If the word “pamphlet” makes you think of uncomfortable waits in the doctor’s office and/or the smell of medical-grade disinfectant, you’re not alone. Those folded bundles of disturbing news about rheumatoid arthritis, jaundice and urinary tract infections may have left a bad taste in your mouth, and for good reason. But there’s no need to let those less than stellar encounters with pamphlets get in the way of your using them to your benefit in the future. Pamphlets, leaflets, brochures, and other paper paraphernalia can be a great boost to your business and a great way to educate others about your product, service or cause (even if that cause is rheumatoid arthritis awareness).
First off, let’s clarify the differences between some of these popular paper products. The dictionary defines pamphlets as publications of less than 80 pages that are usually stitched or stapled together and bookended by paper covers. A leaflet, on the other hand, is a small flat or folded printed piece of paper, usually used as advertisement or notice and “intended for free distribution.” So according to the word authorities, pamphlets can be longer than leaflets, and usually are bound by stitches or staples, whereas leaflets usually consist of a single flat or folded up piece of paper. (By those definitions, maybe those scary medical manuscripts in the MD’s office were actually leaflets and not pamphlets after all!) A brochure, on the other hand, could be either a pamphlet or a leaflet. The term basically describes any concise piece of descriptive, informative, or instructional written material that is printed in one of the aforementioned formats.)
So how can one know whether pamphlets or leaflets are the right type of brochure for his or her purpose? We think the best bet is often to go look at common uses for each, and then to adapt to your project from there.
Pamphlets are often used as playbills for theater productions. The small booklets make a great and spacious platform for disclosing actors’ bios, giving a synopsis and/or history of the play, and leaving plenty of room for local advertisers and sponsors of the arts to tout their products and services. These mini-books can be used as zines (self-published literature, whether it be local news, poetry collections, guide books, or short stories). Some businesses publish their catalogs as pamphlets. If you are running a political campaign or a community initiative, a pamphlet (or a leaflet, depending on how much content you have and your budget) can be a great format in which you can explain more about your candidate’s background and ambitions, or the details and goals of the initiative you’re behind.
Leaflets, on the other hand, are popular for a number of different purposes. They’re perfect fit when you don’t need a ton of space to get your message across. With their low production costs, they are also a great buy if you aren’t looking to invest a lot of loot in your advertising or promotional collaterals. Restaurants often use leaflets as the format for their printed take out menus. Casual restaurants with counter service can even use leaflets as their primary menus. Salons, spas, gyms, personal trainers, tattoo shops, hotels, and photographers, just to name a few, can also benefit from printing leaflets that describe their menus of services, perhaps including pricing, contact information, hours of operation, and photographs of the business itself, the products it sells, or the professionals involved in the business.
So there’s a quick run-down of the differences between pamphlets and leaflets. When deciding whether pamphlet- or leaflet-printing is the best option for your needs, you may want to consult an expert printer. Most pamphlet and leaflet printers will be happy to consult with you and offer you advice on which product is the best fit for your project. Don’t hesitate to call and ask for a recommendation if you are not sure. And if the printer is unwilling or unable to offer you advice, you may want to call another printer about the job!