Types of Folds
Folding panel sizes
A letter or tri-fold brochure has three panels. The two outside panels are the same size and the panel which folds into the brochure is ⅛” shorter. This type of fold is known as a letter fold, because most letter or brochures which fold and get inserted into a #10 envelope use this fold. When folding an 8.5”x11” sheet size, the two common panel sizes are 3.6875” for the outside panels and 3.625” for the panel which folds in to the fold.
Z Accordion Fold
The Z fold and an accordion fold are very similar to each other. Each panel is the same size, but they do not fold into each other. Instead, the sheets are folded back to back making the final piece look like the letter “Z,” for a three panel fold, when viewed from the top, and an accordion for a four or more panel folds.
Double Parallel Fold
To create a double parallel fold, take a sheet of paper, fold it in half horizontally and then fold it horizontally again. Many times people will leave all four panels the same size with this type of fold, but this can lead to the inside folds protruding from the finished piece. The correct way to design a double parallel fold is to have all of the panels a slight bit smaller than the front panel.
You simply fold a sheet of paper in half to create a half fold.
Closed Gate/Double Gate
A closed gate or double gate fold design will give your print project a professional look. This type of fold has two inside panels folding into the outside two panels which creates the operation of a gate when the piece is opened. It’s very important to pay attention to the panel sizes when you design this type fold. When creating a closed gate/double gate fold, each panel should be slightly smaller than the next.
Similar to a half fold, both panels of a pocket folder are the same. If the pocket folder you’re designing will have a finished size of 9”x12” and has either one or two pockets with the standard size of 4”, the flat size upon which you should base your design is 18”x16”.
The aforementioned folds are the most common folds used in offset and digital printing. If you have any questions regarding the design of a printed piece, please contact your salesperson. It’s a lot easier to start with the correct information rather than having to go back and change the artwork afterwards.