Steps for Creating a Brochure in Photoshop

Designing a brochure is not the easiest task that you may undertake, but it is possible if you follow some design guidelines. Although InDesign is a better program for creating multi-page brochures and booklets, a simple folded brochure can be designed in Photoshop if you are more comfortable with this program. The following tutorial will take you through the necessary steps for setting up a trifold brochure design in Photoshop and preparing it for your brochure printing company.

Step 1
Go to the Brochures page on and choose a template to download. For this tutorial, we will be using the 11x8.5 Tri (letter) Fold Template.

If you open the 11x8.5 Letter file you downloaded, you will see that you can choose from PDF, JPEG, and AI file formats. Both horizontal and vertical templates are also available as well as the Inside and Outside versions.


Step 2
Open Photoshop and go to File>Open and find the 11x8.5 Letter folder you downloaded. From there, select the 11x8_5 - Outside - Landscape - Letter Fold.jpg file. For this tutorial, we will only be working with this side of your brochure printing sheet, which includes the outside front cover, the outside middle panel (when folded), and the outside right panel. When designing your actual brochure, you will also need to design the inside panels but using the 11x8_5 - Inside - Landscape - Letter Fold.jpg file. Be sure to start saving your work as a PSD (Photoshop) file at this point and periodically from now on in case of technical difficulties.

Once the template is open, you will see instructions for using the template, colored lines, and fold lines. The red lines indicate the Bleed Zone; this is how far you should extend the background and any other images you want to reach the edge of the brochure. The blue line is the Trim Line, and the green line is the edge of the Safety Zone. Keep all important text and graphics inside of this green line to avoid these items being cut off during the trimming process.


Step 3
Make sure that your color mode is set to CMYK. A brochure printing company will not print in RGB colors. If you do a lot of web design, your Photoshop color mode may be set to RGB. Change it to CMYK by going to Image>Mode>CMYK Color.

Step 4
The easiest way to tell where the bleed, trim, safety, and fold lines are while designing is to turn on the Ruler and Guides. This way, when placing artwork on top of the template, you will still see these guidelines on top of your design and know where to place graphics and text properly. First of all, turn on your Ruler by going to View>Ruler.

Step 5
Now you can set the guides for your design. Go to View>New Guide and enter the location of each guideline both horizontally and vertically. Or you can click on the Ruler using the Move tool and drag the line to proper location. Entered numerically, the vertical guides for the 11x8.5 brochure template, including for the fold lines, are .375, .5, .625, 4.125, 7.8125, 11.375, 11.5, and 11.625. The horizontal guides are .375, .5, .625, 8.875, 9, and 9.125.

Step 6
You are now ready to add a background. First Create a New Layer by clicking on the icon at the bottom of your Layers palette that looks like a large box with a smaller box in front. If needed, go to Window>Layers to make your Layers palette visible.


Step 7
To use a solid color as the background onto which you can place text boxes and other images, first select your color using the color boxes at the bottom of your Tools menu. Double-click on the top box to choose your foreground color. Then select the Paint Bucket tool and click on the template to fill the background with your chosen color. The guides should still be showing.


Step 8
To use a picture or other graphic for the background, open the image file within Photoshop and then hit Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C to copy it. Go back to your brochure printing template, make sure your Layer 1 is selected, and hit Ctrl+V. This should copy your image onto this layer. Or you could always just drag the image file directly onto the layer if desired. You may need to resize the image to reach the outer bleed lines, so select the Move tool. Then hold down Shift while dragging the corners until the image is positioned properly. This will make sure that the image retains its original dimensions. The following image can be found on

Step 9
Finally, you can create effects and add text and other graphics. Just be sure to create new layers for each block of text and each graphic to make it easier to add effects and to move them around. Keep in mind that the front cover is the right-hand section of the template, the back middle is the middle section, and the left-hand section will be the outer side of the right panel of your brochure. You may need to create a sketch using a piece of paper and a pencil to fully visualize the design before you begin. If you are lost as to where to begin, look up some trifold brochure tutorials online and simply apply the steps to your template. Below is a very rough sketch showing how many layers it could take to create the outside design.

Step 10
Before sending your outside design to your brochure printing company, you will need to flatten it to create a smaller file. First, though, delete the very bottom layer, the template, by dragging the layer onto the trash can icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Then click on the Layers drop down menu located in the top right corner. It looks like a down arrow with lines next to it. From the menu, choose Flatten Image. All of your layers should now be compiled into a single layer. Be sure to choose Save As when saving so that you keep the original PSD file with all of your layers, just in case you need to go back and make changes.

Creating a brochure in Photoshop is very doable if you know the right steps. Just take your time to set it up properly and then have fun playing around with the design. Fairly soon, you’ll have brochure designing down to an art and will be able to create a brochure for any purpose your company desires!


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