Folding Style: Star Cross Fold
Subcategory: Cross Folds
Level: Intermediate
Uses: Marketing Collateral, Event Promotion, Product Announcements, Print Marketing

Here’s a creative variation of the Cross Fold—the Star Cross. Cross Folds (used for folded mailers and folded self-mailers) have panels that fold into the center from different directions. The most common Cross Fold is the Square Cross, but there are lots of other variations, like the T-Cross, and of course, the Star Cross that we’re exploring here.

The Star Cross design is a nice one to start out with if you’re looking for a simpler step-in to the category. What makes the Star Cross simpler than some other versions is that it generally folds down into a singular panel configuration. If you have ever studied other versions of the Cross Fold, like the Square Cross, you’ll notice that the panels can open out into many different configurations (clockwise, or up, down, right, left, for example), which is a little more challenging to design for. You have a singular layout decision when designing for the Star Cross (with just one exception – see the idea video below).

The Star Cross folded mailer looks like a star when it’s open and like an envelope when it’s closed—which is achieved through a unique perimeter star shape, scores, and folds. Here’s what the Star Cross dieline looks like:

creative direct mailers
Creative Direct Mailers

The Star Cross has angled panels, so it’s ideal for designs that do not have a lot of written copy, or designs that can use the bottom panel as a glueless pocket to hold an insert that carries the majority of the content. Here’s a really nice example of an event invitation from Gilson. This piece was digitally printed with personalization. The insert was a smart addition to the piece and served as a keepsake event reminder.

folded self mailers
Beautiful Print Marketing and Creative Direct Mail Example

In addition to the unique star shape when unfolded, one of the coolest features of the Star Cross is the tucked (or locked) cover. The top triangular panel is designed to tuck into the deep “V” of the bottom panel to close. The effect is envelope-like, and makes the opening experience pretty special as the “envelope” deconstructs into a star.

The format can be small and sized for mail, or oversized as a catalog wrap or a creative way to deliver an acceptance letter, for example.

The Star Cross Fold Done 4 Ways

The Star Cross is a unique and interesting format, but you may be wondering where it can fit into your marketing mix. Below you’ll find four real-world creative ways to use the Star Cross— including one different way to fold it down.

Star Cross for Marketing and Events:

Sample #1 Gilson / #2: Iseman Design / #3 Harvard Medical School / #4 World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum

The first two examples in the video feature the Star Cross in the same size and mail-friendly proportion. First up is the Gilson sample, which was featured in the image above. It was sent as a personalized custom direct mail invitation to a Lunch & Learn event. I love the use of line art illustration on both sides and how it frames the message on the interior center panel and the insert. The second custom direct mail sample was designed by Iseman Design and was sent by Eaton Roofing & Exteriors as a thank-you for doing business with them.

The third featured sample demonstrates a great use of the format as an oversized carrier with a fundraising letter to potential alumni donors. The creative direct mail piece is really dramatic and stylish in large scale, and yet just as easy to open and experience. With the larger scale, you can definitely get more content on the angled panels. This sample mailed in a branded, oversized envelope.

The fourth example offers an exciting, higher-budget modification of the design. This gorgeous invitation from World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum uses the base perimeter shape, however they added a box score on the panels to create depth for a thick set of inserts, changed the opening order of the panels, and added a Velcro dot to seal, rather than tucking the cover panel. Elegant details like copper foil stamping, specialty papers and a ribbon complete the package. Beautiful! If you’d like to learn more about this invitation design, it was featured in Episode #440 of Fold of the Week.

Love it? Make Your Own Star Cross

So, now that you’ve seen four creative ways to use this fold, would you like to try designing one for yourself? Good! Design and print your own Star Cross Fold here—you can download the template for free and get instant pricing, too.