There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but here – in no particular order – are some things to think about when you’re considering leaflet size. (In fact, when you’re considering any piece of printed material.) It’s based on my experience over the past 20 years or so.
Print costs money
It’s a bit of an obvious thing to say, but the more pages your leaflet has, the more it will cost. So it makes sense to have a leaflet that’s only as big as you need and no more.
Bear in mind too the repercussions of anything that isn’t a standard shape based on a variation of A3/A4/A5. A non-standard shape will typically cost more to print. Plus if it’s going to be part of a direct mail campaign, it may also cost more to post. If it’s going to be displayed with other leaflets where you won’t have control over what happens to it (e.g. in clients’ or partners’ premises) will the awkward shape make it stand out or mean it’s folded up or – worse – not displayed at all because it doesn’t fit in the display stands? None of this is to say you shouldn’t have an excitingly shaped leaflet if you want, but think about whether it’s money well spent and whether it could inadvertently do more harm than good.
What is the purpose of the leaflet?
What is the call to action for your leaflet? (That is, what do you want people to do once they’ve read your leaflet? Call you? Book tickets? Visit you?) Now think about what information your target audience will need in order to be prepared to do this. There are various entries in my A-Z of Copywriting that can help you with this, if you need.
What does the content of the leaflet look like?
Now think about what form the content for the leaflet will take. Will it be mostly text? Will there be graphics? Photos? Tables of data? Now think about how this type of information is best presented. A4? A5? Trifold?
What does the structure of the leaflet look like?
Now you know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, you can start to draft a page layout that will help you decide how many pages are needed.
What else is going with the leaflet?
If your leaflet is going to be part of a direct mailing campaign, is it going to be accompanied by a letter or other materials? If so, think about how you could use the materials together.
For example if you are going to have a special offer or time-limited promotion in the leaflet, could you put this in the (cheaper and easier to print) letter instead? This would mean you could create a leaflet that would have a longer shelf-life and could be used in more places.
If you are thinking about creating several leaflets for several different target markets, think about whether you could create one generic leaflet and send tailored letters to each audience.
But do remember to balance costs against the outcome required. Be confident your decision isn’t a false economy.
What is the afterlife of the leaflet?
What would you like people to do after they’ve read your leaflet and done what you wanted them to do? If your hope is that they will keep the leaflet, make sure you’ve made this possible. For example, if you are asking people to complete a form in the leaflet, make sure your leaflet is still complete – or at least has all the important information in it – once this form has been removed and returned.
So those are my top tips. What are yours?
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