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What is wrap-around folding?

The wrap-around folding, also known as the tri-fold (in its simplest version), is commonly used for multi-page advertising brochures.

To create the popular tri-fold, the sheet is folded inwards twice: once on each side, dividing it into three sections of approximately equal width and resulting in six pages. It can also be folded three or four times (resulting in an eight- and ten-page wrap-around folding respectively).

When preparing the print data for a fold of this style, you need to know in advance which pages will go inside the booklet and which will go outside.

The reason is that they should be slightly narrower than the other pages, otherwise the paper would fold when folded, making the final product look unattractive, unattractive and unprofessional. The more pages there are, and especially the more pages that are folded inwards, the narrower they should be.

Suppose a flat, unfolded sheet of a six-page tri-fold. The top part contains pages five, six and one. The left-hand page, i.e. page five, is the one that will be folded inwards first and should therefore be slightly narrower. The general recommendation is to reduce its width by about two millimetres. If you are working with A4 sheets to create a DL-format booklet, subtract three millimetres, resulting in a width of 97 mm for the narrow page and 100 mm for the other two.

To make an eight-page roll-folded flyer, you fold from the left edge to the right to the centre of the sheet, then the folded part to the right again in the centre, and finally the right flap to the left over the other pages. The first page on the left should be four millimetres narrower and the second page on the left two millimetres narrower.

What is wrap-around folding used for?

As you might expect, the wrap-around folding is used especially for tri-fold brochures, although it is also possible to find this type of folding on maps, wedding invitations, among others.

For products such as invitations and menus, a higher grammage is used and to make the wrap-around or zig-zag folding look better, a fold is first made.

What other types of folding exist besides wrap-around folding?

Although it is very common to find wrap-around folding in different print products, there are also other types of folding methods that are good to know in case we want to take them into account for our projects.

Single or half fold

Simple brochure fold. Wrap-around folding
Simple Folding

This is the simplest type of fold, where the sheet is folded in half once. For example, if you take an A4 sheet and fold it in half, you get an A5 folded leaflet. For this reason, it is often called a half-fold.

Z-fold or Concertina fold

Accordion or z-fold.
Accordion or Z-fold

An accordion-folded brochure (also known as a zig-zag or z-fold) looks very much like an accordion, especially when it has more than 6 pages and, depending on its size, can have up to twelve pages.

Each page will be the same size and the brochure will open as one long document, allowing the information to flow from one page to the next.

Gateway fold

Door folding, example.
Door folding

This type of booklet usually has two parallel folds: the left and right pages are folded inwards so that they meet in the middle. It looks like two doors that open outwards to reveal the larger panel underneath. A folded door leaflet can be any size, but its final size will be half the size of the original fold.

As you can see, in addition to the wrap-around folding, there is a wide variety of folding types, using one or the other will depend on our tastes and the type of project we want to carry out.

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