Folding 102

origami bird

This is the second part of our post of folding in the bindery process.

Please visit our templates page to download’s easy to use templates for folding guidelines on your next brochure, flyer or even hang tag job.


Parallel Fold – the first fold that is made is always considered a parallel fold. Additional parallel folds occur when the piece continues through the machine in the same direction, continually reducing its overall length with each subsequent fold.

Right-angle fold – achieved by changing the direction of travel through the machine by 90 degrees, then continuing to fold the piece in the other direction.

Half fold – also called: 4 page fold. An example of this would be greeting cards and booklets.

Letter fold – also called: Tri-fold, C-fold. an example of this would be brochures, flyers or self mailers.

Roll fold – also called: Barrel fold. An example of this would be schedules, menus or brochures.

Accordion fold – also called: “Z” fold, zig-zag. An example of this would be a letter or invoice.

Double parallel – a long sheet folded in half, then in half again in the same direction. An example of this would be 14″ x 8.5″ brochure or self mailer.

Open Gate fold – this is achieved by folding the left quarter and the right quarter of a flat sheet in towards each other, meeting the middle. Common uses for an Open Gate fold are the utilization of a crossover. An example of this would be greeting cards.

Closed Gate fold – To perform Closed Gate fold, you begin with the Open Gate described above, then parallel fold the piece one more time in the center where the left and right front panels meet. It is important to note that a Closed Gate fold requires a “gap” between the left and right panels in order to fold pr0perly. This should be kept in mind if a crossover is intended for those panels. The gap may vary in size from 1/8″ up to 1/4″, depending on the weight of the stock used. An example of the fold would be high-end brochures.