Learn About the Double Gatefold

folded up newspapers
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In double gatefolds, there are three parallel folds. The left and right edges of the paper fold and meet in the middle, without overlapping, along a center fold.

Some menus might use a double gatefold or a modified version where the outer panels are one-half to one-quarter the size of the inner panels. Advertising pieces that double as posters, some brochures, and inserts in books or magazines use this style of fold.

The basic gatefold doesn't have the middle fold so that there is one large middle panel and a smaller panel on either side that fold in and meet in the middle; however, the term gatefold may be used to describe the basic or the double gatefold. Examples: A double gate fold might be used in the middle of a magazine as a tip-in for a fold-out center spread.

Sizing and Folding a Double Gatefold

The outer panels (the ones that fold into the middle) are usually 1/32" to 1/8" smaller than the inner panels (the ones covered by the panels that fold in) to allow for proper folding and nesting.

Using an 11 x 17 sheet size for our example, here's how to size the panels for an 8-panel double gatefold:

  1. Take the length (width) of your sheet of paper and divide by 4: 17 / 4 = 4.25 This is your starting panel size.
  2. Add 1/32" (.03125) to the starting size: 4.25 + .03125 = 4.28125 This is the size of your two middle panels.
  3. Subtract 1/32" (.03125) from your starting panel size: 4.25 - .03125 = 4.21875 This is the size of your two smaller end panels.

For a 6-panel gatefold (single wide panel in middle), simply double the result of step 2 to get the size of the middle panel.

Variations and Other 6-8 Panel Folds

As described above, the basic gatefold is a variation that gives you 6 panels. A double gatefold with much smaller end panels (they fold in but don't meet in the middle) is another variation.

Note that a 6-panel fold may be described as a 3-panel while an 8-panel may be described as being a 4-panel layout. 6 and 8 refer to both sides of the sheet of paper while 3 and 4 are counting 1 panel as being both sides of the sheet. Sometimes "page" is used to mean a panel.

See Folding a Brochure for measurements in inches and picas for three different sizes of double gatefolds.