The size and number of the pages are determined by the length of the content and how the booklet is to be displayed and used. The paper stock used for the cover and content will depend on a number of factors, including design look-and-feel, cost restraints, durability needed and at times and number of copies that will be printed. Low volume usually means digital printing, which will exclude certain specialist papers and usually excludes special colours.
Then there is binding. Binding is a crucial factor in getting your booklet to do what you need at a price you are comfortable with. There are three main kinds of commercial booklet binding to choose from:
1. Saddle Stitch
Saddle stitching is where the spreads are placed in the right order and folded, then “stapled”’ in the spine of the fold to create your booklet. This method is very popular because it is quick and cost-effective from low to very high quantities.
You can use saddle stitching on brochures ranging from 8 to not much more than 60 pages. The maximum number of pages will depend on the page size and thickness of the cover and content pages. Paper thickness is measured in grams per square metre (GSM) or micron for thicker board. Your printer will advise you if this method is feasible for the item you want to print.
Note that the page ranges in the paragraph above are in multiples of four. This is because each spread is a double-sided print folded in the middle to create four pages. Thus a 40-page brochure will consist of 10 such spreads. If your booklet is A4 portrait size, it will be made of 10 A3 landscape spreads.
Your document will have to be imposed, with the front and back covers on the same spread, but the front on the right side of the spread. The first right-hand page will be on the same spread as the last left-hand page. Confused? Spread out a saddle-stitched brochure and you will see what we mean. Imposing spreads can be difficult, but your printer can advise you.
Note the blank space between the content on each page and the fold as well. You will need 5 to 10mm of this to ensure content is not hidden by the fold.
2. Wiro Binding
Often referred to as ring-binding (which it is not), this is the series of metal rings that hold the booklet spine together. Think of how an A5 shorthand notebook is bound.
The content pages and front and back covers are placed together, the row of holes drilled through them, the wire ‘comb’ is inserted in the hole and crimped and there you go.
With wiro binding, you can count your pages in multiples of two, as opposed to four in other kinds. This is because you use individual pages, each with two sides. So you can have a 22-page document, rather than having to choose 20 or 24 pages.
Your cover can be quite a thick board and your inside pages can be thicker as well, even laminated for durability. Wiro binding is often used where you need something for repeated use, like a calendar or product manual.
The booklet can be opened totally flat or even folded in half without damage. There is very little wear on ring holes with repeated holes.
You get different ring sizes and comb lengths for thicker or larger books, and the wire comes in different colours.
You will need a bit more space in your margin to accommodate the holes, but ask your printer for advice on this.
3. Perfect Bound
Perfect binding is like a paperback novel or glossy magazine, with the back of the folded spreads glued together and the cover drawn over and glued on the back. This gives square corners and a straight back, thus ‘perfect bound’.
Page count is also in multiples of four. You want at least 40 pages in perfect binding to provide enough area for the glue to hold. Your booklet can be very thick.
Perfect bound booklets look luxurious and are long-lasting. The edge of the spine can be printed, so it is handy as a reference on a bookshelf.
Check with your printer on how much space to leave in the margin.
Many magazines, catalogues, and high-end brochures are bound this way.
If you need more information on which binding to use on your next printed brochure, as well as technical help on how to set it up, please contact us. We will be glad to help.