How to Select the Right Presentation Folder

A custom pocket folder adds a professional touch to any presentation. There are a wide range of options available to customize a pocket folder. Different sizes, paper stocks and decoration options make it possible to create a unique and attractive folder that makes a great impression. Simply follow the four easily steps outlined in this guide to design your custom presentation folder.

Step 1: Determine the Folder Size

The size of your folder is determined by the sheet size the folder will hold. The standard folder sizes are based on standard paper sheet sizes.

Selecting a standard folder size is the most economical choice. However, you can create a custom size or shape folder as well.

If you plan to mail the folder, consider the envelope size. Make sure your folder is a little smaller than your envelope.

Step 2: Choose the Folder Style

We have many cutting dies for presentation folders. Here’s just a very small sample of popular styles:

There are several ways your can customize your presentation folder. Pockets can be utilized in different ways depending on your requirements. 

Decision #1: One or two pockets?  Decision #2: Pockets glued on the outer edge or not (flap pockets)?

Once you know the answers to those two questions, you can look at the following options:

Business Card Slits: On which pocket do you want the card slits? What type of card slits to you want?

Box Back: An additional dimension (usually 1⁄4″ or 1⁄2″ on the spine) allows for added capacity

Side Tabs: A tab can be added to the right-hand side. The tab will show when the folder is filled. The standard configuration is a 1⁄2″ extension, one-third cut 

Step 3: Choose the Decoration Process

The decoration process you choose is determined in large part by the artwork that goes on the folder. Offset printing allows for the use of photographs and fine detail. Foil stamping (or hot stamping) is not good for fine details, but it allows for the use of gold and silver foil. This metallic look cannot be replicated with offset printing. 

Following is a review of offset printing, foil stamping, embossing and die cutting.

Offset Printing

A printing process in which the ink is transferred from a plate to a blanket which in turn does the printing. This process allows printing of the fine details such as photographs. When the folder is printed, the entire sheet is printed at one time. This enables you to print on the front, cover, back cover and the pockets for one charge.

Things to consider when preparing artwork for offset printing:

  • Artwork should be set up using Pantone or Four Color Process inks, according to desired final output
  • All images should be high resolution (see artwork preparation section)
  • Printing inks are not opaque. Light colors printed on dark paper can make color matching difficult. The dark color of the paper will show through the ink. If a light color is desired on a dark base, consider foil stamping instead of offset printing.

Foil Stamping (Hot Stamping)

Foil or hot stamping is the process of applying heat and pressure to a metal die to transfer foil onto the surface. Gold and silver foil are the most common, but colored foils are available. 

Things to consider when preparing artwork for foil-stamping:

  • All lines must be at least 1 point in thickness.
  • All type should be at least 10 points in size. Very thin fonts are not recommended.
  • Reverse type should be bold. Fine reverse type has a tendency to fill in when stamped.
  • Eliminate any halftones and screens.


Embossing involves the process of using heat and pressure to press a metal die into the printing surface. The die smoothes out the grain of the  material and raises the surface. When embossing, the die is pressed into the underside of the surface to raise the artwork. 

Things to consider when preparing artwork for embossing:

  • All lines must be at least 2 point in thickness
  • All type should be at least 14 points in size. Very thin fonts are not recommended
  • Reverse type should be bold. Fine reverse type has a tendency to fill in when embossed/debossed.
  • Eliminate any halftones and screens.

Die Cutting 

When die-cutting, a sheet of paper is cut with a die to the shape desired. For example, a design can be die-cut into the cover or pocket of a folder. A die cut requires the use of a metal die. If a unique die cut is requested, a die must be purchased.

Step 4: Select the Folder Paper

Consider your decoration process and the colors you want when selecting the paper for your folder. The most popular paper stocks are the white high gloss and the linens. The white high gloss is the perfect choice for bright colors on the white background. The linens have some rich deep colors that look good with gold or silver foil stamping. Your representative can help you choose from the wide range of paper stocks available to find the one that best meets your needs.

Note: It is not recommended to print a light color on dark colored paper The inks are not opaque and the dark paper color will show through the ink.