Exercise: Visualising Your Ideas


Paper is something graphic designers take for granted. For this exercise you will explore some of the different ways you can fold paper to make a leaflet.

You have been asked to design a leaflet for an organisation, inviting people to to volunteer for a task. (You can choose the task for example, school governor, fundraising or building a community garden). In addition to a title the information has been broken down into four chunks each of about 120 words. You will also need to leave space for contact and address details.

Working with a sheet of A4 paper or larger if you prefer, and ignoring the actual words and subheadings, explore the different formats for leaflets that are possible. Consider and experiment with options for final size and types of paper as part of your visualisation.

The organisers are particularly interested in trying to attract new people. Your job is to find a way to make people want to pick up the leaflet. Be creative and playful in developing a range of ideas. Will the leaflets be put in racks? Will they be handed out or sent in the post? You will need to do some research to see how other people have solved similar problems.

As you try different folds write on each new page what is going on it and which way up it will be. Choose a combination of different ways to visualise your thinking, such as mounting or photographing your mock-ups and prototypes, presenting thumbnails or drawing your ideas.

In your learning log describe how you found turning ideas into visuals. Did you discover anything unexpected?

Ways of folding an A4 sheet:

These are just some of the ways an A4 sheet can be folded. If one is creating a brochure it is necessary to establish how or where the brochure will be distributed. I work in a craft shop and we only have a limited space and one stand to stock brochures. We are the only information source in this very popular seaside village. It is important the brochures conform to size.

Our shop stand
Our shop stand
A5 fold
A5 with ‘gate’



DL size
complicated triangels
Triangles boat








Design a leaflet for an organisation, inviting people to to volunteer for a task

A mind map, created in InDesign, helped to concentrate my mind on what the leaflet should contain.

Brochure mindmap
Brochure mindmap

I worked with three of the above formats:

  1. A5. I created this in InDesign, as a simple, probably quite cheap, solution to the problem. The cover contains the call to volunteer. The inside pages will contain the information about what you should volunteer, how much time is involved and what we want to achieve. The back page contains contact information

.Volunteer brochure 1

  1. Volunteer brochure


2. DL frmat – triple fold. I created this as a prototype. It would also be cheap and would fit most leaflet display holders. The first page has the call to volunteer and contacts. The rounded window shows an image of the island. The interior would contain the information as above.

DL Brochure
DL Brochure




3. Boat Shaped leaflet. I think this would be expensive to produce. I tried to create this in Illustrator. The end result was not very satisfactory but gives the idea of what I was trying to achieve.

Basic RGB
Boat shape brochure



If cost is the greatest priority the 1 is the best solution. Maybe a more attractive image on the front which will attract young people. The second leaflet is the best solution if the brochure is to be left in retail outlets in leaflet holders. Number 3 would attract more attention but would be costly to produce.

Crit by my niece who is a graphic designer…. I asked her to look at leaflet 1 only

The leaflet1  does need seem to work. I would suggest not having white as your background colour.  I think it looks more professional with a solid colour for background. The title at the front is too small and the two lines are drifting without an anchor. I suggest that one of either line is the hero, blow up big, make strong by giving a drop shadow or outline and then the other can be a tag line. At the back possibly put each of the questions in a box (can be an uneven shaped box) of their own overlapping each other, maybe using the three colours in your illustration.

Crit by may daughter, an executive in a big multinational company

Regarding your brochure; I like the picture and the colours bit I think there is something to be improved in the text ‘ Its our island etc. ‘ it looks a bit clunky. Not sure if it’s the block colour around it? 
Also, although I like the picture and the colours i wonder if they are a bit muted? Pink Neon is very ‘in’ these days but might be too much here… depends on who you want to appeal to? And your message? If it’s nature, calm quiet people and hard workers this brochure should work. 
If it’s millennials and those looking for some fun, probably not 🙂

.. As this was ideas focussed rather than a fully refined project, the ‘clunkiness’ your family members point out is not a problem (though very useful insight). You clearly outline three different initial approaches from ‘illustration led’ to adding interest via a ‘peephole’ or altering the full outer shape. I consider this a shrewd investigation into piquing an audience’s interest. I also really like your lady gardener’s image and hope you develop more images like this as part of your practical toolkit.

I was happy with this feedback.