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Brochure Folding Ideas

Order of Brochure Panels and Calculating Their Sizes

We offer a variety of folding styles to choose from and can easily accommodate custom folds so you always get the right fold for the right project. No matter which one you choose, it’s important to remember the first page of your brochure file must host your front cover panel. Below, you’ll find fold examples, panel guidelines and considerations for calculating panel sizes.

Tri-Fold

This is our most commonly-ordered fold. Keep in mind that when creating your brochure design, it’s not advisable to panels the same size. The panel of the inner fold needs to be shorter than the other two panels so the brochure stays flat when closed. There needs to be enough space for the other fold to nest neatly within it.

To calculate the cover and middle panel size:

  • Divide the width of your unfolded brochure by three
  • Round that figure to the nearest 1/32″
  • Example:
    • 11” (unfolded brochure width) / 3 = 3.6667”
    • Rounded to nearest 32nd = 3.6875”

To calculate the last panel:

  • Subtract 1/16″ from the cover and middle panel size
  • This allows the panel to fold in without bulging
  • Example:
    • 3.6875” (cover and panel size) – 0.625” (1/16″) = 3.625”

This type of fold is ideal for communicating a lot of information. Most commonly used for menus, explanation of products or services, vacation package information, etc.

Gate Fold

The gate fold brochure has three panels: two cover panels and one middle panel. The cover folds in to meet in the middle, hence the “gate” name.

Panel sizes are calculated quite easily:

  • Divide the sheet width by two to find the middle panel size
  • The gate panels (or two front covers) will each measure half of the middle panel
  • The covers will be positioned on the left and right of the middle panel
  • Example:
    • 11” (sheet width) / 2 = 5.5”
    • 5.5” (middle panel size) / 2 = 2.75” (size of each front cover)

This type of fold is often used for spotlighting one product or service with a dramatic opening.

Closed Gate Fold

The closed gate fold is basically a gate fold that is folded vertically in half. This creates four panels to work with. The front panels of the gate will need to be shorter by 1/16” each to accommodate that extra fold.

This type of fold is best used for complex presentations or highlighting a small number of products or services.

Z-Fold

The Z-fold gets its name from the way it looks when you view it from the top. Itʼs created by alternating the folds back and forth with only three panels. This fold is a great alternative to the tri-fold. The panels are usually the same size but can be designed with varying sizes for a stepped effect.

This type of fold is ideal for communicating a lot of information. Most commonly used for menus, explanation of products or services, vacation package information, etc.

Single Fold

This fold can be done straight down the center of the page (half fold) or it can be off-center to create an overlap or stepped effect.

This type of fold is used for simple presentations or to feature up to two products or services.

Accordion Fold

Similar to the Z-fold, the accordion fold panels are usually the same size. Accordion folds are used for brochures with more than three panels and up to 10. It is recommended to have a thinner stock if you will have more than five panels. This will ensure the brochure stays flat when closed.

This type of fold is perfect for chronological information or maps.

French Fold or Quarter Fold

The French fold is also referred to as the right angle fold or quarter fold. It is accomplished by folding the brochure in half and then folding in half again perpendicularly. This creates four equal-sized panels.

This type of fold is ideal for graphic-heavy designs, posters and maps.

Roll Fold

The roll fold, also referred to as the barrel fold, has a similar concept to a tri-fold. It is done by folding inward, continuing in the same direction three or four times. This results in four or five panels to work with. Just like a tri-fold, the inner panels are slightly smaller in size and increase with each subsequent fold. The standard size for a roll fold begins at 8-1/2″ x 14”.

To calculate the panel sizes:

  • Divide your page width by four
  • Add .0625” to your page width to get the width of the two outermost panels
  • Subtract 3/32” (.09375”) from that width to the width of the next panel width
  • Subtract another 1/16” (.0625”) from that width to get the width of the smallest panel

This type of fold will be suitable for menus, step-by-step guides or informational pieces.

Double Parallel Fold

This fold is made by folding the paper in half and then folding in half again, creating two parallel bi-folds with one sheet. It results in four one-sided panels or eight two-sided panels. The standard size for a double parallel fold begins at 8-1/2″ x 14”.

For the fold to line up accurately, the inside panels must be shorter than the outer-facing panels. To do this:

  • Divide your width by four
  • Add .03125” to get the size of your outer panels
  • Subtract .0625” from the outer panel size to get the size of the inside panels

This compact-sized fold can be used to showcase several products and services or for a poster or map.

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