As The Brochure Folds, The Saga Continues!

For those of you who were following the trials and tribulations of my attempts to design a season brochure per the requirements of the post office, I must confess….the post office won. *sigh*

By which, of course, I mean that I could have designed it anyway I wanted if I were willing to pay the price. The changes the print house suggested did add a slightly disjointed element to the design, but since I decided most people who kept it would be looking at the other side of the brochure most of the time, it wasn’t worth the extra cost.

I have been trying to find a clear illustration of what we ended up with, but really haven’t been able to. The instructions the print house gave us in the course of trying to convince us to change the design just confused us so I didn’t want to use that. But if you are curious, grab a piece of paper and make your own mock up! We used a larger sheet than your standard 8.5 x 11 paper, but you will get the idea.

Hold piece of paper in landscape orientation. Fold the right side to the left so that the crease is on the right side. Fold the paper in thirds starting from the top. Top third folds down, bottom third folds up so it lays on top. Draw a little indicia on the right hand corner. That is the mailing side facing you. The post office likes the piece to go in with the full crease on the bottom and the creased ends on the right side. The open ends are on the top and left side.

If you rotate the page on the vertical axis and write the name of your arts organization, you see where we had our theatre name. The problem is, if you open the brochure up now, you will see the top panel is the mailing label upside down. We had a real striking image we wanted to use across the middle panel where the name of the theatre was, down to the bottom panel. I decided I could live with the mailing panel being upside down since the rest of that side looked good. With most of the important content about the shows on the other side, I figured most people would tack it up with that side facing out and rarely see the inverted panel on the back.

Any way, that was my solution for this situation. The printer is going to be having a seminar on the postal service regulations and our graphic designer plans to go. Based on what she learns and knowing how the post office likes things, next year we may start out our design concept differently with an alternative orientation and folding pattern. The one interesting thing I haven’t gotten a chance to follow up on is that both the post office and the printers said we would likely need three tabs to hold the mailing closed. All the brochures my staff and I received at our homes only had one. I am just wondering why. (I also wonder what it says that I am writing reminders to check up on adhesive tab rules.)

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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