How to make a tri-fold brochure in indesign

Written by leonor crossley
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How to make a tri-fold brochure in indesign
Tri-fold brochures are a common marketing tool. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

InDesign is a desktop-publishing program that allows graphic designers to create not just tri-fold brochures, but also posters, business cards and other print and Web projects. Many designers use InDesign in conjunction with image-editing software, giving the end product the potential to be creative and professional.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Blank letter-size sheet of paper

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  1. 1

    Gather the information that needs to be in the brochure. Include photos, the company's name, address, phone numbers, website and e-mail addresses, as well as testimonials and a small biography on the company or each staff member.

  2. 2

    Fold a blank piece of letter-size paper in three. Use this mockup to map out which panel of the brochure each piece of information needs to be placed on. When you unfold the paper, you'll see that the front panel of the brochure must be on the far right panel of the first page in order to be in the correct place when folded. The back panel of the brochure is the middle panel of the first page. The left-hand panel of the first page is the second panel seen when the front flap is opened. The other side of the paper represents what the brochure looks like when fully opened; the panels are already in the proper order on this side.

  3. 3

    Open InDesign. Create a blank 8 1/2-by-11-inch horizontal document by going to the File menu, then selecting "New" and "Document," or by pressing "Ctrl-N" on your keyboard. Change the number of pages to two, the page size to Letter, the orientation to Landscape and the margins to 1/4 inch each. Set the number of columns to 3 and the gutter to 1/2 inch. Click "OK."

  4. 4

    Drag a guide line out from the side ruler on the first page and place a guide 3 2/3 inches from the left edge of the page. The guide will fall directly in the middle of the gutter between the first and second column. Drag another guide line out and place it 3 2/3 inches from the right edge of the page so that it falls directly in the middle of the gutter between the second and third columns. These guide lines represent where the brochure will be folded. Repeat for the second page.

  5. 5

    Design your brochure in the area inside the page and column margins. You can have a line or photo going across one of the folds as long as it does not look awkward or is not hard to read. Place all the photos and text in the proper panels, using the plan you outlined in Step 2.

  6. 6

    Use the Type tool to make text boxes. Use the Rectangle tool to draw a box, and hold down "Ctrl-D" to place a picture in the box.

Tips and warnings

  • Tri-fold brochures can be designed from any size paper. Setting the number of columns to 3 when creating the document makes sure your panels are of equal size. The gutter between the columns should be double that of one side of the page margin.
  • Put the company's name, address and contact information on both the front and back panels so a reader can easily find it. Remember, the brochure's purpose is to inform people about the advantages or positive aspects of the company or organisation.
  • Keep your text and photos within the 1/4-inch page margins unless you plan to do a bleed off the page. Nothing looks as unprofessional as a brochure that is cut off too close to text.

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