Presentation Folders: Five Secrets to Creating Great Looking Folders that Get Opened

Presentation folders can be your best - or worst - marketing spend. Presentation folders that look great and get opened cannot be beat for creating a lasting impression and getting your message across. But unfortunately many presentation folders get tossed. Why? Because the folders look unprofessional, feel "cheap" in the hands or have no message that compels people to open them.


Can you do better? Yes. You simply need to know a few secrets; some easy-to-use tricks of the trade.


For starters, think of your presentation folders much like a direct mail piece or marketing e-mail. The mission with those marketing tools is simple: get the recipient to open up your message. Presentation folders take this a step further by being not only a carrier of information but a place to keep that information long-term.


Here are five professionally proven secrets to keeping your presentation folders - and your message - out of the trash and in front of your audience.


Secret #1: Use Lots of Color – Including White

Presentation folders with colored backgrounds are very popular. They don't typically cost too much more and they can attract attention. Go for color if that's what you like, but don't forget about white. First secret? Full color backgrounds should be coated to prevent scuffing and to ensure colors don't fade. Whatever you choose for a background, make the color work for you. How? Design pros call it "negative space." Here are some tips for using color to your advantage:

  • Leave lots of colored space around your logo
  • Make your logo stand out and not look cluttered
  • Use more colored space between lines of text
  • Use color space that enhances your text and doesn’t compete
  • Use color and graphics that create a brand presence

Secret #2: Take the "Droop" Test

Hold a folder in your hand. Does it droop like an overdone noodle? That's not the paper (stock) you want. Cheap folders make great trash can liners. Tell your printer you want 12pt coated stock. 12pt is the weight of the paper. 10pt is thinner and cheaper. Avoid it. The term "coated" means that the folder stock is slightly glossy. Gloss is good. Glossy makes colors look richer.

How do you know what your printer will use? Be sure to get a sample of the stock before you order. If it doesn't droop and it's a bit glossy, it's the right stock for you.


Secret #3: Avoid Goofy Styles and Sizes

Much like direct mail, presentation folders seem to come in a new sizes, shapes and styles every day. With the right design, you can avoid odd sizes and gimmicky shapes and get your message across. You'll also keep your costs down. Here are standard presentation folder elements:

  • Folded size is 9" x 12"
  • The fold is right down the middle
  • Two pockets on the inside
  • Business card slits on at least one pocket
  • Both pockets are printed - quality space to convey more of your message

If you only need one pocket, you can utilize the space on the other side to put more information about your company or product line.


Secret #4: Photo Quality Printing

There have been incredible new advances in color printing. Don't settle for what most printers call "digital" quality, look for true photo quality printing. With photo quality printing, presentation folders are printed with tiny dots of color. The smaller the dots and the closer they are together, the better the quality of your printed folder. Make sure to ask for samples that are Photo Quality (dots per inch).


Secret #5: Use Images and Copy that Say "Open Me"

This is the most important secret. It's the easiest, too. Add a catch phrase to your folders. Nothing tricky, just a few simple words like "open here," "turn here" or "meant to be opened." Or consider adding a simple arrow pointing to the right edge of your folder. It works.


Follow these tips and you'll be ready to create great looking presentation folders that get opened.