New-school paper folding

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Back in grade school, we were taught two simple ways to fold an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper: hot-dog style (the long fold), and hamburger style (the short fold). No matter what the folds are called, though, there are many more interesting and useful ways to fold paper than just these two! Here are some of the most common paper folding techniques:

These folds are most often seen in brochures, maps, menus, and so forth, but they can be applied to most any printed piece. Have you ever seen a single-fold business card? Instead of just one or two sides to display information, you could have four times the space – with basic information about your business on the front and back, and a special offer or call to action on the two inside panels. Or how about a gate-fold party invitation, or a tri-fold direct mail piece?

Paper folding isn’t limited to these more common configurations, though. Like with origami, there are endless ways to fold paper to fit each unique design or circumstance. Take this wedding invitation, for example:

The front panel has a simple white background, but the inside panels have patterned backgrounds. I folded the invitation differently so that you see the patterns before you even start to unfold it. The added visual interest of these patterns makes a nice frame for the announcement on the front of the invitation.

Have a question relating to paper types, textures, folding techniques, or printing? Post it in the comments below, and I will do my best to answer!

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

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