotional instruments, such as brochures and websites.

Design

Bi-fold brochures which are used as small catalogs, usually have the size of the conventional bi-fold brochures. Thus, they can have the measurement of a letter sheet (open, 8.5" x 11", with panels of 5.5" x 8.5" or 4.25" x 11"), or the one of a double letter sheet (open, 11" x 17", with panels of 8.5" x 11"). Sometimes, companies opt for making these brochures with sizes and formats that are less conventional to attract even more attention of the public. However, the traditional format and size are highly recommended in the case of bi-fold brochure-catalogs, since they allow maximum convenience, both for the readers when manipulating these pieces, and for carrying out the distribution by post.

What are the fundamental criteria that the graphic designers have in mind when developing a bi-fold brochure that will serve as a catalog? Some of the general guidelines that must be taken into consideration are:

Image of the company

As in all pieces of promotion, it is essential that the design strongly represents the identity of a company through all the graphic and textual elements. Each of the components of a bi-fold brochure, such as fonts, images, colors, lines, backgrounds, etc., should be part of a harmonious whole with the characteristic corporate style.

Front Panel

The front panel plays a key role in the bi-fold brochures, since it is the part that has the function to catch the look of the customers and make them open the brochure to keep reading. Therefore, on the front face, the name and logo of the company must be presented, as well as an attractive phrase and an attractive image that cause curiosity in readers and are memorable at the same time.

Inside

The two internal panels must have a design appropriate to the frontal panel and the back one. The general layout should be simple, with plenty of air, to allow that people can see the images and read the descriptions quickly. In the inside, photographs, illustrations or renderings of the products should be arranged in a clear and striking way. In addition, descriptions of the items should be presented. In the first panel, at the beginning, it is possible to include a brief introduction about the company and its principles.

Individual Photographs

In catalogs, it is very important to include individual photographs of the products offered by a company. It is also essential to avoid backgrounds to the photos, since they tend to cause confusion. Photographs of sets of products are not effective when promoting sales, since they do not clearly highlight any item. There are some exceptions: for certain products, it is convenient to take photographs showing a group of them. This happens, for example, with books, envelopes, pencils, etc.

Highlighted Photographs

A great way to make the in a catalog offered products turn out to be attractive is to highlight their photographs through various means: not using backgrounds, using strong colors, illuminating the images with a lot of light. To highlight new products of special offers, it is a good idea to use soft shadows.

Fonts

For the text included in the bi-fold brochure to be easily legible, the appropriate fonts must be selected. It is always advisable to use classical fonts, such as Times or Helvetic, as they are fonts that can be perfectly read in their different sizes. Usually, no more than two fonts to avoid visual confusion. Anything in the text that you want to make stand out can be achieved by using bold, italic, underline, or shading styles.

Paper

The paper of a bi-fold brochure which is used as catalog should be resistant to the use, as well as visually attractive. For this reason, cardboard is generally used. It is a type of paper of maximum durability and excellent level of definition. It is then recommended to print bi-fold brochures-catalogs in cardstock paper of 80# or 100# or more, to get durable pieces. The cardboard can be glossy or matte. In the first case, colors will be strongly highlighted, while in the second case, the style will be elegant and rhythmic, with a great definition of the images and words.

Colors

In the case of bi-fold brochures used as catalogs, it is useful to make a full color printing, since that way the photographs excel more, and therefore the products become more attractive in the eyes of the public. Nowadays four-color printing (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) is very popular due to its excellent results and affordable costs. Anyway, in case of having a much reduced budget, it is also possible to make bi-fold brochures in black and white or monochromatic, in which case the designer will have to maximize his creative capacities to obtain an equally impressive piece.

Laminating

Since the catalogs are pieces designed to be consulted over the course of time, it is important that they be resistant. Therefore, in the event of printing them on cardboard without finish, it is highly recommended to laminate them. Laminating consists of covering the printed paper with a plastic layer, obtaining a piece of great duration. There are glossy and matte laminates, both to obtain a catalog with bright colors as for obtaining a catalog smoother and defined.



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