Many customers and potential customers have asked us a variety of questions regarding leaflet printing and how they should Design Leaflets based on the types of folds that are offered. Although it seems very complex at first (we had some trouble as well, it's completely normal), once you get your head around it, it is actually quite simple. The very first thing to remember is that the format that you need to pick in Zenprint's configurator is the open (unfolded) format of your leaflets.
Types of Leaflet Formats
We have decided to dedicate this blog post to a practical example of all the folding types that we offer, and what you should pay attention to when designing your artwork. The basis for all the examples will be an open (unfolded) leaflet format of DIN A4 (21x29.7cm). We recommend that you keep a couple of A4 sheets (ideally scrap paper, keep the environment in mind!) next to your throughout this article, so that you can reproduce the different types of folding. This will help you visualize where to place pages in your artwork file.
So, let's go through all our folding methods one by one, starting with Single Fold. Please note that Front Cover refers to the first page of your folded leaflet, in its folded state (i.e. the front page of your folded leaflet). Back Cover refers to the last page of your folded leaflet, i.e. the back page of the folded leaflet.
1. Single fold
As its name indicates, single-fold leaflets can simply be seen as a piece of paper folded in half, yielding two different and equally-sized parts on the paper. So all in all, you're left with a folded leaflet with each of the 4 resulting pages measuring 14.85x21cm.
When designing it's very important that you pay attention not to place any text or images too close to the folding line (count at least 5mm to be safe). You should also make sure that your content is placed in the right place in your artwork, so that the pages make sense. See the example below. This holds true for all types of folding.
2. Letter fold
Letter-fold leaflets are folded two times (instead of once) and are therefore each side of the A4 sheet is constituted of 3 almost equally-sized parts. It is called letter-fold because the leaflets are folded much the same way posted letters are. This is probably the most intuitive way to fold a leaflet, which would explain why it is so popular.
After folding you are left with 6 pages in total, two of which measure 9.7cm in width, and 4 of which measure 10cm in width, all with a height of 21cm. The horizontal dimensions of the pages (their width) vary depending on whether you place the cover on the left or on the right. Note that the width of 9.7cm is for the page that is folded inward first. It is important that you place your content in the right place, to avoid that once printed the pages are not where you want them to be (e.g. what was supposed to be your front cover is actually your back cover). Refer to the example below for a visual representation of the pages.
3.Zigzag fold (2 fold)
The zigzag fold thanks its name to the shape that the leaflet takes when looked upon from the top: like a zigzag (obviously). The process of repeatedly opening and closing the leaflet basically looks like playing the accordion. When the paper is folded twice, you get a zigzag leaflet with 3 parts.
Refer to the image below for the positioning of your pages in your artwork (which is quite complex for Zig Zag folding). Just Like with Letterfold, each page measures 9.9x21cm.
4. Zigzag fold (3 fold)
This folding method is the same as above, but with an extra fold, totalling 3 folds and 8 pages (each of which measures 7.4x21cm). Since zig zag folding can get tricky, especially when you keep adding folds, it is important to visualize how to place your pages on your artwork file. Refer to the image below to see how to place your pages.
5. Parallel fold
This type of folding also yields a leaflet that has 3 folds in total, and a total of 8 pages that measure 7.4x21cm. For this type of folding, the sheet of paper is first folded in half like a single-fold leaflet, then folded in half again (in parallel). So basically a parallel fold leaflet is a single fold leaflet folded in half an additional time.
Parallel folding is definitely one of the more complex types of folding, so go ahead and reproduce it to help you visualize how to place pages in your artwork. Or just have a look at the image below.
6. Window fold
The window fold owes its name to the fact that folding and unfolding it looks a bit like opening and closing a window in your house. There are a total of two folds, and 6 pages in the leaflet. Window fold is the only case in which the dimensions of the individual pages are not identical for all pages. Four of the pages (the pages that fold) measure 7.4x21cm, while the 2 remaining pages measure 14.8x21cm.
You can have a look at the image below to ensure that you properly place content in your artwork in case window folding is what you need.
Now that we have cleared all this up, it should be easier for you to engineer and design your leaflets. Although we referred to an open (unfolded) format of DIN A4 for this article (for reasons of availability and simplicity), Zenprint actually offers more standard formats from DIN A2 to DIN A5. Of course, Zenprint also allows you to select custom open formats for your leaflets, in case you want your folded leaflets to have a specific dimension. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that the custom format that you need to enter in our configurator, is the custom format of the unfolded leaflet that you want. So there's some reverse engineering involved here, but it is very simple. Let's say you want a leaflets that measures 10x10cm once folded, and has window fold. That means that you will need to order a custom open format of 20x10cm. If a leaflet with parallel fold and a format of 10x10cm in its folded state is what you want, then you will need to order a custom open format of 40x10cm. See, easy peasy!
Frankly, except for the trickiness associated with determining the right open format for your leaflets, and knowing where to place your content in your artwork, designing and printing leaflets is exactly like printing flyers. But you now know how to overcome these difficulties, so go ahead and configure!
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