Pamphlet vs. Brochure: the Key Differences

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Pamphlets vs. Brochures - What's The Difference?

The Main Differences Between Pamphlets and Brochures

Learn how pamphlets are different than brochure, what each print format is useful for and how to use them best.

Print design
March 16, 2020
4 minutes


Usually, when a customer requests a pamphlet or brochure design, we ask them for specific details. How many pages do they need, what kind of message they’re trying to convey, who their target audience is, etc. Surprisingly enough, many who requested pamphlet design were actually asking for brochures and vice versa.

Knowing the difference between these two things is very important, especially if you’re a graphic designer. You might find yourself in a situation where the client has given you minimal guidelines”: “I need a pamphlet/brochure for my upcoming networking event!” So, instead of wasting valuable time reading Wikipedia pages, we’ve compiled a brief article that will help you understand exactly what the client’s looking for.

So, without further ado, let’s go on and answer the following questions. What is a pamphlet? What is a brochure? And most importantly, what is the difference between a pamphlet vs. brochure?

What is a Pamphlet?

A pamphlet is a small, typically unbound piece of paper. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century, in countries like Germany, England, and France. Pamphlets have an informational character and usually focus on a single subject. Although this isn’t always the case, pamphlets are often designed on a single piece of paper. They can also be found in various shapes and sizes. Pamphlets can be foldable or, in some cases, contain more than one page. Sometimes they are referred to as leaflets.

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What is a Brochure?

A brochure is a multi-page magazine that’s used for advertising certain products or services. This marketing tool can be found in several different shapes and sizes. These characteristics can be things like bound-together pages, bi or tri-foldable, and even as a single-pager. However, in most scenarios, brochures contain multiple, high-quality pages and utilize lots of colors. Because of their advertising nature, brochures must convey strong messages, thus keeping a high reader retention rate. Sometimes, they are referred to as booklets.

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What’s the Difference?

Pamphlets are usually handed out on the streets, left in your mailbox, or left on coffee shop tables. Apart from being sent electronically, brochures can often be found at B2B events, placed at the most visible area of a rack or shelf.

While a lot of people use these two words interchangeably, there are differences between a pamphlet vs. a brochure. A pamphlet is smaller and cheaper to produce, mostly focusing on a single subject. A brochure is usually bigger and more extensive in its topic coverage. This is why it utilizes more robust colors and visible positioning. All this makes the brochure more expensive to create.

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Why Do They Get Mixed Up?

Because neither pamphlets nor brochures are a part of most people’s everyday lives, it can be hard to distinguish between the two. For these exact same reasons, it’s no surprise that many people put all types of informative paper documents under one umbrella. But, more on the different kinds of paper documents later. Let’s start with the most common reasons people mix them up.

First of all, if you’re one of these people, don’t fret. While most would argue that the differences between the two are semantical, it’s our job to be precise when it comes to design. Unless you work in the graphics industry, there’s no shame in not knowing the differences between a pamphlet and a brochure. Second of all, it must be said that there are many similarities between the two paper documents. They both have an informative character (to some extent), they’re both paper documents, and both of them utilize text & graphics to get their points across.

Now that you know what they are, and why people mix them up, let’s talk about what isn’t a pamphlet or a brochure.

What Isn’t a Pamphlet or Brochure

By this point, we already know what both a pamphlet and a brochure are and what their purpose is. However, it is quite common to confuse other types of informational or advertising documents as pamphlets and brochures. So, let’s talk about some of them and give a brief explanation as to what they really are.


Flyers are small paper documents that are usually handed out in the streets. Unlike pamphlets, they are always single and one-sided. Companies use them because they’re a cheap and quick way of relaying a bite-sized piece of information. They are used in advertising things such as concerts, store openings, various other events, etc.

The downside to using flyers as promotional material is that they’re not very useful when it comes to advertising products and services. This is because most people just take a short glance at them before throwing them away.

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Rack Cards

Rack cards are similar to flyers and are about 10 x 23 cm (4” x 9”) in size. They’re an effective way of advertising local events or individual products. There’s only so much text that you can fit on such a small paper, so make sure you only display crucial information. This is why they should be utilized as more of a reminder rather than an advertisement.


While mixing magazines up with brochures isn’t such a common occurrence, it still happens more than we’d like to admit. These multi-paged, periodic publications cover a variety of different topics, issues, and amongst other things, advertisements. **Magazines are filled with illustrations, photographs, and images. **As a rule of thumb, they’re longer and more detailed than brochures or pamphlets.

Where Can I Get a Brochure or Pamphlet Design?

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While there are many places where you can print out these informative paper documents, designing them is an entirely different story. The first thing people notice when you hand them a pamphlet or brochure is the design. If you’re not conveying a strong & professional message with your graphics, chances are your promotional material will get thrown in the trash.

At ManyPixels, we have experienced graphic designers ready to create the perfect brochure or pamphlet for your business needs. Don’t take our word for it, check out some designs that we’ve created for clients all around the world. Start today and get your first design back within 1-2 business days, 100% risk-free!

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