Unbound printed publication with a paper cover or no cover. Among the first printed materials, pamphlets were widely used in England, France, and Germany from the early 16th century, often for religious or political propaganda; they sometimes rose to the level of literature or philosophical discourse. In North America, pre-Revolutionary War agitation stimulated extensive pamphleteering; foremost among the writers of political pamphlets was Thomas Paine. By the 20th century, the pamphlet was more often used for information than for controversy.
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A brochure or pamphlet is a leaflet advertisement. Brochures may advertise locations, events, hotels, products, services, etc. They are usually succinct in language and eye-catching in design. Direct mail and trade shows are common ways to distribute brochures to introduce a product or service. In hotels and other places that tourists frequent, brochure racks or stands may suggest visits to amusement parks and other points of interest. The two most common brochure styles are single sheet and booklet forms.
The most common types of single-sheet brochures are the bi-fold (a single sheet printed on both sides and folded into halves) and the tri-fold (the same, but folded into thirds). A bi-fold brochure results in four panels (two panels on each side), while a tri-fold results in six panels (three panels on each side).
Other folder arrangements are possible: the accordion or "Z-fold" method, the "C-fold" method, etc. Larger sheets, such as those with detailed maps or expansive photo spreads, are folded into four, five, or six panels.
Brochures are often printed using four color process on thick gloss paper to give an initial impression of quality. Businesses may turn out small quantities of brochures on a computer printer or on a digital printer, but offset printing turns out higher quantities for less cost.
Compared with a flyer or a handbill, a brochure usually uses higher-quality paper, more color, and is folded.