Brochure vs. Rack Card

Strottner Designs

These days, the majority of a business’s marketing efforts and budget go to digital inbound marketing such as SEO for their website, Social Media Management, and PPC advertising (we offer all of these), but all businesses still require printed collateral such as brochures and rack cards. We are often asked what we recommend — a brochure vs. rack card?

Why? They’re perfect to have on hand in your office and distribute at a trade shows or from the window of a food truck or to utilize in direct mail.

Well, they both have great benefits. Here, I’ll explain the differences between the two — as well as the pros and cons of each.


A brochure normally consists of four, six or eight panels of content, which is printed on card (heavy) stock and folded into a variety of options, including:

  • Trifold (two folds, six panels)
  • Bifold or half-fold (one fold/four panels)
  • French fold (folded into a grid like a map)
  • Roll fold (similar to trifold but for more than six panels)

For many businesses and organizations, a brochure is perfectly adequate for their needs, with the optimum amount of space and layout options to choose from.

Examples of appropriate brochure usage include take-out menus, a company’s detailed services (illustrated with photos), and the company’s overview and background. Brochures can make a dramatic impact at trade shows, and they make good conversation-starters for your sales reps.

Compared to rack cards, they are bulkier and more costly to design and print due to more manufacturing. There are certain instances when a brochure may be more than you need and perhaps can be out of your budget. This is when a rack card is the perfect solution.

Rack Cards

Rack cards can be a less expensive option, due to the fact that they only have a front and back with a fraction of the amount of stock required to print. However, they’re still sized like a brochure (unless another size is requested), but there’s no folding or panels.

Think of them as a brochure-sized postcard.

They offer a good amount of space for your business’s logo, the product or service being promoted, contact information and images. They also perform double duty: they fit perfectly into a brochure stand/rack (hence the name rack card) or into a standard #10 business envelope for mailing.

Some useful examples for rack cards include:

  • A physician’s bio card
  • A start-up company’s product highlight card
  • A quick services offering in bullet-point format, when most of the longform information is available elsewhere (such as your company’s website)

Brochure vs. Rack Card: The Conclusion

Which to use, a Brochure vs. Rack Card? It really comes down to the amount of space you need and how much content you have. If you have enough content and images to fill a full brochure, that would be your best option. But if you don’t, there’s no need to stretch things out to fill the space. A rack card should suffice. Both options are conveniently sized; they display in the same areas; and they serve the identical goal of spreading your message to your audience.

Give Us a Call!

Whether you need a brochure, rack card, or any other printed piece of collateral, Strottner Designs is ready to help you decide which is best for you and create a piece that you and your business can be proud of. Please browse our online portfolioand then Contact us today for a free consultation and quote.