Tips & Tricks for Designing Folded Maps

Many large maps are folded down to a convenient size. This involves using a sequence of vertical and horizontal folds to reduce the size of the map. The fold lines create a grid of distinct panels, with each panel having the same dimensions (in most cases). Once the map is completely folded, only the front panel and the back panel will be entirely visible.

Similar to the cover of a book, the front and back panels of a map are used to quickly relay the title, topic and other important information about the content. In most cases, the front and back panels also incorporate a colored background and/or creative design features to make the map more eye-appealing.

Extending the background color of the front and back covers so that it bleeds onto adjoining panels will help preserve the intended aesthetics of the folded map

If the design on the front and back panels includes a background color that is different than the color scheme of adjoining panels, it will be necessary to extend the cover's background color slightly so that it bleeds onto the adjoining panels. This will help prevent the content printed on adjoining panels from encroaching onto the front and back panels when the map is folded.

To illustrate this concept, please refer to the image above. This image shows a section of an actual map layout with the bleed set up properly. The pink line around the perimeter represents where the map will be trimmed and the interior pink lines represent where the map will be folded. Notice that the front and back cover of the map has a dark blue background. Also notice that the blue color is not only set up to bleed 1/8" beyond the trim line, it is set up to bleed 1/8" beyond the fold line as well.

For optimal results in the appearance of the front and back covers when folded, it is advisable to extend the blue background color by 1/8" beyond the fold line and onto the adjacent panels. This precaution takes into account any potential paper shifting that may occur during the folding process. By extending the color, even if the fold lines are not perfectly aligned, you can prevent a narrow strip of the artwork on the adjacent panels from appearing on the front and back covers. This extension of the background color helps maintain the desired design and ensures a seamless and cohesive appearance on the covers.

If you need any additional information about laying out your map or setting up the bleed properly, just give Formax Printing a call at 866-367-6221. Or, if you would like a quote, submit our easy quote request from. As always, we look forward to assisting with your next map project!

Take care! Rick

About the Author

Rick Stallings is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Rick is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221 or by submitting our easy quote request form. Rick and the Formax team have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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