Folding Style: Gate
Subcategory: Locked Gate
Level: Intermediate
Uses: Announcements, Print Marketing, Fundraising, Event Promotion, Holiday Gate Fold Invitations

This week’s featured format offers a clever modification to the characteristic gate fold format featuring two short panels that fold in toward each other, meeting at the center. The Locked Gate Fold adds a die cut to each short panel—with a shape of the designer’s choice, and a vertical slit in opposing directions. When the panels meet, the shapes slide and lock together to close. The result is an interesting die-cut shape on the cover that slides apart to reveal the interior, and a unique perimeter shape to work with in the layout.

One of the coolest things about a locked gate format is that you’re working with two half shapes that lock together to form one unified shape. Let’s see . . . what comes to mind? How about two halves of a heart? Wings of a butterfly, a triangle or square, you could even go completely asymmetrical with the interlocking shapes—there are no rules.

One of my favorite locked gate formats is the Circle Locked Gate Fold —it’s wonderfully neutral conceptually and can be used for a variety of themes and occasions. Place a logo in the middle, a message, or an image for a high-impact focal point on the cover. Here’s what the Circle Locked Gate Fold dieline looks like:

Locked Gate Fold
Custom Direct Mail: Folded Mailers

The Circle Locked Gate Fold 3 Ways

This is a clever little format, but you may be wondering where it can fit into your marketing mix. Here are three uniquely different real-world creative ways to use the Circle Locked Gate fold:

For Fundraising:

Sample: Verdence Capital Advisors for Sisters Circle /

Michele Welsh of Verdence Capital Advisors created this distinctive design for the Sisters Circle 2020 enVISION 20th Anniversary fundraising campaign. The locked circle shapes trace the form of the zero in the “2020” logo typography, and the imagery bleeds to perfect crossover all the way around. The effect—stylish and engaging. On the inside, the circle shapes feel like the perfect spot to place full-color portraits in circular image boxes that frame the key message on the center panel. The custom direct mail piece was printed on a silky 80 lb gloss coated cover sheet and sent in an envelope.

For Marketing:

Sample: Caitlin Horton, Landmark Creative Co. /

Caitlin Horton, Dublin-based owner of boutique branding firm Landmark Creative Co., designed this Circle Locked Gate self-promotional gate fold brochure as an eye-catching invitation to download their client case studies and to schedule a consultation for their branding, marketing, and design services. The circle shape on the cover slides together to form the words “Do More Good,” which intrigues the recipient to slide the interlocking shapes apart to see what’s inside. The company’s signature orange and warm gray brand colors were combined with full-color photos for a distinctive and playful design. A 100 lb coated cover sheet with soft touch coating gives the piece substance and sensory appeal.

For Event Promotion:

Sample: Chris Gottardo for Amrock, LLC /

This clever “Turn Up Your Volume with Amrock” gate fold brochure is a music-themed invitation for the recipient to stop by a pop-up kiosk for free coffee and treats, and to learn more about Amrock’s services as a leading national real estate solutions provider. The circle shape on the cover creates a record that slides apart to reveal the message and additional music-themed graphics on a field of bold yellow on the interior. An 80 lb coated cover sheet was chosen with a soft touch film on the outside, which gives it a high-quality look and feel.

Bonus: Holiday Tree Locked Gate Idea

Sample: Davidson Belluso /

Surprise! I’ve got one more for you—let’s look at a holiday-themed locked gate format where the locked panels are in the shape of an evergreen tree. Designed by Phoenix, Arizona agency, Davidson Belluso, this holiday card features a “green” environmental concept in the messaging and the materials—using a recycled brown kraft cover weight sheet and soy-based inks. The result is simple, creative, understated, and “Earthy”.

Love it? Make Your Own Circle Locked Gate

So, now that you’ve seen a few ways to use this fold to design creative direct mail are you itching to try it for yourself? Good! Perhaps you want to create gate fold invitations or other types of creative direct mailers. Design and print your own Circle Locked Gate Fold here—you can download the template for free and get instant pricing, too.