Promotional Literature Printing: Flyers, Pamphlets & Brochures

An Assortment of Promotional Literature

Promotional literature refers to print materials that are designed to promote an organization and/or its products and services. Promotional literature can be created as a stand-alone piece, or as a supplement to a meeting, presentation or event.

Most businesses use some form of printed promotional literature to reach potential customers. Many non-commercial organizations also use promotional literature to build awareness among the general public.

As a commercial printer for over 25 years, I wanted to provide an overview of three popular categories of promotional literature - Flyers, Pamphlets, and Brochures. These three are somewhat related, but as you will see there are some important differences.

Promotional Flyers

A flyer is one of the most basic and economical promotional pieces. It is usually produced as a single, unfolded printed sheet that draws attention to a specific product, service, or event. A flyer usually contains a very simple message that can be conveyed quickly. As such, a flyer typically makes effective use of graphics with minimal text.

Flyers are generally printed in the common 8.5" x 11" paper size to keep the cost as low as possible, though flyers can be created in any size that is easy to handle. Also, the printing is most commonly on one side of the paper, though there is no law that says flyers can't be printed on both sides.

Flyers are commonly distributed by hand, such as at a trade show or other popular venue. They are also commonly distributed door-to-door, such as part of a neighborhood canvassing campaign. Flyers can also be sent out by mail, either enclosed in an envelope or folded and tabbed as a self-mailing piece (aka a "mailer").

A flyer usually has a relatively short lifespan, such as being used to announce a new product or service, or a one-time event like a grand opening or special promotion. Because a flyer has a limited life, the paper used is often light weight. Flyers can be printed using any ink or paper color, however to be fully effective, full-color printing is generally the recommended choice. Full-color provides a more professional appearance and helps the flyer grab and maintain attention.


A pamphlet is a small, unbound booklet. It has a very simple design and a size that is easy to hold. Often, pamphlets are made from a single sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper folded in half to 5.5" x 8.5".

Despite being small, pamphlets usually contain a fair amount of text. This is because most pamphlets are created to be informative and/or persuasive in nature, such as providing the background and mission of an organization, introducing and explaining products and services, or announcing an upcoming event.

Pamphlets usually have very basic design elements, including paper that is light to medium in weight. As such, pamphlets are relatively economical to produce. Also, the compact size of a pamphlet allows it to be easily distributed by hand or through the mail. Pamphlets are also well-suited for display in a literature rack, such as in a POS location, showroom, lobby, or waiting area.

Pamphlets sort of bridge the gap between flyers and brochures. They have simple features like a flyer, yet make use of multiple pages like a brochure.


A brochure is the flagship of promotional literature. Unlike simpler flyers and pamphlets, brochures are created with design elements that project an image of high-quality and professionalism. A brochure must be of top quality since its job is to help promote a company or organization by showcasing its products, services and other offerings. Brochures are designed to make a positive and lasting impression.

A brochure contains multiple panels or pages of information. These panels or pages may be created by various folds, or from multiple sheets bound together in booklet form. Whether folded or bound, brochures can be created in a variety of standard and custom sizes.

Also, a brochure is generally constructed from heavier weight paper. This is done not just to enhance the perception of quality but also because a brochure should be more durable, since it will be kept around for a while and referred to. Also, every quality brochure is printed in full color and has some type of sheen from a laminate, UV or Aqueous coating.

In addition, many brochures use special creative features to enhance the image of quality and trust further. For example, a brochure's cover and pages may be die-cut to a unique shape, or contain embossed, foil-stamped, or spot-coated areas for emphasis.

As far as actual content, brochures are very well written and contain informative and persuasive text. They commonly include a thorough summary of features and benefits and focus on the reader's needs. Also, the images used are generally "beauty shots" that cast the organization and its offerings in the best possible light.

Needless to say, brochures are among the most important pieces of promotional literature an organization can produce. However, brochures are generally not distributed as freely as flyers or pamphlets. Salespeople usually distribute brochures only after a potential customer shows some initial interest. This is because more money is typically invested in a brochure than in a flyer or pamphlet.

Formax Printing Solutions specializes in full-color literature printing. Whether you need a simple pamphlet or a premier brochure, give us a call. We look forward to assisting with your next promotional project!

Take care! Rick

About the Author

Rick Stallings is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Rick is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221 or by submitting our easy quote request form. Rick and the Formax team have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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