I’ve had a wave of calls recently asking me about brochures and their lesser-known cousin, the rack card. As a graphic designer in Orange County California, I do all kinds of brochures and I’ve started doing a lot of rack cards. Because I’ve been asked about them so much, I wanted to discuss the differences between the two.

Let’s start with a brochure. Most of us think of a brochure as an 8.5 inch x 11 inch sheet of paper folded in thirds with information on each of the six panels. This is called a Tri-fold brochure and it is only one type of brochure.  While brochures can be a piece of paper folded in different ways like a Tri-Fold Brochure or a Gate Fold Brochure. They can also refer to small booklets too. Brochures are tried and true. We’re all familiar with the format and they do a good job of segmenting out the information and helping to promote a business, event or whatever content they hold.

They can hold a lot of information in the form of text and pictures. You can actually use them as a addendum for your website.  They do a really nice job of talking about individual services or products as a mini catalog in a smaller, lighter weight format than a traditional catalog. They also are great for frequently asked questions or going in-depth on a new or featured product or service

Before websites were around and certainly before they were popular, brochures did the job websites do now. They told a prospective customer about a business or event and gave them all of the reasons they would need to make the phone call and hire the business or attend the event

Around this same time, Rack cards were doing the support work. They were placed in high traffic areas and gave just enough information to peak curiosity. After websites became popular, website replaced brochures, brochures replaced these 4 inch x 9 inch informational gems

When I first started my business, I was told (as I’m sure many other business owners were told as well) that I needed a website and I needed a brochure. That was it.  The website told the customer everything they needed to know about my business and the brochure was a great leave behind for a face-to-face meeting. If they were interested in me after the meeting, they’d read the brochure and then go to the website. That’s what I’ve seen from businesses for the last almost seven years–Websites, brochures, and business cards with the odd postcard or flyer thrown in for extra oomph.

Well, everything old is new again and people are starting to circle back around to rack cards. They are less expensive to create than a brochure and are great at doing support work for a business’ other marketing materials.

So, what is a rack card exactly? They’re skinny 4 inches x 9 inches cards with information about a particular business or event on them. As someone on the phone said to me in trying to explain what they were looking to have me create for them  “The thing I want, it’s kind of like a brochure and a flyer had a baby. It’s flat like a flyer, but skinny like a brochure”.  This happens to be exactly what a rack card looks like; a skinny two-sided flyer.

I love them because they are so good at doing support work and are a great middle ground between an information heavy brochure and an image centric flyer. They are also very versatile. You can put information on one side and photos on the other, photos and information on both sides, or just photos or text. Another great thing about rack cards is that they are slim so they can be easily stored in a bag or folder and handed out at meetings, left on tables at networking events or just put out in information racks (hence the name by the way) or on a table. If you are looking for an easy way to support your brochure and website or need to hand something out at an event consider a rack card.

If you need help designing a great brochure or rack card that will fit in with your new or existing branding, contact me today!

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