Rule of 4, or you can’t print 9 pages of a brochure

The problem with people coming into graphic design through the web is that they never have to formally print out a document, with a printing press, bound and scored and stitched, and all that stuff.

Before I sat down to write this post, I did a quick search to see if anyone had written about this. Strangely, the things I came up with were other problems people have had getting stuff ready for print, but not this one, such as on this blog for 5 rules of for the common man. Yes, you need to have at least 300 dpi, yes you need fonts, but heck, you can’t break the laws of physics, as I kept trying to explain with a recent client who kept insisting he could do the impossible.

So, what is the rule of 4? Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. How many sides do you have? Don’t come back and tell me two or three. You have four, and each page that you want to print must have four sides, as the brochure will be printed in spreads. This page, of “ask andy” explains it well, showing which pages go to which pages.

My main point, is that, if you want to, you can print 10 pages, but that would mean one page would be loose, and would not bind into the brochure, and most people don’t want that. They do not want a brochure to have pages flying out of them.

I spent the better part of 15 minutes or so trying to explain this to my client, and he insisted he would find a printer would would give him his 9 page brochure.

He came back later, and said, eh, I think I’ll go with your idea of 8 pages.

Guess he spoke to a printer.


2 Responses to “Rule of 4, or you can’t print 9 pages of a brochure”

  • cris Says:

    I went from print to web and my brain goes numb trying to explain why a logo pulled off a web site can not go to the printers! Gotta love clients! One of mine had t-shirts made and thought he’d save money by leaving me out of the process… He gave the printer a pixelated 72 dpi logo file and misspelled his URL! 200 ugly t-shirts, the t-shirt maker thought the logo was supposed to be jagged so he didn’t question the guy.

  • Laura R. Says:

    Oh, yes, I too have run into the client trying to do it themselves. Costly mistake with print.

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