Culture, direct mail

You Gotta Know How To Fold ‘Em

You know you’ve been COVID-locked down and masked up waaaaay too long when you have time to dissect a napkin fold. But there it is, lying before me in our favorite Thai restaurant, “Green Basil” in Vernon Hills, IL. –a beautifully constructed paper napkin. It is neatly folded and tucked to a soldier position at the side of my placemat.

I am captivated. Why?

Well, as a direct mail designer, I know the importance of format. As I was once told early in my career, by a great, professional copywriter, Chris Tomlinson, Toronto, “Before you can write good copy, you have to learn how to fold.” This, and a lot of other good advice is in my book, Many Happy Returns, expressly written for people who earn their living through direct marketing.

Anyway, as we were waiting for our food–shrimp rangoon and pot stickers– I was captivated by the napkin fold that was before me. I immediately unholstered my cell phone to photograph the construction of this napkin. I hope you get it, and try it out for yourself!

Here is the diner’s first view of the napkin. Notice the diagonals and neat corner fold which is used to tuck in another corner.

So I unfolded the napkin, all the way, and here’s its starting position.

Fold in half:

From the top, down, fold in half again.

Fold up one loose corner.

Flip it over. You are ready for the close!

Start the vertical folds, into the center. See the diagonals forming at top and bottom?

And again, fold into the center, and tuck in the corner.

The finished product is simple, yet elegant, and conveys the sense of purpose that the Thai restaurateur has for pleasing their diners. You know the napkin will be left in a crumpled mess, but no effort was spared in preparing it for the pleasure of the guest who sat before it.

The meal was perfect!

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2 thoughts on “You Gotta Know How To Fold ‘Em

  1. Brian Mawhiney says:

    You can bet your sweet pot sticker that I’m going to work on this. I gather the the napkin is almost square. To me it’s
    almost a form of origami . I had a business associate from California that made origami as a hobby. Fascinating to say the least.

    Like

  2. Brian, a basic rule in direct mail design is to involve the hands of the reader. The brain will soon follow after. As fort dining, I wrote this up because it is a neat presentation for napkins. Enjoy your meals, and don’t spill any food.

    Like

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