Where to Place Critical Marketing Messages on Folded Print Pieces
When you design a print project that will be folded, there's more to consider than folding style, paper choice, layout, color palette, and typeface. Each folding style has a different user experience that isn't driven by the layout, but rather by the instinctive opening order of that given folding style.
For example, compare a gatefold with a roll fold. Here's a gatefold:
If you put a critical marketing message on the inside right panel, as it is in the illustration above, it will probably be the first thing the recipient sees. As long as your design of that page is good, chances are that the recipient will continue to open up the two gate panels to reveal the interior spread.
If you change your folding style to a roll fold but keep the layout scheme the same as the gatefold, this is the result:
People generally roll out a roll fold immediately to look at the interior spread. Since your critical marketing message is on the interior right panel, it may be completely overlooked. And if you put something important on the face of the most interior roll panel, you're really asking for trouble.
Some design elements -- a bright color or image, huge text, etc. -- can affect the recipient's behavior and possibly change the natural opening pattern. But since that's not always a safe bet, here's a tip:
When you design something folded, mock it up, hand it to several people individually, and watch them experience the piece. Don't tell them why you're handing it to them, and don't ask them to find the marketing message. When they hand it back to you, ask them what they took away from the piece. Did they get your marketing message or your call to action? In what order did they view the content? Did they know what the piece was about and what to do with it?
What is intuitive to you may not be intuitive to your audience, and the results may surprise you. If they didn't get the message and get it quickly, you should rethink your layout and content.
Got Cool Folds? Enter the Folded Inspiration Design Competition
The online folding community foldfactory.com is searching the globe in a first-of-its-kind "Folded Inspiration" competition to reward the best uses of folded paper and design for print. Entrants will compete for prizes in eleven categories throughout the competition, and in the end, there will be a juried design competition and a book of the "best of the best" ideas for folded materials.
The global competition runs from October 1, 2010, through May 15, 2011. To enter, download an entry form and follow the instructions. Entry fees are low, with a portion of the proceeds donated to graphic arts education programs and the balance funding the expansion of the foldfactory idea library and services for the graphic arts industry.