I have a design for a Trifold brochure that was presented at our company's board meeting. I had a small run printed before the meeting so it could be distributed in its intended format.

During the meeting, people wanted to provide feedback. I was asked to provide it digitally so that people could provide some comments (probably mostly on text, but being the nature of design work, I expect aesthetic commentary as well)

I'm not inclined to just send out the print-ready PDF. Things that are obvious in print are not on the PDF, such as where it gets folded, and how two flaps that aren't physically adjacent on paper are when it's folded. I also don't want to just put all the text in Word, because people may not appreciate how text changes could affect design.

What are some effective ways to electronically distribute a trifold brochure for review?

  • You can just send a print ready pdf with marks denoting the pages. All of the files that I work on for customers to print come like that. Additionally, there will be no substitute for a physical copy. Maybe send a print ready digitally and instruct them to print it out for review. Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 18:21
  • It has full-bleeds, which might confuse some people, but I'm leaning towards this. All of the recipients (in theory) have already received a print version. Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 18:36
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    You never ever, ever should be sending out art with bleeds for review unless it's to a printer. This is design 101 for sending proofs to clients. You wouldn't print out a copy of the brochure with bleeds and hand it to people, would you? The same applies for digital proofs. Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 18:38
  • @Ovaryraptor do you mean only send it without bleed and crop marks, or don't send it digitally at all? (ordinarily I wouldn't want to send it digitally--I'm being specifically asked to do so by my employer) Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 19:20
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    @Ovaryraptor Could you expound on why this is graphic design 101? I frequently send digital proofs with bleed to authors/editors (who are basically our clients), and so do all the graphic designers we work with. I can see no real reason it should be a big no-no, unless they’re the kind of client who might your print-ready design and run with it behind your back. Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 8:17

2 Answers 2


What I sometimes do is just place some very light gradients where the folds are going to be, on top of all the artwork and set these to 'multiply'. This kind of simulates the folded object while keeping it flat and helps people visualize page margins and the whitespace between folds.

Make it a PDF without any printer marks so it renders nicely in Acrobat and they can annotate text changes directly and make comments on the actual file. When approved, don't forget to remove the gradients otherwise they will also get printed :)

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The most effective way is...


What's an effective way to electronically distribute a trifold brochure for review?

You are not distributing it, you are sending it to specific people with a specific responsibility: Reviewing it.

So, you probably are mixing two stages of your design process.

1) Selling the idea

You want to show the idea, the look, the feel.

In this step prepare a digital mockup as a still image, or a video, or go to the client's office and take some physical samples.

2) Reviewing the content

You do not have to send a mockup, you need to send an actual PDF from the original files. Probably at a lower resolution and in RGB, but the real deal.

You can not have an authorized file and use it to correct another, different file.

The person reviewing this have to KNOW what they are doing. The selling part is over, he should know the basics of a brochure. What goes on the front page, what goes in the inner page.

Yes, you can add some thin margins to separate the folds. But that is it.

If the person reviewing it does not understand this, explain the mechanics to them. Training.


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