Tri Fold Brochures vs Bi Fold Brochures: Which Should I Use?

Designing a brochure can be a tricky task. As well as looking smart and professional, your brochure must appeal to your target audience, reaching out to them in a way that resonates and fits perfectly with your branding. It's a task that's easier said than done. The first thing you can do is to choose the style of folding that will present your message in the most effective and striking way. Tri fold and bi fold are two of the most popular brochure folding options. Here's a breakdown to help you decide which to use. 

Tri Fold Brochures

Tri fold brochure example

Credit: Pinterest

Best for: 

  • Compact pieces
  • Easy reading 
  • Presenting visual content such as maps and infographics

Also known as the letter fold, a tri folded brochure is presented in the same style as a letter in an envelope (hence the name). It's folded in two places and the brochure is divided into three, even rectangular sections. 


Highly Convenient

Tri fold brochures are very versatile and convenient. Not only are they highly cost-effective, they fold up neatly into a small, compact size that can usually fit into pockets and standard size legal envelopes. But when they're completely opened up, all of the information inside is suddenly visible. Tri folds are easy to hand out and display in brochure racks.  

Great For Engaging Content

When opened up, tri folds display all of their information in a step-by-step process. This gives your design a sense of timing and order as the audience will see each section revealed after the other. And because the inner three panels will be unveiled at once, the content and imagery can be made to really jump out at the reader. Think of it as the 'big reveal'. In the image above, you can see how the brochure opens up to show the most important and interesting aspects at the centre: the business's success story and global vision. 

A Popular And Well-Known Choice

As they are a common folding style, many people will have come across a tri fold brochure and know how they work. This ensures that your audience isn't confused and open your brochure in a way that you didn't intend. As a result, they won't be exposed to your content in the wrong order. 


May Interrupt The Images And Graphics

Because of the way a tri fold brochure is fashioned, the creases may interrupt the larger images and graphics. This makes the tri fold less appropriate for image-focused brochures that showcase your product. Think of a brochure showcasing the latest sports car by BMW. You'd want your images to be large and to do all the talking, right? This wouldn't look as striking in a tri fold brochure because the creases would interrupt the beautiful image of the car. And if the images were made to fit onto one of the panels of the brochure, they would be too small to be fully effective. 

The Cover Needs To Be Perfect

One of the main disadvantages of the tri fold is that the front panel of the brochure needs to be eye-catching enough to make people want to open to look at the rest of it. The design is extremely important here. After all, the tri fold is like a slow reveal of information, gradually drawing your audience in. If the cover doesn't compel them to open your brochure up, your efforts will have fallen flat. 

Competition To Stand Out

While the tri fold's popularity can be an advantage, it can also be a disadvantage. It's often used by other businesses so your design will have to work much harder to stand out among the competition. 

Bi Fold Brochures

Bi fold brochure example

Credit: Pinterest

Best for:

  • Simple business presentations
  • Product guides and comparisons
  • Image-heavy documents such as car, clothing and electronics catalogues

Also known as the half fold, a bi folded brochure is a sheet folded directly in half. Folded in just one place, it cleanly divides the brochure into two parts. 


Great For Large Images

Bi fold brochures are a lot wider than the tri fold which opens up a lot of creative possibilities. Unlike the tri fold, the bi fold brochure features only one fold, so they allow for larger or more images to be used without a crease interrupting their effectiveness. As you can see in the example above, the photos span either one of the panels or both of the panels. In some cases, there are even multiple images blocked around the text. Their beauty would have been marred if there was more than one crease running down them. 

Attention Grabbing

Because bi fold brochures are wider, this can help you garner more attention. They might be simple, but they don't have to look simple. Take this opportunity to make full use of the increased space to create more creative designs. If you want, make those images bleed! Or use that white space to create clean, modern designs that entices people to pick up your brochure in awe. 


Wider Size May Make It Less Convenient

Although the extra width may give you more space to play around design-wise, it also means that they may not fit in leaflet and brochure racks in hotels and welcome centres. Keep this in mind if your business relies on traffic from tourists.

In this digitised age, it may seem that brochures are outdated and their effectiveness in marketing is often questioned. On the contrary, brochures can play an important role in marketing strategies. At the height of effectiveness, they can nurture relationships between current and potential customers. But a poorly designed brochure can easily chase customers right into the open arms of your competitors.

The way a brochure is folded adds to the overall aesthetic of the content and draws your audience in. There are various styles you can choose - tri folds and bi folds are just two of the most common and effective choices. But they each come with their own advantages and disadvantages.  

Find Out More On Creating A Luxury Brochure

Whether you choose tri fold or bi fold, it ultimately depends on your branding and the way you want to showcase your product or service. Our post may have taught you the various pros and cons of tri folding and bi folding, but there's a lot more to think about when creating a brochure for your business. But whatever you do, don't let your designs fall flat by choosing the wrong type of paper and printing style. For even more tips and an in-depth guide, download our guide on how to produce a luxury brochure. 

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