Choosing the binding for a booklet doesn’t have to be difficult. Binding can be used as a design feature, but also should provide adequate structure for the document you’re creating. Today, we’re spotlighting the most common types of binding used in commercial printing to give you an idea what they’re used for as well as the pluses and minuses of each format.
Case (Section Sewn)
Case binding is used for high-quality, hardcover books. Case binding involves stitching the document’s sections together, then applying a layer of adhesive and clamping a hard cover over the lot. Case binding allows for a printed spine. Use case binding for textbooks, reference books, and documentation of a historic nature.
Commonly used for books and magazines, perfect binding involves gathering the signatures of a document, applying glue to one edge and sticking the cover around the entire booklet. Perfect binding is tidy and precise, but less useful for archival than a case binding. Perfect binding machinery has minimum thickness tolerances – around 100 pages are necessary for a perfect-bound document. Perfect binding allows designers to include the spine with cover artwork, making documents easily identifiable on a shelf. Use perfect binding for annual reports, magazines, and user manuals.
Usually this involves a hardcover front and back with two or three posts punched through the edge. The advantage of post binding is that documents can be easily taken apart to replace pages. Unlike comb-bound documents, a publication with a post-style binding can still have a printed spine. Use posts for albums, professional papers, and presentations.
Generally publications under 90 pages are suitable for saddle-stitch binding. This involves folding larger sheets in half and stapling through the spine. Most saddle-stitch machines can handle around 200 sheets. It's best for magazines, soft-cover books, and pamphlets.
Spiral / Plastic coil
A series of holes are punched through documents, then a coil of plastic is threaded through the holes. This binding allows documents to lie flat and fold over, and is suitable for booklets from ¼" to 2" thick. Spiral bindings can’t be used to display titles. Also, the bindings can be damaged, compromising the readability of the document over time. Use spirals for presentations, notebooks, and calendars.
Pairs of wires are placed into pre-drilled holes at the edge of the document. This creates a booklet that will lie flat and can be folded over on itself. There is some scope to print on the spine of a wire-o bound document, but placement of the wire combs compromises legibility and it is generally not advised. Choose wire-o binding for reports and technical manuals.
The professionals at Harding Poorman are here to help you make the best decisions for your next commercial printing project. Contact us to discuss the technical aspects of binding your document.