How to fold a trifold brochure that has a front, a back... and a front
December 18, 2013 9:38 AM   Subscribe

We have to print out and fold up hundreds of this pdf brochure (spoilers: BEDBUGS!). Usually a trifold brochure is a no-brainer -- print two-sided, fold in thirds (either accordion or in on itself). This is very much a brainer. Help.

So this pdf is laid out in such a way that, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how this brochure should be printed/assembled so that

a) the front cover is the front cover
b) the back cover is the back cover
c) it goes in the right order.

First of all, it's three pages. Trifold brochures are generally two pages (front/back). Second, the "front" is usually in the far right column of the top page, so it can fold over and then open to pp. 2-x. Whoever created this (go city of Chicago government!) is clearly mocking us.

Can anyone figure this out? Engineering degrees or a specialization in origami would be helpful.
posted by A neighbourhood park all covered with cheese to Work & Money (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I am fairly confident this was designed by someone who gave precisely 0 thought to IRL assembly of the brochure.

If I were you I'd cut and paste the individual thirds into another file and lay them out in whatever way will allow you to assemble them with the least amount of hassle.
posted by phunniemee at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It won't fold "right" so just fold it "wrong." Which is to say a Z fold with the front cover out, but with a right hand crease so that the reader would unfurl the brochure to read it flat, rather than flipping it open.

Or, as phunnimee says, you could fix it so that it works correctly.

This is not a design choice; it's just lazy or ignorant work. You can either fix someone else's mistake, or throw them under the bus if anyone points out the error.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Admiral Haddock: a Z fold with the front cover out, but with a right hand crease so that the reader would unfurl the brochure to read it flat, rather than flipping it open.

That makes sense for the first two pages front and back. What about the third page?
posted by A neighbourhood park all covered with cheese at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2013


Doesn't it accordion twice? I'm thinking print on 11 x 25.5 paper, accordion once with the first page out (at this point it's now 8.5 x 11), then tri-fold again so the front panel is out. You'd still have to unfold the whole thing to read it (like a map), but it's pamphlet sized to hand out or mail.
posted by cecic at 9:51 AM on December 18, 2013


Oh, I'm so sorry--I should have been more clear in the question--we're doing this on standard printer paper -- 8.5x11.

I suppose we could go up to 11x17, if it would help, but we don't have 11x25.5.
posted by A neighbourhood park all covered with cheese at 10:06 AM on December 18, 2013


I think you'd just do the Z fold of both sheets and staple the top left corner of the cover.

The folding in this case is just to minimize the size, rather than make for ease of reading. Each three-pane side would have to be read flat.

It's not a great layout.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2013


How infuriating. I just made a trifold for work and my mind is officially boggled.

If you can't print it all one one long sheet, there's really no good way to do this. If you could fold it as a Z fold with all of the info on one side and the other blank, it would be wasteful but possible. As it is... hell, I don't know. Unless the front and back covers are on the same page, it is impossible to fold it in such a way that the front is the front and the back is the back. There's simply no way unless you tape three single-sized pages together before folding.

Is there any way that this is the web version and there's also a print version, and they sent the wrong one by mistake?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:12 AM on December 18, 2013


showbiz_liz: Is there any way that this is the web version and there's also a print version, and they sent the wrong one by mistake?

They didn't send anything. We were directed to the website I linked to, in order to download the brochure.
posted by A neighbourhood park all covered with cheese at 10:14 AM on December 18, 2013


Ok, if you print the first two pages as one-sided and the third page as a separate sheet, and then fold them both like normal trifold brochures, you can flip the first one over and tuck the second one into it such that the back is on the back and the front is on the front. I just tried it. It's impossible to read without totally unfolding the entire thing, though. This is in no way ideal, but it TECHNICALLY works.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:16 AM on December 18, 2013


Argh. I meant, if you print the first two pages on one sheet, double-sided. Sorry.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:23 AM on December 18, 2013


They have a 6pg brochure (i.e. 2 trifold pages) here.

EDIT: Ok, it's 8 pages, not 6. But this could at least be made into a booklet.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:11 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there a reason why you can't talk to the client and ask them what they want? They may not realize that they are causing you this confusion.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:29 PM on December 18, 2013


That's a 9-panel brochure, spread across three sheets. It doesn't work.

I'm not seeing any way to get it printed without having a large blank side of a page, at least not without resorting to 1. A custom sized piece, which will cost much more, and 2. Re-arranging the panels to fit both sides of the custom size.

Showbiz_liz has the most viable solution...to print the first and third pages front/back on a standard 8.5x11 sheet, then printing the second page separately and inserting it. It's an ugly solution, though, since that second page print will be blank on the back, and it completely screws-up the flow.

Whoever designed this needs to go back to school.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:35 PM on December 18, 2013


You don't say what the exact context is of this printing job, but is there any way you can take the content from this ridiculous PDF and re-lay it out yourself? The text is not converted to outlines so you should be able to copy and paste into a basic tri-fold template in InDesign or even Publisher. There is enough unused space on the final page that I think you could easily fit all that content onto two letter pages. The time it takes to re-lay it out would probably be worth the time saved figuring out this mess, not to mention the paper you're saving.
posted by radioamy at 2:01 PM on December 18, 2013


You could merge the last page and the back page into one (lose the image). Then you have 8 pages and more options. You could shrink everything a little (4.5%), print four pages per sheet on legal size, trim the excess on top and bottom and then Z-fold. Your printer may be able to print this on a larger than legal sheet (since you are trimming anyways) and then cut it to some dimension larger than 14" wide.

Alternately, you could print on two sheets and staple into a booklet.
posted by ssg at 11:43 AM on December 19, 2013


I yearn to know how this was eventually resolved!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:54 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


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