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One of the more common types of projects you might work on is a three-panel brochure. I'm going to create one here in Illustrator. I need two artboards, one for the outside, one for the inside. I think in inches, so I'm going to change my units to inches, and I'm going to put 1 inch between my artboards so I have plenty of room. I want to make sure that I have bleed, and I need to make sure that my document is the right size. Now this is going to be a 4 x 9 rack brochure. The width of it's going to be roughly 3 times 4, but remember that third panel has to be short so that it can fold in.
So I'm going to make it 11.875, that's 11 and 7/8, so my third panel is going to be an eighth of an inch shorter. And then the height is going to be 9 inches. Two artboards an inch apart, 11 7/8 wide, 9 inches tall, 0.125 inch bleed, I'm ready to go. So there are my two artboards; the red guideline is the bleed of course. Now I need to know where my panels are, and I need to know what's the inside and what's the outside. I like to put little labels. I get my Type tool, and on the left, it's going to be my outside panel. I'm going to make that big enough so I can see it, and then I'm going to duplicate this little, which is going to be my inside.
But I still don't know where the panels fall, so I need some guidelines. So I'm going to wake up my rulers by going to View > Rulers > Show Rulers, and I'm going to start dragging in some guidelines. I recommend that you take a piece of paper, fold it up, and use that as a guide for what's outside, what's inside, and where your short fold panel is. But I will tell you, on the outside, the right side is going to be my back cover and this is going to be my fold in panel. So I'm going to start by dragging a guideline to the right edge of my artboard.
Now if you want to make sure that you know where something is, wake up your Transform panel so that it can give you coordinates. Yep, my little guide is at 11.875. So I need another guide 4 inches to the left and another one, 4 inches to the left of that. So I'm going to copy this guideline, I'm going to paste it in front, not just plain old paste, but Paste in Front; that puts it at the same coordinates. And then it's there, it's kind of hard to tell, but trust me it's there. Then in my Transform panel, I'm going to change the position of the guide by subtracting 4 inches.
I place my cursor after the "in" in inch, type -4, hit Enter, and there's my new guide. I'm going to copy that to the clipboard; this time with a shortcut, Command+C or Ctrl+C, I'm going to paste it in position with Command+F or Ctrl+F for Front, and then I'm going to subtract 4 inches from that position. So now I have my guidelines for the outside. Not a bad idea to double check. I'm going to take my Rectangle tool and I'm going to create a rectangle on that short fold panel, and it better be 3 and 7/8, and it is, so we're good.
Now I'm going to place my guides on my other artboard. This time I'm going to start from the left. So I want to make sure that it snaps to the edge. It might not be a bad idea to zoom in. Yep, it's right on the edge, we're good. So I'm going to copy that, I'm going to Paste in Front, and I'm going to add 4 inches by clicking after inch, +4, and there we go! I'm going to copy that. Again Command+ C or Ctrl+C, Paste, Command+F or Ctrl+F, and I'm going to add 4 inches to that.
So now I have my guidelines, it might not be a bad idea to double check. Remember, on the inside, it's going be the rightmost panel; that's your short panel, and that's 3.8796, which means there's something a little out of whack. I'm going to pin down the right side, I'm going to type my 3.875 in there, and I'm going to have to move my guideline to touch that. So I'm going to give my shape a little edge so I can see where it is, and you can see when it snaps, there we go! I might need to change this one, so I'm going to copy this guy, paste him in front, and give him a -4 inches.
You may find that it's a little hard to get things exactly to the edge. Remember, you can always use a transform to check. Now I have my guidelines in place, but I need to know something else. I'm going to into my Layers panel and I'm going to lock this layer and I'm going to create a new layer. I'm going to close my Transform panel and get it out of the way. In this layer, I'm going to create margins, so I'm going to just name it margins so I know what's going on. Because I want to create what's called a live area, I want to make sure that artwork isn't too close to the folder or too close to the trim. I'm going to start by creating a rectangle that goes edge to edge, top to bottom, and then stops at the guide, and then I'm going to bring back my Transform panel.
I'm going to pin down the center and what I want to make sure happens is that I have a quarter of an inch on each side, top and bottom, left and right. So I pin down the center and I'm going to subtract a half an inch, quarter on the left, quarter on the right. So -0.5 and we'll see that width of that change. I'm going to do the same thing to the height, -0.5, and there we go! Now right now, it's a real rectangle, but in a little bit, I'm going to turn it into a guide. So I'm going to do the same thing here in my center panel, line it up to the guides and the edge of the page, pin down the center, minus a half, minus a half.
Isn't that great that Illustrator does the math for you? And then one last one over here on the right, and again -0.5, because it's quarter on each side, and then -0.5. This is a cool thing that you can do in Illustrator. I can select all three of those rectangles and I can turn them into guides. I go to View > Guides > Make Guides and now you can see they're not rectangles anymore, they're guides. It's a good idea once you have everything in place to lock your guides. I'm not going to make my little margin guides for the inside; you know how to do that now.
But I'm just going to go to View > Guides > Lock Guides, and now I'm ready to go. So now we'll create another layer to hold my artwork. I like to have two layers, one for my artwork and one for my text. It's entirely up to you how you want to organize things. So I'm going to make two more layers. This is going to be my text layer and then this last one is going to be my graphics layer. Now that's a lot of work to get set up. So do this once and if you create three- panel folders all the time, get this ready to go and then save it either as an Illustrator file or as a template.
If you save it as a template, you can use it as a fresh start each time you build one of these brochures.
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