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Designing for Print - Book Binding Styles

Updated: Aug 26, 2021


There are several options when it comes to choosing a binding style for your printed book/booklet.


Book binding is an ages old craft. Besides its obvious utility, there is real value in the aesthetics of a finished and beautifully bound document.


However, choosing the right style can be a bit intimidating for a lot of people, especially those who don't work a great deal with print graphics. With that in mind, we have created this quick-reference guide for designers, outlining the most commonly used types of binding, and which one might suit your project needs best.

 

1. Saddle Stitch


Saddle-stitching is known as the simplest and most economical of the binding methods. It is done using staples down the spine of the book. The reason it is so economical is because the process is highly automated, with very little handwork involved. Something to keep in mind is that the price of this binding style goes up substantially for larger documents. It is most often used for sizes smaller than 11x17 (or A3) portrait orientation.


Possibly the most important thing to note about a saddle stitched book is that your pages need to be in multiples of 4. This is simply because the process is made up of sheets of paper folded in half (so every piece of paper that is folded in half gives you 4 printed pages). It is also best suited for smaller booklets, catalogs and magazines.


Side note: Saddle-stitching allows for some fun design choices in that you can pick different colors for the staples. This little "extra" isn't necessarily economical, but it can definitely add some unique charm to your printed piece.



2. Wiro Binding


Wiro binding (as the name suggests) uses a wire coil to hold the pages together (in lieu of plastic coils which have been used in the past). It is commonly used because it is highly practical in that it is relatively economical to produce for short runs, and it allows for the book's pages to be laid out flat when opened.




3. Perfect Binding


Both of these styles use a paperboard or heavy cover stock to attach pages to the spine with glue. But while the two applications are similar in concept, a PUR-bound document uses a special kind of adhesive known as polyurethane reactive (hence PUR). If you’re printing a paperback, annual report or premium project, PUR makes for a strong, clean spine that’s durable enough to hold heavier stocks.




3. Burst Binding


Both of these styles use a paperboard or heavy cover stock to attach pages to the spine with glue. But while the two applications are similar in concept, a PUR-bound document uses a special kind of adhesive known as polyurethane reactive (hence PUR). If you’re printing a paperback, annual report or premium project, PUR makes for a strong, clean spine that’s durable enough to hold heavier stocks.




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