Choosing the Right Fold for Your Brochure
One of the first decisions to be made when planning your brochure design is the type of fold to use. It is important to keep in mind your purpose and also the limitations associated with each folding option when deciding which one is right for you before getting your brochures printed. Below is a guideline of brochure folds available along with advantages and disadvantages of each.
Uniquely-sized Fold Options
The oversized folds for brochures have the advantage of fitting perfectly for that unique purpose. They also come with the disadvantage, though, of being unable to fit in a brochure rack and are not easily mailed.
Half fold - This fold works well for when you need lots of space for a large spread. With this design, you can create a layout that will not be interrupted by fold creases.
Accordian fold - The accordion folds a larger piece of paper in a zigzag pattern of four or more panels. This fold provides for an interesting presentation, but it also has trouble staying closed.
Roll Fold - A rolled up pamphlet or certificate sends a message of importance. You can even hold it closed with a fancy ribbon or wax seal for a royal style.
Letter-sized Fold Options
Letter-sized brochure folds easily fit into brochure racks and work well as direct mail pieces. The only limitation to these fold options is that it can be difficult to get a viewer to open the brochure.
Tri (Letter) Fold - Certainly the most common, the tri-fold involves dividing the paper into three even sections. First the right and then the left panels are folded over a middle section. Because of the way the flaps unfold, the letter fold is great for unveiling your presentation in steps.
Z Fold - The shorter version of the accordian fold, the Z-fold contains three panels folded in the shape of a Z. This folding option works well when you want to lead the reader to open the rest of the brochure, since you can start the message on the cover panel and wrap the text to the inside.
Complex Fold Options
The more complicated folds can be difficult to layout in your design program and are more suited for a specific use. However, the double parallel and French folds can save money since they only need to be printed on one side.
Double Parallel Fold - This fold involves dividing the paper into two wide and two small panels. The small panels located on the right side of the page are folded inside of the two wide panels on the left side to create a complicated half fold. You can keep one side of the paper blank or use it for a large graphic such as a map, chart, or graph.
French Fold - In the French fold, the page is halved and then halved again perpendicular to the first fold, like a homemade greeting card. This fold can work well for a promotional newsletter, since the full page spread when opened provides lots of space to work with.
Double Gate Fold - Make your brochure stand out with the double gate fold, in which the two side panels are folded toward the middle panel so they open like a gate, leaving a 1/8” gap to avoid buckling when the final fold is made. The brochure is then folded in half again for a convenient size. This fold provides for a very impressive presentation and is great when you need to "wow" your customers.
When choosing the right fold for your brochure printing, keep the advantages and disadvantages in mind. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each fold will help you better match your purpose to the folding option.