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Fantastic Folds: 6 Direct Mail Folds to Try in 2022

Direct mail volumes are up, returning to and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels. And it’s no surprise that marketers are putting more of their dollars in direct mail; with digital advertising prices going up, direct mail has become the more cost-effective choice. And it also performs better — direct mail response rates are 5 to 9 times higher than any other marketing channel. 

2022 is just getting started, and marketers are already planning and executing some attention-grabbing direct mail campaigns. Trends for this year include more interactivity, increased personalization and unique folds. Expect direct mail campaigns that break the mailer mold.

We were particularly inspired by the recent PaperSpecs webinar New Year, New Folds, featuring Trish Witkowski, founder of Foldfactory. If you have yet to encounter Trish or Foldfactory, you’re in for a treat. Trish is the expert on folded mailers and other marketing materials, and she has a true passion for her subject matter. Her Fold of the Week video series has nearly 600 episodes, each featuring what she deems a “super-cool fold,” and her site even has a template builder to help designers recreate the folds she shares. 

Trish’s recent webinar includes some of her current favorite folds, and we definitely recommend that you watch it. It also reminded us that Foldfactory is a treasure trove of fantastic folds, so we dug into the archives and chose 6 folds we’re excited to try this year. Trish may have shared some of these folds years ago, but they’re still classics and worth a look if you’re craving fold inspiration. Have fun!

Simply Brilliant Hinged Card Mailer

What’s behind door number 1? What about door number 2? This mailer is essentially two pieces of paper glued together, but don’t let the simplicity fool you — with the right creative and content, this fold makes for serious interactivity. 

See how the hinge works

Brilliant! Folded Mailer with Self-Tipped-On Coupon

A tri-fold self-mailer seems pretty standard, but this one has a fun detail. The tipped-on coupon is actually micro-perfed into one of the panels and glued to another in such a way that as you open the mailer, the coupon tears itself. We can see using this not only for coupons but for loyalty cards, business cards, or referral cards. 

Tear that coupon

Easy Pocketed “Passport-style” Mailer with Personalization

Opening on the vertical to reveal a pocket that contains a brochure, this is another deceptively simple mailer. We can see choosing this tri-fold housing over a regular envelope for high-end communications that need to stand out in the mailbox. Bonus: the housing provides ample room for additional creative and messaging. 

Learn how the pocket is created

Hybrid Roll Fold Mailer with Accordion Section

We love a hybrid fold! This one seems like it’s going to be a standard roll fold, but the additional accordion fold inside adds an element of surprise. Imagine pairing this form with complementary creative — an image or message that is “hidden” — then revealed by the accordion pop-out. 

Unroll, unroll, expand

Creative Door Drop Invitation with Interactive Panels

A door drop meant to be dropped at the hotel room doors of attendees at an event, this piece opens as a two-panel piece, but inside are four peel-and-reveal peek-a-boo panels. The interactivity of this piece lends itself to so many applications, and we can easily see this being used in a self-mailer as well. 

Prepare to play peek-a-boo

Two Simple Glued Coupon Mailers!

Two self-mailers, one small and one large, that are folded to look like envelopes. Inside are micro-perfed coupons that stand up as you unfold, and the magic of this piece is that no tip-ons are required — everything is printed one sheet of 100 lb. Accent Opaque Cover. 

See how it’s done

Okay, we said six, but here’s one more fun one (inspired by a Foldfactory fold) that our parent company Sylvamo recently sent out. It’s a rolling knot fold that explains the origins and pronunciation of Sylvamo and provides information on our core principles of responsible and sustainable paper production. 

Happy folding!