What is a Z Fold Card?

You’ve probably seen Z Fold Cards before, particularly if you’ve ever picked up a complimentary information pack at a public services building - or been handed complimentary promotional material directly. Z Fold Cards are a lesser known, but frequently used invention. 

Many of us have a few in our homes without realising, and they’ve grown in popularity as a marketing tool for displaying clear information in a compact way since their initial invention during the late 1980s. But what are Z Fold Cards, and where do they originate?

What is a Z Fold Card?

Put simply, a Z Fold Card is a foldable guide made from paper or card. The Z Fold Card has become highly influential in all forms of compact information display, and many companies now create variations on the Z Fold Card format for those industries who need to convey lots of knowledge without burdening readers with endless sheets of paper. They can also make for an attractive and interesting display tool.

History of Z Fold Cards

Z Fold Cards are the invention of travel writer George McDonald. Designed in the late 1980s, McDonald travelled extensively for his work with British Airways and often found himself struggling with bulky maps and travel documents when planning his trips. He happened on a more convenient solution during one such trip, and first presented the Z Fold Card to the public in 1992. Since this early adoption, Z Fold Cards have developed to become even more significant as a marketing, promotional and communications tool.

Making Z Fold Cards

The Z Fold Card industry now features numerous competitors around the world, though all have their roots in the original inspiration of the traditional fold-out map format – now replicated and adjusted to a concertina-line card effect for ease of use and transportation. Whilst they are usually rather small, some companies are willing to provide custom sizing to suit the needs of their clients. Z Fold Cards generally contain up to approximately 72 pages of information.

Future of Z Fold Cards

While Z Fold Cards might not seem like the most technologically savvy invention, they have helped to push marketing technology to the forefront of many people’s minds. Z Fold Cards have featured elements such as promotional QR codes and augmented reality to provide a more immersive experience – not bad for such a seemingly humble piece of marketing kit. Z Fold Cards are used by everyone from governmental departments to start-ups as a means of carrying information in a pocket-size and easily accessible manner, which gives them a surprisingly long shelf-life. Z Fold Cards are flexible, and ideally suited for today’s fast-paced, information-laden age.

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