Pocket folders are a great way to package and present a variety of materials to your intended audience; whether it’s documents, inserts, CD/DVDs, brochures, booklets, or other items. One of the appeals of pocket folders is their ability to cost effectively enhance your brand or message, since they can be custom printed and produced fairly econimically.
It’s surprising though, how many people use, see, feel, and possess pocket folders, but have no clue how they are made! “Do you have a template?” is a common question we’re asked all the time. To the right is a diagram showing the basic layout of the print-side of a pocket folder. Click the diagram to download a PDF for you to use in whatever graphic design program you have available.
If all you wanted was the PDF, then congratulations – you’re done! BUT if you REALLY want to know more about the pieces and parts or a pocket folder, feel free to keep reading.
Anatomy of a Pocket Folder
Front & Back Panels/Covers: In a “standard” pocket folder, these each measure 9" wide and 12" tall. They are positioned side-by-side along a common folded edge called the “spine.” Occasionally, one might add a “gusset” by adding a double score-line; separating the front and back panels 1/8" or more. In these cases, you should remember that your pockets may require gussets as well. Generally speaking, the gusset of the spine should be at least the sum of the gusset for each pocket. (i.e., two 1/8" gusseted pockets would require a minimum 1/4" gusset for the spine.)
Pockets: With a 9"x 12" pocket folder, the standard pocket size is 9" wide and 4" tall. They are printed on the same side as the Front and Back Covers and fold up from the bottom. When laying out your piece, remember to rotate the artwork 180° so it will be properly oriented on the finished folder. Most die-lines for pockets include a V-notch along the middle to accommodate inserted materials, allowing the folder to properly close. The exactly position and angle of these notches can vary, so if you need "critical position" you may want to consult your print vendor.
NOTE: While a 4" pocket is standard, printers sometimes have access to other “standing die-lines” for things like vertical pockets or rounded pockets. Check with your Sales Representative to see what other options are available without needing to spend extra money on a custom die-line.
Glue Tabs: Most pocket folders have "glued pockets" which are closed on one side by using "tabs." The tabs are created from extra cardstock extended from the Front or Back Cover, as shown in our diagram. The tabs are cut with on a diagonal at the top and bottom, and scored along the face edge of the finished piece. Measuring 1/2" to 3/4", you will want continue your image bleed across the score line, just as you would for any other bleed edge. This will be covered by the actual pocket, but will hide any issues arising from bounce or misregistration anywhere along the manufacturing process.
Pocket Slits: Pockets may have various slits cut into them to hold an assortment of additional materials. The most common of these are Business Card slits; which allow a business card to be presented with the finished packet. Typically these are created as 2 diagonal slits cut into the pocket on opposite corners of where the business card would go, although it’s not uncommon to see 4 slits (1 in each corner). Round semi-circle (or half-moon) slits are sometimes used as well, either in the corners, or along the top and bottom of the positioned card. Long horizontal barbell-style slits or rounded bar slits are also sometimes cut into the top edge of a pocket to hold CD/DVD sleeves or tri-fold brochures.
While this article only covers the most common pocket folder layouts, there are ENDLESS possibilities of standard or custom options available. Feel free to contact any of our helpful and courteous Designers or Sales Representativesfor more information about what types of folders might be helpful to your company or organization.
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