hand holding colorful flyer in front of colorful display

The complete guide to brochure and flyer sizes

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Think you know everything there is to know about flyers? Seems like there’s not too much to understand—they’re the papers stapled up around your neighborhood with little tear-off phone number strips, right? And a brochure is basically a flyer that’s folded up—pretty self-explanatory. Not quite.

So, what’s the difference between a flyer and a brochure? Their main difference is the fold, but that crease is just the beginning of their differences. They are used for totally different things. A brochure can accomplish a lot of things that a flyer simply can’t, and certain jobs are best suited for a flyer and a flyer alone. As for the sizing, there are lots of standard brochure dimensions, but there are only a couple of standard flyer sizes.

Whether you need a flyer, a brochure or both depends on your marketing goals—and that’s not where your print choices end. Your marketing goals and needs also drive what size flyer or brochure you need and what they need to be made of.

Why would I need a flyer?

Flyers are quick. When you have little bursts of information you need to get out there, a flyer’s the way to do it. Use a flyer when you need to:

  • Get the word out about a sale
  • Let everybody know you’re open for business
  • Get the conversation between you and your customers started with a fact sheet about your product
  • Advertise who you are, what you do and what you’re promoting right now
  • Announce an upcoming event
  • Get coupons into your customers’ hands
classic yet modern standard size flyer

A classic yet modern standard-size flyer. Source: by YaseenArt via 99designs by Vista.

Flyers are low-tech, so they’re perfect for situations where low-tech is just fine or even preferable, like advertising a yard sale or inviting the whole town to your cafe’s grand opening. We’ve got the perfect guide to help you create a flyer for your business.

Standard flyer sizes

A standard flyer is usually the size of a piece of computer paper. That’s 8.5” x 11” in the US, or the very similar A4 (8.3” x 11.7”) in many other countries. But smaller formats are also popular when it comes to flyers. The most common flyer sizes include:

  • Letter size: 8.5” x 11” or A4: 8.3” x 11.7”
  • A5: 8.3” x 5.8”
  • A6: 5.8” x 4.1”
  • DL (dimension lengthwise): 8.3” x 3.9” or one third of A4
graphic comparing standard flyer sizes

Which size you should pick for your flyer design depends largely on the content of your flyer, as well as where and how you want to distribute it. If you’re planning to tape your flyers to walls or want to convey lots of information, you should go for a larger size, such as letter size or A4. If you’re planning to mail out your flyers, you need to pick a size that fits into a standard envelope, such as A6 or DL. At Vistaprint, we offer a diverse array of flyer templates designed to assist you in various situations and purposes.

The cost per flyer with the printer of your choice will also affect what flyer size you choose, as larger and non-standard sizes will likely be more expensive.

Best flyer materials

Since they’re meant to have short lives, they’re usually printed on lower-quality, inexpensive paper. That doesn’t mean you can’t print up flyers on higher quality paper or that there’s never a reason to—some flyers are meant to last a long time, like a list of customer service procedures to be posted in a call center. A flyer designed for this job needs to be on durable paper.

Red, black and white double-sided flyer for a safety vest company

Flyers are at the top of the funnel. Grab people’s attention, and let them decide if they want to keep talking to you. Source: Flyer design by Adwindesign via 99designs by Vista.

Want to learn more about flyer design? Check out this article on how to design a flyer and let yourself be inspired by our list of flyer design ideas crafted to set you apart.

When do I need a brochure?

We’ve curated a comprehensive resource covering everything you need to know about brochures. In essence, when you have more information to convey than can fit on a flyer, a brochure becomes the ideal solution. That’s the main difference between a flyer and a brochure. But that’s not the only difference between them. There’s another equally straightforward difference between a flyer and a brochure to keep in mind: a brochure has folds, and a flyer doesn’t. Sure, you can fold a flyer, but if the fold is part of its design, it’s not a flyer…it’s a brochure.

Gate-fold brochure for a real estate brand

Different folds create different feels, like this gate fold that mimics opening a door. Source: Brochure design by YaseenArt via 99designs by Vista.

The fold is key. There are many different ways to fold a brochure, and the best fold choice depends on the brochure’s size and design. Commonly used brochure fold types include:

  • Trifold
  • Half-fold
  • Gate fold
  • Double gate fold
  • Parallel fold
  • Z-fold
  • Accordion fold
  • Roll fold
  • and more…

Standard brochure sizes

How big is a standard brochure? There are lots of standard brochure sizes. The most common sizes for brochures (before folding or when opened) include:

  • Letter size: 8.5” x 11” (or 21.59 x 27.94 cm)
  • DIN A4: 8.3” x 11.7” (or 21.0 x 29.7 cm)
  • Legal size: 8.5” x 14”
  • Memo size: 5.5” x 8.5”
  • Tabloid size: 11” x 17”
  • 9” x 12”
  • 11” x 25.5”

The most common styles of brochures are letter-size paper with a half-fold and tri-fold. Each side of a tri-fold brochure is printed on standard letter size 8.5” x 11” paper, and after folding the paper three times, the brochure will measure 8.5” x 3.69”. If you print a half-fold brochure on the same standard letter size 8.5” x 11” paper, each side will measure 8.5″ x 5.5″ after folding.

Feel free to explore Vistaprint brochure templates to experiment with various sizes and check out our guide to help you create a brochure that stands out.

When to pick a brochure over a flyer

So, when would you wanna print up a brochure instead of a flyer? Basically, any time you have more information to give out than you can fit on a flyer. This could be when you:

  • Follow up connections you’ve already made
  • Want to educate an engaged audience about a product or promotion
  • Need to have reference materials on hand
Tan brochure with images that look like notebook pages full of info on raising puppies

A brochure delivers way more information than a flyer can. Source: Brochure design by Luz Viera via 99designs by Vista.

A brochure and a flyer can be two points in the same funnel. After piquing interest in your product—say at a trade show you are handing out flyers with a list of everything that makes your product amazing—you’d use a brochure to give to people who want more details. With the additional information they get from the brochure, they’ll either buy the product, book the consultation or do the thing you want them to do.

Learn how to design a brochure in this step-by-step guide.

What about pamphlets? And booklets?

Flyers and brochures are just two of the many, many printed formats out there. While a flyer is universally defined, what constitutes a brochure versus a pamphlet or a booklet isn’t as generally recognized.

A pamphlet and a brochure are the same thing. Some define a pamphlet as a short brochure, but it’s just as common for the terms to be used interchangeably.

Mockups for a dark blue booklet

Booklets and magazines are another print avenue to explore. Source: Booklet design by duwi.sleman via 99designs by Vista.

A booklet is just a little book. And just like a big book, a booklet is bound, rather than folded. Typically, they have higher quality paper than brochures and more durable binding. Generally, important, evergreen information is reserved for booklets and the higher printing cost they command.

Design for the size you need

From the beginning, you should think about how you’re going to distribute your flyers or brochures because this will factor into your budget. If you plan on sending them out in letter size or big manila envelopes, you have your answer to “what size should my flyer/brochure be?” You also know you’ll have to budget for the envelopes.

Source: Brochure design by designer Amrita via 99designs by Vista

Ask yourself if you’ll be:

  • Handing the flyers or brochures out at events
  • Slipping them under doors
  • Stapling them to community bulletin boards or telephone poles
  • Taping them onto a wall
  • Mailing them out
  • Including them in larger packets
  • Sticking them under parked cars’ windshield wipers

It’s hard to know whether a design works if you don’t see what the finished product will look like. That’s why you need mockups. Ideally, you’ll be able to look at fully fleshed-out mockups that show your design in action but if this isn’t the case, even a simple mockup showing how it’ll fit onto the paper can work. Read more about mocking up your designs with this guide.

Looking at your mockup can show you where you need to tweak your design. A font that’s legible on a large flyer might be difficult to read on a small pamphlet. A color palette that’s fine at a short distance might have too low a contrast to be seen from further away, making it a poor choice for a flyer that’s going on a bulletin board. Your message also determines the right design choices for your flyer or brochure; a flyer for a going-out-of-business sale needs brighter, more urgent colors than an investment brochure.

geometric and modern brochure design in bright yellow

A bright and modern brochure design. Source: by DSKY via 99designs by Vista.

I think I need something…non-standard

No problem! Just because flyers and brochures have standard sizes doesn’t mean yours has to be standard-sized.

Maybe you need a tall and narrow brochure because you’ll be giving it out as a bookmark to put between the pages of your latest novel or a flyer that’s dainty enough to be tied up like a little scroll in a teacup. Or maybe it’s not a non-standard size that you need, but a material that’s a little different from your typical paper options (like a water-resistant brochure that people can use it on a whale-watching adventure to identify underwater species or a flyer that glows under black light for advertising drink specials on rave night at your club.)

You’re going to pay a bit more to get what you’re after, but investing in the perfect print product for your brand will pay off. Sometimes, simple is best—like if you’re just stapling some garage sale flyers around town and plan on ripping them back down 72 hours later. But when you’re designing something that’s going to have a bigger impact or a longer life, the size and material are just as crucial to your brand identity as the design elements like your font and color palette.

Tall white postcard with blue images and text

If traditional sizes feel like they’re boxing your project in, bust out and go with something that fits your brand. Source: Flyer design by Litlast via 99designs by Vista.

When you decide you need something that’s out-of-the-box, you need to budget for everything that comes with deviating from the norm like custom-made envelopes that fit your bigger-than-average or oddly shaped flyer.

You also need to make sure you work with a designer who has experience creating unique designs, because the size and shape of your finished product need to be considered from the very first sketch. Trying to scale or reformat a design made for a standard-size page or brochure can leave you with an end product that feels wonky or doesn’t achieve the effect you’re after.

Remember, flyer size matters!

When you’re creating a flyer or brochure (or any printed item for that matter), always think about the end product’s actual size and shape through every stage of the design process. A design that works for a letter-size brochure probably isn’t gonna work for a tabloid-size brochure, nor is a design that looks amazing as a tri-fold gonna work as an accordion fold.

Before you start the design process, determine what you’ll be making, its size and how it’ll be folded. And before you determine those, work out where the item’s going to fit in your funnel because that will help you decide on the size, material and shape that’ll do the best job showcasing your design.

Author: Lindsay Kramer