What is a gatefold- or fold-out-cover?

There are two main forms of record sleeves for LPs: The simple insert jacket, known in as a single sleeve, and the fold-out cover. The latter is often referred to by collectors as a gatefold cover.

While with the simple cover the records are simply pushed into the cardboard sleeve from the side, the gatefold cover can be opened like a book.

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True,  MFSL, Gatefold-Cover ausgeklappt.
Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True, MFSL, gatefold cover gatefold.

A “gatefold” is actually a fold-out insert, like in a magazine. The inside part is usually used to create space for additional information such as song lyrics, pictures or artist info.

With the fold-out cover, one part of the sleeve is usually closed, while the record is inserted into the other part of the sleeve in the inner sleeve.

For double and triple albums, the additional flaps serve to accommodate additional long-playing records. When folded, a gatefold cover has approximately the same outer dimensions as the standard covers.

Single sleeves and trifold covers

In contrast, simple slipcovers that cannot be opened are called single sleeve covers. These are sometimes also used for double or triple albums.

Single-Sleeve Cover von Please Please Me von den Beatles.

Single sleeve cover of Please Please Me by The Beatles.

Auf der Rückseite sind die umgeklappten Falte des gefalzten Covers erkennbar (Tip-on Cover)

The folds of the folded cover can be seen on the back (Tip-on Cover).

In addition to gatefold and single-sleeve covers, there are also album covers that fold out three times, such as Tom Petty’s Wildflowers. In collectors’ circles, this is called a trifold cover.

Boxsets

Die Ultradisc One-Step Alben von Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab werden in Boxsets verpackt,  ...
Die Ultradisc One-Step Alben von Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab werden in Boxsets verpackt, …
Bob Dylan Blood Onestep Back
… also stabilen Kartons mit abnehmbarem Deckel.

Another variant of record covers are box sets. Here the records are in a solid cardboard box with a removable lid. This cover variant is mainly used for extensive album boxes with three or more records, as well as particularly high-quality releases such as the One-step releases from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Analogue Productions or Impex Records.

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