Join Trish Witkowski for an in-depth discussion in this video Folding and the user experience, part of Print Production: Folding.
- When you're designing a folded brochure or mail piece, there is more to to think about than the folding style, the paper choice, your layout, color palette and fonts. What most people don't realize is that each folding style has a different user experience that is generally not driven by the layout. Instead, it's driven by human behavior and the instinctive opening order of the folded sheet. What I mean by this is that there are predictable behaviors when it comes to opening a folded brochure. Often, designers think they can drive someone to read something or experience something a certain way because it's the way they want them to read or see it.
Or because that's the way that they like the layout, but behavior trumps intention. A great example would be to compare a gatefold with a roll fold. Starting with the gatefold, if you put a critical marketing message on the inside right panel, the message will likely be viewed if it's well designed, and the recipient will continue to open up the two gate panels to get to the final message on the interior spread.
Alternately, if you were to change your folding style to a roll fold like this, keeping the layout scheme the same with critical marketing message on the interior right panel, the message will probably be completely overlooked. Why? The reason is that general behavior with a roll fold is to roll it out immediately to look at the interior spread. If this is true, your critical marketing message has just landed on the back of the brochure, and if you put something important on the face of the most interior roll panel, you're really asking for trouble.
Now, obviously there are some factors that can affect the behavior of the recipient, and possibly change the natural pattern of behavior. Such as a very bright color or image, huge text, or other blatant distraction techniques, but it's not always a safe bet. So here's a great tip. Whenever you design something folded, mock it up and hand it out to several people individually, 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's 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. Better to go back to to the drawing board than to create a piece that doesn't achieve its goal. It's a hard lesson but an important one.
- Understanding folding families and folding lingo
- Choosing the right folding style for your project
- The importance of paper selection and scoring
- Inspired real-world ideas for events, mail, marketing, and more
- How folding happens and how to get the best results
- Placing fold marks and fold guides and building templates
- Folding tips and strategies to suit any budget