Knowing Your Tri-Fold

Benji Mitchell

| 3 min read

When making a tri-fold brochure, there are a few things to keep in mind — where your front and back panels will sit, and how to position content to arrive at an even margin.

Common Misconception

"Since my brochure folds into thirds, I need to have equal spacing in between each panel and at the edge.”

FALSE You need to have twice as much space between the middle and side panels as you do at the edge of the sheet.

Here's why

When you fold into thirds, you are dividing the area between the middle panels in half. Therefore, if you set up your three content areas with equal spacing between each content area then when you print and fold, your panels will have uneven margins. See?


To have even margins, set up your file like the example below. You will need twice the space between the middle panels as you need at the edge of the sheet.

Knowing your folds

Because of the way a brochure folds, it is good to know in advance what will be your front, back, inside flap and so-forth. Below are a couple of diagrams that will help you set up your next trifold brochure. (PANELS THAT HAVE THE SAME COLOR BACK UP TO EACH OTHER ON A SHEET.)

The “outside” includes your folded front and back plus the inside flap from the first fold. Notice how the “front” of your brochure is on the far right panel and not the left, as you might have thought.

Another important note is that the “flap” should be 1/16th shorter than the other panels so that it can fold and fit inside the front and back. If this isn't accounted for in set-up then your margins will not look the way you intended.

Finally, the other side of the sheet has your inside spread, with panels in the order they will appear once the brochure is opened all the way up. Notice that the slightly shorter "flap" backs up to your inside right-hand panel.

Hopefully these tips will help your next tri-fold brochure go smoothly and return the beautiful product you envisioned.

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