A Guide to Binding Multi-Page Documents for Graphic Designers

A Guide to Binding Multi-Page Documents for Graphic Designers
Photo by Nate Steiner

A Guide to Binding Multi-Page Documents for Graphic Designers

Binding is mostly an issue where multi-page documents are concerned, like magazines, books and multi-page event programs. Most multi-page event programs are center-stapled (saddle stitch), as are most magazines. Only a few high-end magazines, like National Geographic, take the extra expense of having a glued binding. Briefly, here’s a list of the most common kinds of binding.

Comb Binding:


A flexible plastic binder is poked through holes punched in the edge of a paper.

Double Loop Wire:

doubleloop_binding_Double Loop Wire

Similar to spiral bound, but uses a double loop of wire instead of a single strand of wire.

Lay Flat Bind: A kind of Perfect Binding (See below), which allows a project to lay on a flat surface and the pages to be spread out. Also known as Lay Flat Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding:

layflatperfectbound-Perfect Binding

Pages bounds with glue at the spine with a cover wrapped around the pages and also attached to the spine with glue. A strip of gauze to assist with the attaching process may or may not be included in the spine. This is most commonly seen in paperback books. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. Standard paperback books use this type of binding.

Post Binding

Post Binding
Source Stanford.edu

Pages held with a screw and post. The pages have punched holes to allow the post. Most commonly seen in ledger books.

Round Back Binding:

Round Back Binding Casebinding
Source Northwestern University

To casebind with a rounded spine, instead of a flat spine.

Saddle Stitches:

saddlestitches-Saddle Stitches
Source Montana.edu

Saddle-Stitching is a method of securing loose printed pages with staples down the middle of a folded sheaf of papers. Many booklets are saddled-stitched. Side-stitching is a similar method where the pages are stapled about 1/4″ from the spine.

Side Stitch:

sidestitches - Side Stitch

Source Montana.edu

When the document is too large for saddle-stitching it may be side-stitched or side stapled. The staples are placed about 1/4″ or so from the edge. A cover may be glued on. Side-stitched books can’t be opened flat and extra allowance is needed in the inner margin.

Spiral Bind

spiralbindingcoilbinding-Spiral Bind
Source Bound to Impress

Pages bound with a wire or plastic which is looped through holes. Also called coil bind. Commonly seen in spiral-bound notebooks.

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  1. Posted June 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    One of the binding methods not discussed is one I use for my “leave behind,” a 65 page portfolio of my work.

    I print the pages off my Epson printer and insert them into hard back covers that I purchase from Unibind.com. The covers have a plastic glue strip that melts in their heating unit and fuses the pages permanently, or at least until they are reheated.

    It’s a very professional presentation, and though the covers cost from $6.00 to $8.00 each, most VP’s of marketing and CEO’s are blown away by what appears to be a “coffee table” book presentation.

  2. Posted July 30, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Nice information, shame about the advertising everywhere.

  3. Posted August 28, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Another method you might want to mention is Plastic Rivet Binding. This is an option with very low cost consumables. The method allows you to fan out the leaves that have been bound. A great way for making swatches.

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