23 junio, 2024

Triptych: what it is, characteristics, parts, types and uses

What is a triptych?

A triptych It is a brochure divided into three sections or panels, which serves to promote information of all kinds. All three sections are printed on both sides.

They are widely used in the world of advertising and marketing. Designers and printers are dedicated to the realization of triptychs for various purposes.

The first meanings of triptych come from art. They arose in the Middle Ages and were separate panels in three parts, hinged together, containing three different but related images. In these cases the central panel used to be higher than the sides.

Flemish painting contributed enormously to the development of triptychs, as did painters such as Bosch, with works such as the garden of delights.

Triptych characteristics

– It is a mixture of art and publicity.

– Usually, they are made on sheets of paper size (DIN A4), or with the measurements 297 x 210 mm.

– Its distribution must be correct: the front and back covers correspond to the two visible faces of the folded triptych. The remaining 4 faces develop the content when unfolded.

– The recommended type of paper is coated or coated paper, because its pores are very small and do not absorb ink, causing it to remain on the surface. Thus, the finishes of the prints are bright, with high quality.

– The recommended grammage (thickness) ranges from 170 gr/m2 to 250 gr/m2.

parts of a triptych

The triptychs are made up of four parts:

Front page

The cover tries to capture the attention of the readers.

Introduction and content development

The introduction is on the back of the cover, it is a brief information that explains the content of the triptych.

internal pages

They are the four remaining parts, where more detailed information, images, illustrations, etc. will be placed.

conclusion, contact

The back cover contains the conclusion or contact information. If the person or organization that has made the triptych does not require to be contacted, they will be able to summarize the most important conclusions.

In the event that you require contact –for example, a university that promotes a master’s degree–, you will leave your information: website, email, telephone and physical address.

Types of triptychs

Generally, three kinds of triptychs can be distinguished:


They are used to advertise a product or service. For example, a triptych of a training course or a university degree.


They serve to convey important information to a group. For example, a triptych to inform about the upcoming elections or about the importance of following healthy habits.

The latter are usually created by city or state governments.


They are triptychs of modern and classical art. They are detailed later.

Crafting: how do you make a cryptic?

traditional way

The triptychs are usually made of paper. The most traditional option for making them is to take a sheet and fold it into three equal parts.


Some of the programs used to make brochures are Photoshop, Microsoft Publisher or Canva (the latter is an online software). Another, although not specialized, may be Microsoft Word.

Most of these programs have brochure templates, and you can get tutorials online, but they’re actually pretty easy to do.


The sheets most used to make triptychs are usually A4, the most common. The three panels/sections/blades of the triptych must measure the same.

If the width of the A4 sheet (297 mm) is divided into three equal parts, each panel/shovel will measure 99 mm. The front and back covers will be the visible faces.

Uses of triptychs

– A triptych is used to disseminate information. The role it will have is decided by the filmmaker.

– Among the most frequent uses is to broaden knowledge about an exhibition or about a presentation, or disseminate introductory information on a topic.

– It is a support material in all kinds of jobs.

– It has a propaganda and commercial function, by briefly dealing with topics that can be deepened in workshops, seminars, talks, etc.

Triptychs in the arts

The triptych in the arts originates in Christianity and was a format that was used in altar paintings from the Middle Ages onwards. It appeared in the Eastern Byzantine churches and in the Western churches.

Renaissance painters such as Hans Memling and Jheronimus Bosch (Bosch) used triptychs to create their works.

From the Gothic period onwards, both in Europe and elsewhere, altarpieces in churches and cathedrals were often in the form of a triptych.

The format migrated and has been used in other religions, including Islam and Buddhism. For example, the Hilje-j-Sherif triptych exhibited at the National Museum of Oriental Art, Rome, and a page from the Koran at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art in Istanbul.

Similarly, Tibetan Buddhists have used it in traditional altars.

Triptychs in modern photography

A photographic triptych is a style employed in modern commercial artwork.

The work may consist of separate images, variants on a theme, or one larger image divided into three.

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