Everything you ever wanted to know about paper folding

For anyone wanting a brochure designed, we’ve got one question for you: What’s your type? No, we don’t mean tall, dark and handsome – we’re talking about your folding type! We’re all familiar with folding paper into airplanes and origami from our school days but paper folding plays a huge role in the design of your business print collateral (eg brochures, booklets, flyers, etc) and there are literally infinite variations to choose from. So today, we’re going to explain some of the most common folds available to get your marketing material to the next level.

Our paper folding cheatsheet

4 page documents

Single fold or half fold

This type of fold is mainly used for simple brochures or greeting cards. It is constructed by folding a sheet of paper in half thereby creating 2 equal halves. The inner pages are usually used for the content, while the front and the back pages are used for the cover information such as document title, intro, call to action and contact details.

6 page documents

Roll Fold or Tri-Fold

This is one of the most popular folds in use today, mainly used for mailings and brochures, is similar to the way that a letter is folded for insertion into an envelope and is created by folding a sheet of paper twice into three equal sized sections.

Concertina Fold or Z-Fold

The “Z” folding style is another of the most popular fold styles in use. It has a distinctive a zig-zag shape which is perfect flyers and brochures which have a storyline layout. It is created by folding a page equally twice but in opposing directions. This style isn’t limited to only a 6 page document, it can actually be created with 8, 10, 12 or sometimes more thus enhancing the “story” feel when opened out.

Gate Fold

Gate folds are one of the more dramatic folds available when creating a brochure, however, you may also face potential alignment issues if you plan on using images that cross over the inside flaps. A gate fold can be created by folding left and right edges inward with parallel folds and meet in the middle of the page without overlapping.

8 page documents

Concertina Fold/Accordian Fold

This is the eight page version of the “Z” fold (which, as mentioned above, can be created with any number of folds). It creates a beautiful presentation due to its zig-zag type of fold and opens in the manner of an accordion thus permitting the paper to be extended to its full size with a single pull. Used for travel brochures, story based brochures and direct-mails.

Quarter Fold/French Fold

A quarter fold brochure is created by folding a page in half in one direction and then folding the folded page in half again in the opposite direction (eg folding the original sheet to a quarter of its original size).

Double Gate Fold

A double gate fold is very similar technically to a standard gate fold document with the added step of folding the document in half again towards the centre. This means that now you have a standard cover page (not split down the middle as with a traditional gate fold) however the dramatic split element is still present once the document is opened.

Double Parallel Fold

The double parallel fold is created using a longer single sheet that is first folded in half and then folded in half again in the same direction which gives a total of 8 pages. The two inside panels are slightly narrower than the two outside panels. This fold is popular for programs and promotional pieces.

12 page documents

Concertina Letter Fold

This fold is popular for maps, programs and promotional pieces. It can be created by first folding the page in half lengthwise and then proceeding with a typical concertina fold which can segment into as many sections as allowable by the length of the sheet.

Katerina Przita
katerina@easternbloc.com.au

Kat specialises in branding, corporate identity and web design with a special love for illustration and infographic design.

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