Learn All About Folds & How to Use Them Creatively

Using folds creatively is critical to your design concepts. Folds lay down the order in which your information is delivered for maximum effect. Learning to choose the right fold and making it exciting for the reader is key to a sucessful concept. Illustrated below are the most common folds to give you this critical delivery vehicle for your message.

Half Fold or
4-Page Fold

Double Parallel Fold or
8-Page Parallel Fold

10-Page Parallel

16-Page Parallel

8-Page Map

8-Page Reverse
Map Fold


6-Page Accordion or 6-Page Z Fold


8-Page Accordion or
8-Page Z Fold


10-Page Accordion or 10-Page Z Fold


12-Page Accordion or 12-Page Z Fold


8-Page French


16-Page Broad
Sheet Fold


6-Page Roll Fold
or Letter Fold


8-Page Roll


10-Page Roll


12-Page Roll


Gate Fold or 6-Page
Gate Fold


Close Gate Fold or 8-Page Gate Fold

Close Gate Fold or
8-Page Gate Fold



Folding and Scoring Explained


We’ve all designed a beautiful brochure with dark inks that wrap around from the front cover to the back cover and, up until it was folded, it was perfect and beautiful. Every time you fold paper, the paper can crack and this needs to be addressed in the design process. Planning is the best way to get ideal results. Here are some solutions to avoid cracking.

Always fold with the grain of the paper. Paper fibers act like paper straws and this is called grain direction. Scoring the printed sheets should always be planned for all stocks that are .006 or thicker. It will not eliminate all cracking completely, but scoring will minimize the potential to crack. Thinner papers will crack more compared to thicker papers. A thicker paper will allow for a more gradual fold and less cracking when scored. Varnishes, aqueous coating or UV coating will not stop the fold from cracking. The only way to totally eliminate cracking is to apply a film laminate to the surface. The laminate encapsulates the surface of the paper and will not allow any cracking. Planning is the best way to get ideal results. Keep the grain direction parallel with the fold and never fold across grain. If cracking is a great concern to your design, let’s say because you are using dark inks and full paper coverage, then check with your printer before specifying a paper and let him know that you are concerned. He will offer solutions based on experience to minimize cracking.

Types of Folding


There are several different types of fold that can be produced mechanically. We differentiate between parallel folds and cross folds.

Parallel Fold

The parallel folding techniques are mainly used for processing leaflets and printed advertising materials for a wide diversity of requirements. A parallel fold is always made parallel to the preceding fold.

Cross Fold

Cross folds are primarily used in brochure or book work. A cross fold is made at right angles to the previously made fold. In this way, for example, a 3-break cross fold generates a 16-page signature.


Combined Folding Methods

The two kinds of fold can be combined to meet special requirements. This is referred to as combination folding

Grain Direction

The grain of the paper exerts an important influence on the quality of the fold. The final fold should always be made parallel to the grain. This ensures that the larger part of the fibers in the base paper are not over-stretched. If the fiber texture does burst open, the breakage points are considerably smaller than for a fold at right angles to the grain.



Folding a printed sheet in a regular sequence in order to give it the required shape for finishing.


Producing a linear depression to enable the material to be bent or broken (folded) along the line of the score.


Cutting a chip out of the material to enable it to be bent or broken along the line of the groove.

Full Scoring

The reduction of flexural stiffness through compressing the printing carrier.


Hollow Scoring

When processing coated papers, a hollow score with the corresponding scoring channel produces better results in comparison with a full score. This brochure therefore only covers finishing with the hollow score.

Fold Cracking

Bursting open and tearing apart of the paper texture at the fold seam through loss of strength.

Coating Cracking

Cracks and signs of breakage through localized over-stretching of the paper texture along the folding seam.