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VCOM 65/165 :: Electronic Prepress

Folding and Scoring

Kit Hinrichs, of Studio Hinrichs and formerly of Pentagram, and Trish Witkowski, foldfactory.com co-wrote and produced Sappi Fine Paper North America’s 4th edition of The Standard, Scoring & Folding. To hear Webinar… “In the Groove: Scoring and Folding Creatively” click here. To see a 1 minute folding demo video click here and scroll down.

Folding templates are available from foldfactory.  The webinar includes 1 free InDesign fold template. Create a free user account and enter the coupon code sappiv4 at registration = 1 point in your account, which is good for one custom template download—a $10 value! When your account is activated, click Build Templates, then click Build Templates Online, and you’re up and running. You can save and manage as many templates in your account as you want — you are not charged a point until you click the Build button to download the template.
Q&A after the webinar
Q. On the bound-in folded samples in The Standard, do the letters inside refer to compensation panels? (The A, B, C, etc.)
A. The letters on the folded samples indicate folding sequence. The technique is commonly used by printers; and if you apply it correctly, no one will confuse your folding intent. First fold your piece, then unfold it and lay it out flat. Mark the first fold and surfaces of the two panels that touch with letter “A”. Make the next fold, and label the panels that touch with “B.” Follow the process with C, D, E, etc., until the piece is folded. If you’ve done it correctly, you should be able to unfold it and hand it to someone and watch him or her fold it right back up.
Q. Guidelines: When does a folded project go from standard to difficult or specialty?
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A. A fold longer than 30 inches becomes large format; and if one folded dimension is less than two inches, it’s small format. Both require special machinery.
– Accordions with more than six folds, because most folding machines have six plates. This means anything above six parallel folds will either involve more equipment or hand folding.
– Roll folds with more than five panels, gate folds with a gap of two inches or more, or gates with panels that overlap less than 0.25 inch or with no overlap at all. The panels can nick each other, which increases spoilage and difficulty.
– Very heavy or very light sheets, folds on the diagonal, odd shapes, curved edges—all of these make your project more difficult.

If you suspect something might be out of the ordinary, ask. You might be surprised at what is achievable. A lot of designers assume certain things will be very expensive when they aren’t (and sometimes they are!).
Q. Where to obtain the United States Postal Service (USPS) First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing template
A. http://pe.usps.com/mpdesign/mpdfr_mda_lookup.asp.
Q. Should design student’s include folding in their portfolios?
A. Folding exposes a lot about a designer’s skills. Can s/he allocate content to different fields and create a visual experience that communicates a message? Can s/he manage the flow of information, deal with readability, and handle technical production issues? Each folding style offers a different user experience, and the ability to choose the right fold, and lay out the content in an appropriate manner is a more sophisticated skill than designing flat pieces. To try to address this issue, Trish developed a curriculum supplement for graphic arts education programs called Folding for the Graphic Arts: A Teacher’s Handbook available at the foldfactory store.
Q. How does one go about finding printers that are capable of these more interesting, exotic folds?
A. There are some really great specialty finishers in the world, but the question is more often, how many are you going to produce? If you are producing smaller quantities, most of the time the really exotic specialty folds are hand folded, so as long as the printer is skilled enough to help you set up the file correctly, it’s getting printed and hand finished, so no special equipment is necessary. On the flip side, you want to be sure you’re working with a printer who wants to do that kind of work – it can be very stressful and time consuming for a company that doesn’t normally stray too far from standard fare, and they may feel pressured to try to make it happen for you. So, if you have something really special, I would hunt out the higher-end commercial print shops in your area, as they may have more experience with the unique specialty work. If you’re working in high quantities, contact foldfactory trish@foldfactory.com and we can put you in touch with the specialty binderies that can automate the process.