What to do if you need to say a lot in a small space

If you’ve got a lot to say, a three-fold A4 leaflet is your only man.

There’s an old Zen adage that crosses over into the marketing world that “less is more”. And when it comes to advertising and promotion, the rule of thumb is also that you should only ever try to say one thing at a time. 

Consider these two ads from the 1980s. Which one has more impact?

Sample of effective advertising image - Printchain Portmarnock
Sample of poor advertising image and copy - Printchain Portmarnock

OK one of them has William Shatner in it, and that’s never something to be overlooked, but the simple clean message of the VW ad – poking fun at itself while making a serious point (“this car is compact”) is amazingly effective, and contrasts tellingly with the confused and shouty layout of the Commodore Vic 20 ad which tries to cram so much information in that it’s essentially unreadable.

Therefore what is most effective in communications is simple messaging with effective, uncomplicated imagery.

But I have a lot to say?

Sometimes you need to do a promo that has a bold message, but also needs to contain a large amount of other information, such as time, date, price, rules, terms and conditions, etc.

If you try to combine all the above elements into a single image, you’re likely to end up with a dog’s breakfast of a poster of the sort you may have seen created in Microsoft Word by an administrator using lots of clipart, fonts, and cramming information in any which way, with each part of the poster design fighting against every other part: 

Sample of terrible print ad
My eyes! My eyes!

What’s the best way to convey a lot of information, but also to have a simple, impactful message?

Well, this is where our superhero the 3-fold A4 leaflet comes in. For scarcely more than the cost of an A4 poster or 2-sided print, you can get 6 whole panels to work with – and the trifold’s size (also known as “DL”) is convenient for coat pockets or handbags.

You can start the first panel – the one that people will see when the leaflet is closed – with a striking image and simple, clear message per our VW ad – one that invites the reader to open the leaflet.

Inside you can amplify that message with a bit more information.

And then on the back panels you can expand at length on your products and services, include contact details, biographies, maps, terms and conditions, all without damaging the initial effectiveness of your design.

And if you’re canny enough you can do it all using the same design ethos throughout. Have a look at the examples below, which we think use the size and shape to best effect.

Printchain will produce your trifold DL flyers on high quality 160 gsm paper with print bleeding right to the edge for that quality professional look (see our forthcoming guide to printing terminology…) We print everything very, very quickly and do almost all of it in-house, although if you have a very large run we can export this to our external facility while still offering excellent value for money.

We can also assist with your design, or do it for you entirely, something that we recommend if you don’t have a professional designer working for you – but if you do want to give it a go yourself there are hundreds of free templates  out there for you to insert your own words and pictures. Get in touch for a – very reasonable – quotation.

Always remember the mantra: “less is more”, as these beautiful examples demonstrate. We hope they inspire you.

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