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How to design presentation folders: 5 practical tips for your custom branded folders

Want to skip to a particular presentation folder design tip? Follow these quick links for pocket folder design tips:

Want to buy custom folders for your business? That’s great; pocket folders can play an integral role in your business’ branding and marketing strategies.

But if you’ve never designed folders before, there might be that one nagging thought in your mind: how to design presentation folders that convey your branding.

We’ve been helping business owners and organization leaders design custom presentation folders since 2009, so we have a lot of experience helping people create the pocket folder design they envision.

Need some help with your branded folder design? Read these four practical tips—and real-use scenarios—on how to design presentation folders.

But first, a word of advice: Don’t be afraid to be an anomaly in your marketplace.

This requires a little research, but find out what everyone else in your niche is doing with their visual branding and… don’t follow suit.

Have you ever opened your mailbox to find a dentist flyer that looks something like one of these?

Boring generic brochure design
Dentists seem to like generic stock photos and the color blue. It wouldn’t take much to stand out in this crowd.

Kind of boring, right? Let’s look at what you could do to stand out from these designs.

Believe it or not, this is the most popular folder design layout for businesses, churches, realtors, and non-profits.

Ever feel like trying to get noticed by your target audience is like trying to yell at someone on the other side of Solider Field? Apologies if you’re not a Chicago Bears fan. Branding design can often feel like that.

Stand out from the crowd with a direct advertising message
Getting your customers’ attention can be difficult. A poorly design pocket folder does a poor job getting your brand message across to your customer.

We see a lot of marketing folders that are jam-packed with visual branding, images, and information; the folders were designed to fit as much as possible into the space available.

Truth be told, they’re kind of an eyesore.

The ones that often stand out among the pile of marketing flyers, branded folders, and promotional materials is the one that use just the logo—and not much else. They are the ones that use white space to let their branding “breathe.”

How to design presentation folders with your logo | Easy Pocket Folders
This folder has a lot of white space around the logo. Nothing distracts from the most basic branding element, the logo.

2. Don’t use stock photos.

Realistically, your target audience won’t care if you just use photos that you took on your phone. If you want to increase consumer confidence through design, use authentic, real photos. This could be pictures of the business founders, company staff, or your product or service in action.

Mini pocket folder for gym membership packets
This is a photo taken by the gym staff. It’s an actual picture of their gym members. You can’t find a reaction this authentic in stock photos. This image does a far better job conveying the gym than a stock photo would. It also excites potential members more than a stock photo would.

This folder we made for CrossFit Max Effort (they designed it; Style XZ Mini Folder) is the perfect example of using pictures in a presentation folder design. This is a real, genuine, authentic photo of their customers—and it shows what their service can do for you.

3. Information is great. Too much information is harmful.

We see a lot of folder designs that include juuust enough information about the product or service to intrigue the end-user. These types of designs are great for two main reasons:

  1. Small bits of information don’t clutter up the visual design. If you are designing a letter-sized pocket folder, don’t fill the entire 9″ x 12″ back cover with text. As much as you might want to share your full story with them, save it for brochures or pamphlets inside the folder, or add a custom URL to direct them to your website.
  2. Less is more… intriguing. Minimalism is a popular trend, and it stretches further than just a minimalist lifestyle. Less stuff in a pocket folder design gives consumers more time to really think about your message. Just like leaving white space around your logo is important, white space around informational bits let the user focus more intently in the message you are trying to convey.
Mini pocket folder for wine list
Rather than filling the entire back cover with the winery’s history, the owners opted for a portrait and brief note.

Not sure what kind of business info to include in your presentation folder design? Choose one or two subjects from this list, and keep it to under three sentences or five bullet points.

  • List of services
  • Company history
  • Customer testimonials or success stories
  • Organization mission
  • What your product or service can do for the consumer
  • Business or product reviews
  • Statistics–present in graphs or charts for better visual appeal

4. Use the colors you want to use for your brand.

If you are a dentist office manager, and you’ve already established that your brand color palette is centered around the color blue, that’s fine. But if you want purple and gold, go for it.

There’s no governing brand council that says you must abide by what’s popular or standard in your niche. Though there is evidence that color affects emotions and consumer buying habits, you can safely take that advice with a grain of salt.

5. Above all, keep your branding consistent.

We’re going to go a little off-topic for a bit here. Bear with us; there is a good point being made here:

Take a look at your wardrobe. We’re willing to bet that—while your closet might not be quite as monotonous as Mark Zuckerberg’s—your clothes look visually similar or give off the same “vibe.”

If your wardrobe is full of bright neon t-shirts and ripped jeans, and that’s all you wore everyday, people would know how to find you. If, however, one day you wore an earthy, forest green button up shirt with khakis, one of two things could happen:

  1. People would be looking for the neon-clad you. Not seeing the neon, they completely look over you, since you are dressed in different attire.
  2. People would be looking for the neon-clad-you. If there isn’t too much other visual “noise” around, they could still see you, despite the wardrobe change. But you’re making them work harder to find you, since you are not dressed as they expect you to be dressed.

In both of these scenarios, what you’re doing is throwing off their perception of you. Inconsistent visual branding is very similar to this wardrobe snafu.

You might find yourself asking: is it bad to shake things up every now and then? No, not always. In fact, sometimes a little visual branding shakeup can be a good thing, to make sure your audience is still paying attention to you.

When it comes to designing custom presentation folders, brand consistency is key.

Pocket folders are often either part of the first impression, or they’re part of the sales-clinching toolkit. These can be pivotal points in the sales process, so it’s best to present your visual branding as usual.


Visual brand consistency is important because consumers shouldn’t have to work that hard to see your brand’s image or hear your message.

Read more presentation folder design tips

Still a little unsure on how to design presentation folders? We’ve compiled a big list of pocket folder design tips that’s full of design ideas, sample layouts, imprint suggestions, paper stock recommendations, and more.

Or, give our customer service team a call at (800) 346-3063 or send us your ideas.

Whatever you envision, we can make it happen.

Let’s make your folders.

What’s more eco-friendly: recycled paper or non-recycled paper? The quest for green pocket folders.

Want to skip to a particular recycled paper topic? Follow these quick links:

Join EasyPocketFolders.com as we look for the most eco-friendly pocket folders for your business.

All of our pocket folders are made out of paper. We have many recycled pocket folder options, with just as many non-recycled (virgin fiber) options.

In looking at our website stats, we’ve noticed a trend over the last five years: people really want green pocket folders.

And you know what? We’re happy to oblige. In fact, from January 2017 to January 2018, we added 13 new recycled papers in a variety of colors.

But all this talk about greening your office supplies, or buying the most eco-friendly folders available got us thinking: How “green” are recycled pocket folders? And are non-recycled folders as villainous as they’re made out to be?

We’ve been talking to some paper experts about this matter, and the conclusion is this:

Recycled papers can be considered more eco-friendly because they don’t require any new trees to be cut down, and are often sent to the recycle bin to be made into new recycled products. On the flip side, non-recycled papers can be considered more eco-friendly because there is a whole step in the paper production process for recycled paper that virgin fiber doesn’t have to go through, saving energy in fuel and water.

Clear as mud, right? Let’s clear this eco quandary up a little.

To better understand why recycled paper may or may not be more eco-friendly than non-recycled paper, let’s look at this quick lesson on how paper is made.

From tree to sheet: how non-recycled paper is made.

  1. Trees are harvested, cut into 8 ft. sections, and sorted into piles at the mill based on wood type.

    Timber at a marshalling yard
    8′ log sections are stacked in piles based on wood type. Photo by Lastly Creative on Unsplash
  2. Bark is removed from the logs and the logs are then “chipped.” Shakers sort the chips. Big chips are sent through the chipper again until desired size. Unusable chips are burned for fuel.
  3. Digesters turn chips into pulp. Pulp from different species is blended in different amounts. The pulp goes through a multi-bleaching process to make bright white papers. Why does paper pulp need to be bleached in multiple steps? Because bleaching all at once would break down the pulp, making a weaker product.
  4. The pulp is then added to water and makes what paper manufacturers call a “fiber soup”. This pulp mixture is sprayed on wire screens. There is a felt layer on top of the pulp mixture. Through gravity and suction, water is taken out of the pulp mixture. At the beginning of this process, the mixture is 99% water. By the end of this process, the water content is ~3%.
  5. At this point, a dandy roll can place watermarks or texture on the paper (like our laid or linen paper stocks).
  6. When the paper is strong enough to support its own weight, it’s transported to a felt machine that pulls more water out of it.
  7. After the paper is dried to the desired moisture level, then it moves to calendaring. Calendering is the process that smooths the paper after the water is removed. Fun fact: a finished jumbo roll of paper contains 45-55 miles of paper!

One important note about paper-making

Since paper making is water-intensive, most U.S. mills are located in non-arid regions, like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. The American Forest & Paper Association has a helpful graph that shows how many jobs and facilities are located in each state (go to the bottom of the page to view).

Additionally, these regions are better for making non-recycled paper. Logging operations are closer to the mills, which drastically reduces transportation costs of getting the logs to the mills.

Are recycled papers more eco-friendly?

The term “recycled” is synonymous with being eco-friendly. And from many perspectives, it is.

Here’s why:

Recycled papers are made of what’s called pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste.

Pre-consumer waste consists of scraps from the production floor (for example, the paper left over when a folder is cut out from a full sheet of paper) or perhaps magazines that were not sold to the end-user.

Post-consumer waste is the stuff that you throw into the recycling bin, whether it’s at home or at the office. This could be everything from greeting cards, boxes from shipments, or paper documents.

Post consumer waste will be turned into recycled paper products
Your discarded mail and shredded documents is classified as post-consumer waste. This will be processed and manufactured into recycled paper products, including green pocket folders.

Using spent paper waste is sustainable from two perspectives:

First, it diverts that waste from ending up in the landfill. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, the U.S. recycled more than 67% of all paper waste in 2016. In fact, that number has been steadily increasing over the last decade.

The twist to this story, however, is that it is estimated that nearly half of all landfill waste is made up of paper products. The U.S. is doing better each year at diverting paper waste from the landfill, but there is still room for improvement.

Landfill waste
Half of the waste you see here is paper products.

Want to play a role in diverting paper waste from the landfill? Consider adding a line to your pocket folders that says, “Please recycle this folder when finished with it.”

Recycling paper diverts waste from landfills, but producing recycled papers has an added benefit, which brings us to our second point.

By using waste that was otherwise landfill-bound, paper manufacturers are decreasing the demand for the felling of trees, thus keeping forest habitats intact and ecosystems happily chugging along.

If you look at recycled paper from an ecological perspective, it does seem to be the greener option.

But let’s look at the other side of this story.

Are non-recycled papers more eco-friendly?

There is a big difference in the production process of recycled paper and non-recycled paper.

Recycled paper has to go through a deinking process, which can be energy-intensive. Here’s the catch: there are just four deinking facilities in the U.S, making transportation to and from those facilities costly and time-consuming.

Deinking process
This chart shows all the extra steps in the deinking process that is needed to produce recycled paper.

To make recycled paper, first you have to factor in the oil used to transport paper waste to those facilities. Chemicals must be used in this multi-step process to get the inks off the product. Why do you need to remove the inks to make recycled paper? Inks need to be taken off paper waste to create a stronger, more color-consistent recycled paper product.

In this respect, non-recycled papers can be considered more eco-friendly because products made of virgin fiber skips this often energy-intensive step that is necessary to make recycled paper.

Let’s answer this. What’s more eco-friendly: recycled paper or non-recycled paper?

Truth is, it often evens out in the end.

Recycled paper is a sustainable option because no trees are cut down to make more paper. Recycled paper helps keep ecosystems intact, and is made with waste that would have otherwise ended up in a methane gas-producing landfill.

Non-recycled paper is a green option because there are fewer steps in the manufacturing process. Additionally, if you purchase paper from paper mills who source wood from sustainably-managed forests (we do that), you’re not destroying entire ecosystems; you’re selectively harvesting timber.

We hate to dissapoint,  but there is no clear answer here. The best advice we can give you for purchasing green office supplies for your business is this: purchase presentation folders that fit your business’ stance on environmental matters.

A few more important things about recycled paper and green pocket folders:

When looking for green pocket folders, don’t forget about the ink.

Recycled pocket folder printed with low VOC inks | Easy Pocket Folders

We use only soy-based or vegetable-based inks for printing our pocket folders.  All of these inks are low-VOC, meaning they don’t release harmful chemicals during the printing process—or when you’re using them.

Furthermore, pocket folders printed with low-VOC inks are easier to recycle, as the plant-based inks release from the paper easier than their petroleum-based counterparts.

Can pocket folders be recycled?

Since we only make folders out of paper, every presentation folder we sell can be recycled. Whether you order printed folders, foil stamped folders, or our popular blind embossed presentation folders, every folder we make can be tossed in the recycling bin.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s make your folders.

Church welcome folders—a practical addition to your welcome ministry

Want to skip to a particular church visitor folder question? Follow these quick links:

At Easy Pocket Folders, we work with churches from all denominations, from all over the USA, from small churches to big, multi-location churches.

So why do so many churches—of varying sizes and paths—all want to add church welcome folders to their visitor package?

The answer is really quite simple. Visitor folders are a practical way to give church guests information they can browse on their own time.

They can spend Sunday morning (or whatever day and time you worship) getting to know your members and seeing your church. All the information in the church welcome packet—letters from the pastor, visitor cards, denominational pamphlets, ministry info sheets—can be read at their leisure.

Let them enjoy your service without being inundated with information, or leaving the service without fully understanding your church.

Here’s why are church welcome folders are so important

6x9 Church Folder | Made in the USA by Easy Pocket Folders
Printed folders can be as simple as just adding your logo. Style XZ (6″ x 9″) from Easy Pocket Folders shown here.

Have you ever been to a concert, a ball game, or a community festival, and you left feeling like you were refreshed, energized, or that you just had a really good time? How long does that feeling last? Without pictures, or perhaps a small souvenir, that feeling can subside—or even be forgotten.

The same concept applies with church guest folders. Your visitors enjoy the service and Sunday message, or perhaps they feel something they haven’t felt in a while: joy. Church often has that effect on people, right?

That being said, why would you not give your visitors something? Sometimes, it’s the tangible things that help us hold onto our memories, or help us relive what brought us joy. That’s why many women keep their grandmother’s jewelry, but never wear it. It’s why men keep toys from their childhood.

Church welcome packets are that reminder of what brought them joy. It’s a reminder that there are others they can share their faith with.

Yes, there is a lot of information in those welcome packets—some really good information.

But keeping those welcome folders might just serve as a reminder of the joy they felt when visiting your church.

So you want folders. But now what? How do you choose the right folder for your church?

If your church has never handed out visitor welcome packs before, you might have some questions. We’ve had a lot of conversations with pastors and church leaders, and have been able to get some really helpful tips from them.

When do I hand out church welcome folders?

It’s common practice to hand out welcome packets before the service begins. These church folders are placed in a variety of locations, depending on the church layout:

  • By the doors to the sanctuary
  • On a table by the front doors
  • At the information center
  • Handed out personally by a welcome ministry member

By handing out welcome folders before the service begins, this gives your visitors a few options:

  1. Visitors can sit, read, and reflect on what is in the welcome packet. They can sit down before the service, either in the sanctuary or some other quiet place, and look over the materials you’ve provided in the folder. This is a nice option because, let’s face it, visiting an unknown church is just that: unknown. Reading that information will give them a some insight about your congregation and place of worship before the service begins. Sometimes, that helps put things in perspective. For example, in a UCC church, this would give the visitor a better understanding as to why the message is heavily focused on social justice issues.
  2. Visitors can take the church welcome kit home and read it later. Some visitors will want to jump in and join the social activity right away. This usually happens when they are invited by friends or family, so they have someone there to talk to right away. For these people, the welcome folders are still very helpful, because they can take the folder home to read and reflect on the info throughout the week.
Personalized Church Welcome Folders | Made in the USA by Easy Pocket Folders
Need cheap church folders with your logo? Our 9″ x 12″ budget folders are a great letter-sized folder for churches. Need a 6″ x 9″ folder? Choose a Style XZ Mini Folder. Shown here with one-color foil imprint.

Personalized church presentation folders can play a role in your church’s image. It might seem a stretch, but custom church folders can play a role in your church’s branding.

If your branding matters, or if you just want personalized visitor folders, then yes, add your logo. We have 10 designs to choose from, or you could design your own 6″ x 9″ church folder.

We know what you might be thinking: What about the cost?

Remember, we talk to pastors and leaders from churches of all sizes, so we know that sometimes personalized pocket folders aren’t in the budget.

Which is why we offer low quantity welcome folders, available in letter-sized welcome folders with a low 25-piece minimum, or mini folders with a 100-piece minimum.

What do I put in my welcome packets for visitors?

6x9 Church Welcome Folder | Made in the USA by Studio Style
You can personalize this folder! Style #EMP-WPH from Easy Pocket Folders features a photo of your church, as well as your church name and contact info.
  • Welcome letter from the pastor, youth minister, and church president
  • Church and denomination information pamphlets
  • USB, CD, or DVD with a collection of sermons
  • Visitor cards to fill out and return
  • Church member directory for your parish, temple, or house of worship
  • Current church newsletter
  • Flyers for church outings, picnics, overnighters, dances, trips, and more
  • Prayer cards and inspirational materials
  • Photos of special services, trips, and events
  • Member information forms
  • Map of church building or campus

For a more comprehensive explanation of what goes in a church welcome folder—and why it goes in there—read this brief article on what to put in your church visitor welcome packet.

I need cheap welcome folders for my church. Can Easy Pocket Folders help?

Yes, we can. Browse from these church visitor folder options:

Not sure which folder will work best for your church or welcome ministry team? Contact us on our website, or call us at (800) 346-3063.

How welcome packets can increase donations for non-profits

Did you know that a pocket folder can help increase donations and retain current donor interest? It’s true, and it’s not too difficult to make it happen.

So how do welcome packets help increase donations and donor retention rates?

When it comes to donating to non-profits, trust is everything.

There are numerous studies about what it takes to get donors to trust. What the welcome packet does is provide a level of transparency.

But how does a pocket folder for charity donors help provide transparency?

It’s not so much about the folder itself, but what you put in the donor packet—and yes, how you brand your organization does matter.

Donor Welcome Folders | Made in the USA by Easy Pocket Folders
Branding matters—even on your non-profit pocket folders. Shown: 9″ x 12″ presentation folder, printed in full color.

To help instill trust in your donors, here’s what to include in your welcome packet:

  • A thank you letter from the executive director or founder—be sure to have them sign the letter
  • Your latest newsletter
  • List of member benefits. Do they receive a discount in your online store? Or do they receive special newsletters—written just for donors?
  • A promotional giveaway, like a bookmark, stickers, or notepad
  • Donation card. Include this only if the welcome folder is sent out at least a few months after the initial donation.
  • The previous year’s report. Want to be really transparent? Include numbers from the last 5–10 years.
  • A calendar of events for the next few months. Be sure to keep your welcome packs up-to-date so you don’t include old calendars.
  • If you are dealing with local donors, include a list of volunteer opportunities. If your donors are far away, give them some ideas of how they can help the cause, even if they don’t live close by.

Non-profit Donor Welcome Folders | Easy Pocket FoldersWhy do donor welcome packs work?

  1. When you give them information, it instills trust.
  2. The follow-up is your way of saying thanks.
  3. This gives you the chance to show donors how you are using their funds to further their cause.

This all goes further than just telling donors how their donations are split between administrative costs, marketing costs, and their cause. Yes, those pie charts, graphs, and tables full of figures do help—and are necessary.

But modern donors want (and expect more). Do you serve underprivileged children? Run a food bank? Curate exhibits at a museum?

Whatever your cause, your donors want to know that the money they give you is doing something. In your donor thank you packets, share stories about how someone’s life was improved because of donations. Tell donors that a family could eat because of their generosity (for example, from the Northern Illinois Food Bank: “For every $1 donated, Northern Illinois Food Bank provides $8 worth of groceries to a neighbor in need.”).

Your non-profit donor welcome folders are merely a tool to help you tell your story—and say thanks at the same time.

Never used non-profit folders before? Here’s how to use them.

  1. Host an event. Whether it’s a general fundraising event, or an event specifically for donors who have given before, we’re sure you have at least a few fundraising events each year.
  2. Get donor mailing addresses. Be sure to ask permission so you can gather their names and addresses. This is an important step, as privacy is an ever-increasing concern. Also, let them know how you intend to use whatever information you collect. For example, it can be as simple as “We do not sell or share your personal information.”
  3. A few weeks (or a few months) after your event, mail out welcome packets to new donors and thank you packets for previous donors. Yes, it’s a bit tedious to do this, but your attention to these little details will make donors feel like you really pay attention to them, making them more confident in giving to your organization.

Welcome folders for everyone

One last thing: don’t forget about online donors. As online donations to non-profits increase each year, you would be remiss to leave these donors off your thank you packet mailing list. Just like collecting names and addresses from people who attend your charity fundraising events, be sure you ask online donors if it’s ok to use their information as a means of staying in touch.

Need cheap welcome folders? Easy Pocket Folders can help.

Whatever your budget, whatever your design skills, we can find a folder that will work for your needs. Browse our entire collection at EasyPocketFolders.com or learn more about non-profit presentation folders.