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How Many Ways Can You Fold a Sheet?

When folding a flyer, brochure, or direct mail piece, do you default to the basic half-fold or letter fold? If so, consider that customers see those folds all the time. Why not stand out with unusual folds that really spark interest? Here are five basic but more unusual folds to get you started:

Z-fold. In the Z-fold fold, the paper is creased into three panels folded in opposite directions so that, from the top edge, it looks like a Z. When opened, the sheet unfolds like a poster. Z-folds are great for displaying information that will be read chronologically or that have images spanning the entire width of the sheet. They are also used for nesting multiple pieces, such as when you want to include a reply envelope.

Accordion fold. Commonly used for maps or instructions, this fold uses a series of parallel folds so that the sheet opens like an accordion. Because a large number of panels can be folded in, accordion folds enable you to take advantage of larger paper sizes and include more information than a standard finished size. Uses include brochures, maps, and instruction panels.

Gate fold. In the gate fold, two sides of the paper are folded in toward the middle like two doors opening and closing. You might use this fold to create a silly greeting card or an invitation featuring doors opening into a grand ballroom. Or you might present information like opening a book. The opportunities for creativity are endless. 

Half-accordion fold. In this fold, the paper is folded in half vertically, then one half is folded vertically again. This is also called an engineering fold. These folds are often used when engineering plans or other documents are tipped into a book. But don’t stop there. Think about site maps, room layouts, and landscape designs. Don’t shrink it up—fold it!

Half-plus-letter fold. This is a combination of the half-fold and the letter fold. In this execution, the paper is folded into four equal sections. Half of the paper is folded equally, then the folded half is tucked into a letter fold. This is great for newsletters since it allows a legal-sized sheet to be folded down into #10 envelope size in a user-friendly way. 

As they say, there is more than one way to fold a sheet. So mix it up. Use different and interesting folds to improve functionality and encourage people to interact with your pieces. 

  • Canon
  • Xerox
  • LM
  • Heidelberg

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