Build an Emotional Connection with Interactive Pop-Ups

by Kevin Rickard, president, Rickard Bindery

Today’s jaded consumers and business customers think they’ve seen it all, so communication professionals need to work a little smarter to build an emotional connection through the printed image. When your message absolutely must be noticed, it’s essential to find the right format that accentuates what you have to say while helping you stand apart from everyday promotional clutter. For today’s consumer audience, one of the most effective formats is an interactive brochure that pops up upon opening.

Give me the facts

In their article 8 Keys to Creating an Emotional Connection Between Products and People, Sam Swisher and Trevor Shepard, founders of the influential product design agency, Woodshop, wrote:

“Fifty percent of every buying decision is driven by emotion. Which, for anyone responsible for bringing a product to market, makes a recent Forrester Research survey a concern. It reported that 89 percent of the respondents felt no personal connection to the brands they buy.”

Swisher and Shepard are experts in how physical motion drives buying emotion. Interactive pop-up folds do indeed provoke interest, and this helps drive emotional connections.

How pop-up folds work

  • Someone holds the printed piece with a hidden pop-up fold.
  • As the piece opens, the pop-up image rises.
  • The physical movement and the visual image drive emotion and reinforce the message.

Lurking undetected within the confines of a closed printed piece, the hidden pop-up image is waiting to spring to life. What looks like a normal brochure quickly transforms into a memorable user experience upon opening. Pop-up folds can be concealed in brochures, self-mailers, saddlestitched booklets, perfect bound books and other print formats. In a world of same-old, same-old communications, pop-up folds are a prime example of the cost- and time-saving recommendations your customers are craving. Properly designed interactive pop-up folds enhance a selling message in a uniquely tactile way.

Fold mechanics

The mechanics behind pop-up folds are easy to understand. A pop-up design starts out as a diecut 4-panel layout with an angled perforation. The pop-up area is pushed inward so when the piece is closed, the pop-up area remains sandwiched between the two folded outer panels. The following are the three main styles of pop-up folds:

  • Basic 4-page: The 4-page pop-up fold brochure is easy to plan and produce and can be used as a standalone brochure or incorporated into perfect bound and saddlestitched products. A notable design characteristic of the basic 4-page style is the “missing corner” when closed.
  • Multiple-panel: This design is where the pop-up is incorporated into a multi-panel gate, accordion or roll-folded piece. Properly designed, the multiple-panel style will temporarily hide the missing corner when fully closed and create intrigue as the piece unfolds.
  • Concealed corner: This double thick, glued-concealed corner design is considered the premium pop-up style because the missing corner is permanently concealed, completely hiding the pop-up image when closed.

Rickard Bindery has helped engineer and produce hundreds of pop-up projects with images ranging from people, mountains, bar charts, wings and grandfather clocks to donkeys, microscopes, kangaroos and even politicians. When thinking how to best promote your customers’ services and products, the best advice we can offer is to let your imagination run wild.

PostPress tech talk

  • Basics: Pop-up folds are interactive diecut pieces that automatically “pop up” when opened.
  • Benefits: Printed products containing pop-up folds drive emotion, and emotion helps drive desired behavior.
  • Variants: A concealed corner pop-up is an extra backing panel formed by a double parallel fold to conceal the missing corner in a standard pop-up design.
  • Max & mins: Max pop-up width is nine inches. The height of the pop-up (from the bottom of the “V” to the top of the pop-up) cannot be higher than the final folded width of the piece or the pop-up will stick out of the side of the product when folded.
  • Shop talk: Angled perforations are necessary. Choose a stock between six and 10 points. Perforation depth is always important, but especially so on thin or thick stock. Intricate diecut patterns could impact feeding of material, reducing production speed and increasing waste.

Kevin Rickard is president of Rickard Bindery. Rickard Bindery serves printers coast to coast and specializes in discovering solutions to challenging bindery jobs. He can be reached at 800.747.1389 or