Posted By Seamus Barton
The 5 Top Print Folding Techniques
There are many different factors and characteristics that go into direct mail, but did you know that you can also customize your mailer’s folding style? There’s a wide range of print folding techniques to choose from that allow you to create a different and unique experience every time you mail something new to your clients.
Folding is a great way to add another layer of interest to your print material and make them more fun, engaging and interesting to your customers. But how will you know which one is the right one to choose? Today, we’ll go in-depth on the different types of folds, how they work and give you a few suggestions on how you can use them.
Types of Printing Paper Folds
Using a different type of paper fold for your direct mailers could give you a lot of options when it comes to versatility. The best lettershop services in Toronto also offer paper folding services. Paper folding machines can fold between 5,000 and 10,000 sheets per hour, a lot more than your employees could do by hand.
Letter folding machines are capable of producing many different types of paper folds, not just your standard mailers. Here are some common and uncommon paper fold names.
Common Folding Techniques
These are the most common types of folding methods you are most likely familiar with. They are also some of the most affordable options.
1. Half-fold and vertical half-fold
This is the most classic fold, where you simply fold your paper once right down the middle. A standard half-fold will begin with the paper in the landscape orientation and bring the short edges together. A vertical half-fold will start in portrait and results in a taller, thinner document.
Almost everyone has held a trifold brochure in their hand. With the paper in landscape orientation, you fold one third from the left over the centre line, and the right third over the centre in the same manner. A tri-fold will use the left flap as a cover, and the center of the reverse side is the back of the document. Each of the panels will have equal width and height. A tri-fold document will allow you to break up information so it’s more easily processed by your clients.
Tri-folds are good for letters, brochures, and flyers. Vertical half-folds are great for showcasing bulleted lists and in situations where having long columns is needed.
3. Roll fold
A roll fold will have 4 panels of equal size. The main difference is that instead of the two gate panels opening in opposite directions, the gate on the right-hand side will consist of two panels. When you open a roll fold you keep rolling out the right gate until you have four panels. The document will feel like it rolls back up once you close it, which is where it gets its name.
The z-fold is like the tri-fold, except the right flap folds behind the centre panel instead of in front. If you stand a z-fold on a table and view it from above, you will see it makes a z-shape. Z-folds allow you to present one clear image on the inside of the panels. They also work great for letters if the paper is in portrait mode. Next time you receive a letter or bill you might notice it’s in a z-fold.
5. Accordion fold
Also known as a 4-panel fold, an accordion fold is created by changing the direction of each new fold. Then, when you hold out each end it’ll look like an accordion. Although it looks a little different, a 4-panel fold can be one of the most practical folds. It allows you to turn the pages of a document like a book but they will take up less space. Plus, you can make them as long as you want.
These types of folds are best for wide images, as the image can be split between each of the panels to reveal a larger image once it is opened up. They are good for hiding information and slowly revealing it. In a similar way, images can also be gradually revealed using these folds.
Uncommon Folding Techniques
These types of folds are not used as often as the techniques mentioned above, so they can be great for creating visual and tactile interest.
1. Gate folds
Gate folds are a fun option when it comes to folds in printing. They are called gate folds because the flaps swing out, just like a gate on a post.
2. 3-panel gate fold
The process of folding a 3-panel gate fold is similar to making a tri-fold. The main difference is that instead of making 3 panels of equal size, the outer panels will be half the width of the main panel. The result is the two thinner panels closing over the main panel, just like a gate split down the middle.
3. Double gate fold
A double gate fold is also known as a quad fold. You can easily make this fold by creating 4 panels of equal size. Fold your paper like a regular half-fold, then take each panel and make a second half-fold. Once you open the paper you will be looking at a double gate.
4. French fold
A French fold is easy to create. All you need to do is fold the paper in half twice, once horizontally and once vertically. Then you will have a page size of one-fourth of the original while still retaining proper proportions. In general, you only print on the inside of a French fold. You can also choose to stamp or emboss the front panel. This makes it a great option for invitations, posters or direct mail selfmailers. As you open the French fold, the page appears to be getting bigger which makes it exciting.