A tri-fold leaflet you would assume indicates ‘tri’ or 3 folds, but this is not the case. This type of document only has 2 folds, but it does create 3 panels each side. So if you take an A4 sheet then fold twice down to a third A4, which gives you 3 page panels per side. This type of document is very popular as it has a front cover, a back cover with flap and an inner spread, so it lends itself to a mini booklet.
This is also referred to as a 6pp DL, or 6 page DL. The ‘DL’ is a reference to a leaflet which is sized at 210mm high x 99mm wide which is exactly a 3rd of an A4 sheet.
There are two ways of folding a tri-fold leaflet, either a ‘Roll fold’ or a ‘concertina or ‘Z Fold’. A Roll fold ‘tri-fold leaflet is the most common. This is when the flap panel is folded in a ‘rolling’ over manner to close the document, if you look at the profile edge then you’ll see the document is almost in a roll shape.
The ‘Z’ fold is when the document folds back on itself and creates a ‘Z’ shape profile. Whilst a Roll fold is the most common, some customers prefer a ‘Z’ fold as it has employs two front covers.
Does the artwork for a ‘roll’ fold leaflet differ from a ‘Z’ fold?
Yes. A roll fold leaflet has to have the flap slightly shorter by a few millimeters in order to sit comfortably inside the other page after its folded. We suggest that the flap is 3mm shorter to accommodate this and to avoid it bulking out. An A4 document is 297mm wide, so the front and back panels (or pages) are 100 mm wide and the flap is only 97mm.
A concertina or ‘Z’ fold is slightly different as there is no issue with any pages sitting inside of each other so all pages are the same width. An A4 sheet is 297mm wide, so each panel (or page) is 99mm wide. You will need to be mindful of what pages of your design you decide are for the front covers. See this diagram for how you need to set out your artwork.
What material is best?
A common paper thickness of this type of folded leaflet is around the 150gsm – 170gsm or less. Any thicker and there is a risk that the folds will crack the material, especially if the design of the document has a heavy ink coverage and uses dark colours across where the folds need to be.
Its possible to reduce the amount of cracking by creasing the document fist before folding, but where there is dark heavy ink across the folds there is always the likelihood of some cracking.
Dean Williams is a design and marketing blogger working for Print-Print Limited, promoting business and building brands through quality print marketing. If you’re interested in small business promotion then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org