Folding types explained and simple tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls | Learning Hub | Fineline Print & Web

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I’d like to talk you through some of the common fold types you can select for your Leaflets and Brochures.

If you’ve never done it before, designing a document correctly so that it can be accurately folded can be a real puzzle.

But it needn’t be.

Whether you just want to find out more about folding or you’re designing a leaflet and you want to get the fold positions right there is something here for you.


I want to help you begin to understand what the common fold types are, why they are used and … some of the pitfalls to avoid if you are designing your own Artwork.

And … if you are getting someone to design your work for you I hope there’s enough information here to help you brief your designer like a print professional!

Just to be clear, I’m not going to be going anywhere near specialist finishing tasks such as “Pharmaceutical Folds” which you’ll see used by drug manufacturers on patient information leaflets.

They are so complex and fill such a small niche they are something for another day.


Even when it comes to ordinary folds, there are many, many different types and not every printer will be able to offer them.

So, what I propose to do here is to look at the most common fold and … their different permutations in a little more detail.


Common Fold types.

  • Single or Half fold

  • “Z” or Concertina fold

  • Roll or Letter fold

  • Gate fold

  • Double Gatefold

  • Double Parallel fold

  • 12-page or Parallel with Roll


1: Single or Half fold





















The most basic fold type: a single sheet is folded in half to provide you with a 4-page document with each of the panels counting as one page.

Most commonly used for Leaflets; Orders of Service and Greetings Cards. 


2: “Z” or Concertina fold


A single sheet which folds down to 1/3rd size and where all the panels are of equal width. If you are designing your own leaflet then this is important to take on board as we shall see when we take a look at its close relation – the Letter Fold.

Typically, this fold type will provide you with a 6-page or 8-page leaflet.

Set up: on a 1/3rd A4 leaflet the panel sizes will all measure 99mm in width.

Most commonly used for Leaflets and Handouts.


3: Roll or Letter fold


Just like the Z fold described above, a Roll Fold leaflets folds down to 1/3rd size and provide 6 or 8 panels of information.

From a design point of view, it is important to remember that not all the panels have the same width. This is because panel number three tucks inside panels one and two and to do this neatly needs to be several millimetres narrower.

Set up: on a 1/3rd A4 leaflet, panels one and two will measure 100mm each and panel three just 97mm. 

If all the panels were of equal width there would not be enough space for panel three to tuck inside and the inside edge will buckle – making it look very untidy.

Most commonly used for Leaflets and Handouts.


4: Gate fold


This still a 6-page leaflet or brochure but the central panel is double the width of those either side of it.

This fold format is ideal when you need a larger panel to display an important graphic and … create a bit of a wow effect simply because it is presented in a different format from most everyday leaflets.

Designers will need to ensure the page widths are set up correctly so that the two outer panels meet perfectly in the middle.

Typically, on an A4 landscape leaflet, the central panel will measure 148mm across and the two panels each side will measure 74mm each. 

Another thing I would recommend you do at the design stage is to print out a sample and check that the image is presented correctly across the face where the two panels come together.

Most commonly used for more upmarket leaflets and brochures and … where more space is required to display larger graphics.


5: Double Gatefold


A double Gate fold will provide you with an 8-page leaflet.

Ideal for documents with a large amount of content where two extra panels are a must. Or … for providing a neat pocket-sized format when the occasion demands.

Design tip: the two outside panels will need to be 1mm narrower so that they tuck in neatly as the leaflet Is folded.


6: Double Parallel fold


Another fold permutation which will provide an 8-page leaflet whether you are using an A4 (landscape) width sheet or … a 396mm extra wide sheet.

Effectively, the sheet is folded in half and then half again.

Design: the panels may look as if they are the same widths – but they’re not. You’ll need to take care to ensure that the widths of two inside panels are adjusted to ensure they tuck in snugly when the leaflet is folded up. 

This adjustment will have to be greater as the stock weight is increased. Thicker card may need two millimetres adjustment whereas a lightweight paper needs only 0.5 to 1mm.


7: 12-page Leaflet


A 12-page leaflet is a sizeable document and will normally involve a single cross fold (folded in half) and then a Concertina or Letter fold to finish – typically to 1/3rd A4.

Design: care needs to be taken to ensure the panels are presented correctly and readable when the leaflet is fully unfurled because it is all too easy to end up with adjacent panels upside down!

Print Production: not suitable with heavyweight papers which will prevent neat flat folds. Ideal Weight for coated stock would be 130gsm.

Ideal for things like an event programme as the fold type allows you to display a map, plan or guide in a much larger format than a booklet could ever permit.


So, there we have it. 

I hope I’ve helped give you a sneak-peek at some of the more common fold types available. A quick search on the net will reveal many more … but would you use them? And … has your regular print provider even got the equipment to do them?

The answer is, probably not, which is why we’ve concentrated on the most common fold types, but I do hope this quick run-through has been helpful and thanks for dropping in,


But before you go …

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