Choosing the right size for your flyer or brochure

A printer’s perspective

Flyers and brochures are a proven method for getting relevant and engaging information about your products or services out to your target audience.  Even in this vastly digital age, there’s something comforting about the physical nature of a flyer or brochure that lends credibility and authority to your brand.

Variable print technology means that you can customise and personalise the information on your flyers very cost effectively, so you can get targeted messages out to your audience.  If you have a mailing list, your flyer can even be addressed individually.

Once you know what the purpose of your flyer or brochure is, you’ll need to decide what size it’s going to be so your graphic designer and printer can get on the job.  There are several ways to think about flyer size:

  1. How you’re planning on distributing it
  2. The expected lifespan of the flyer
  3. How much information you need to display
  4. Whether you want to print on both sides

How will you be distributing the flyer?

In general terms, there are three different ways you can get your flyer or brochure out to your target audience:

  1. Letterbox Delivery
  2. Mass-market handout
  3. Personalised handout

Letterbox delivery

Letterbox delivery happens through the postal system or by walker distribution on a street-by-street basis throughout specific geographic locations. This type of distribution can be a ‘shotgun’ approach, where you hit every address in a postcode, or it can be highly targeted through the use of a database or mailing list.

Paper stock should be heavier so it will better survive the freight process. As the actual freight will be a large expense you can justify a larger sheet size since both Australia Post and the distribution companies charge the same whether you are sending a DL flyer in an envelope, or a folded a4.  For Australia Post, your flyer just needs to fit in an envelope, with a DL size envelope naturally being a lot more cost effective than an A4 envelope.

Another option to consider here is using a postcard. If you produce your message onto a heavy 300 or 400gsm and include space for the address, you can send it as a postcard, and dispense with the expense of the envelope.  An additional benefit of the postcard approach is that your message is immediately visible, so you’re not relying on the receiver to open the envelope.

Mass-market handout

A mass-market handout generally means your representative hands out your flyers to passers-by. This might be a high-traffic area at the local shopping centre or right outside your shop. These types of flyers tend to have a very short lifespan, so you should keep the flyer small, and the message clear, simple and targeted. A6 is our recommended size for this method of distribution – it’s efficient to produce because it’s small, but big enough to carry a simple message.

Since the expected lifespan of the flyer is so short, you don’t need to invest in high grade stock – very light paper stock is ideal, 100gsm for single sided, or 150gsm for double sided.

Personalised handout

A personalised handout is the type of brochure that your sales rep can hand directly to customers during a meeting or while in your showroom. The target of this flyer is usually prequalified in some way – that is, they have already expressed an interest in what you are offering, so it’s a good idea for this type of brochure to contain lots of relevant information.

An a4 folded to DL brochure is an excellent choice for this type of handout. Because it has two folds, it is effectively a 6-page document so it can hold information in different sections, without the added expense of multiple pages and binding that is required for a booklet.

If A folded to DL doesn’t suit your requirements and you do need to do a booklet, try to stay with portrait binding, as landscape bound booklets can be more expensive due to the large sheet size when lying flat.  We recommend a stock weight no heavier than 150gsm.

While it’s obviously higher quality, paper stock heavier than 150gsm will need to be scored so that the ink doesn’t crack along the fold (although there may still be some show through especially if your artwork has a lot of white space). This is an additional cost in the production process and will also increase the time needed to deliver your finished brochure.

How long does the flyer need to survive?

The expected lifespan of your flyer is an important consideration when it comes to size.  For example if you have a one-day sale at your retail store, you might want to spread the word at the shopping centre entrance on the day of the sale – so naturally only need your flyer to survive for a day.

On the other hand, a calendar with a magnet on the back would need to be able to sit on a fridge for a year or more.  Depending on your requirements, the lifespan of your flyer or brochure will be either short, medium or long term

Short Term – up to a week.

Most of these flyers will end up in the bin, so it makes sense to minimize your production cost by using a light paper weight and a small sheet size. We recommend 100gsm for single sided, or 150gsm for double sided.  A6, DL or A5 are the best sizes.

Medium Term – up to six months

A flyer that needs to last up to 6 months is something that you expect will spend its life stuck to a fridge or noticeboard, or folded up in a purse or a wallet.  It is likely to be a time-bound special offer, or information about an occasional service, such as lawn mowing or a takeaway menu.  We recommend you invest is a better grade of stock – 200gsm for single sided, 250gsm for double sided. DL, A5, or A4 are the best sizes.

Long Term – 12 months or more

If you expect your flyer to last 12 months or more then it’s something you want your customer to keep and value.  It’s a constant reminder of your brand and the content needs to be relevant.  Examples of long term flyers are a calendar with a magnet on the back, information about local services or communication about high value product. We recommend you invest in good quality stock so your important message will last the distance.  400gsm is a good, heavy, but not overly expensive stock.

You should consider celloglazing or laminating the flyer – it’s an extra expense, but it will extend the lifespan and increase the bulk of the flyer. Sheet size depends on the length of the message you want to get across and purpose of the product. DL is ideal for a magnetized flyer on a fridge, and a4 is good option if you want your information to be filed with household paperwork for future reference.

What do you want to say?

The message that you want to get across to your audience is a key factor in determining the right size for your flyer.  If you’re advertising lawn-mowing services for example, you might want to feature reliability and service delivery options.  Usually this would be a short message that doesn’t require much space, so a DL size would be perfect.

If on the other hand you want a brochure that features all of the products you sell, a larger size such as A4 would be more appropriate so the information has room to spread out and not look cramped or difficult to read.

Double-sided or single-sided printing?

The biggest cost in the printing process is the ink. Increasing the paper quality – for example from a 150 gsm to a 200 gsm paper stock will add perhaps 5% to the cost.   But if you print double sided rather than single, it will add around 30% to the cost.  The same applies to increasing the paper size – increasing from A5 to A4 will increase the cost by around 30%.

So it’s important to think carefully about whether you need ink on both sides. If your message can fit on one side of the flyer, we recommend you do a single sided print run so you can keep the costs as low as possible.

Still not sure?

When it comes to flyer size and paper stock there’s a lot to think about and if you need some advice or tips we’re always happy to help.  Just contact Posterboy Printing or Evoke Visual Creations for a chat about your flyer and we’ll let you know what we think is best for your requirements.

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