Brochure Design Key Terms

Find terms that can help you create a successful brochure design

You need to make many decisions when designing a brochure. Printers and graphic designers use terms that may be unfamiliar to you when they discuss some of the elements of brochure design. Learning these terms can help you create a successful brochure. A brochure is typically a multi-page document or it may be a single page folded to create multiple panels. The various folds, graphic elements and other parts of brochure design come together to create a pleasing look that captures your reader's attention and makes your content readable and convincing.


A self-mailer is a brochure that you can mail as is. It's the correct size and shape for mailing and has room on one panel for a mailing address. Often you can leave an outside panel mostly blank with room for postage while using a return address and minimal marketing slogans. Be aware when designing self-mailers that the Postal Service often prints bar codes on the bottom of the mailing panel and these can mar or cover up design elements if you place them there.

Accordion fold

An accordion fold is a common type of fold for a multi-panel brochure. You can use this type of fold to turn a single sheet of paper into a six-, eight- or 10-page brochure by folding the paper in a manner similar to an accordion. This type of fold is good for brochures that contain a lot of information, especially those about specific products.


Embossing is a process that raises part of the paper, creating a three-dimensional image. Embossing gives a brochure an elegant look, and you apply a metallic foil coating for an attractive design.

Margins and gutters

The margin is the distance from the edge of a column of text to the edge of the page. A gutter is the distance between columns of text.


Templates, in the broader sense, are any form of pre-designed structure for your brochure. More specifically, however, you can obtain templates that designers make for use with specific computer applications. These templates contain all of the design elements of your brochure, waiting only for your specific text and information. These templates often contain specifications for font size and color, artwork and photos, and other design elements to give your brochure a professional look.

Call to action

Marketing is not only about showing pretty pictures or even informing your audience about your product or service. A good brochure inspires your readers to do something. Figure out what you want them to do and close your brochure with a call to do it, whether it be to buy your product, call one of your sales representatives or visit your company's Web site.

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