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Let's Get Technical About Binding

Last month we talked about different types of binding for offset and digital printing. Now, let’s get a little more technical and touch on some of the production considerations and potential pitfalls for each of these methods.

Types as Binding | Technical Differences


CREEP.  Not the sleazy guy at your local bar, but the shift on your page margins, common in saddle stitched books. Creep is a little hard to explain, but much easier to demonstrate. Take a stapled book and pull out the centre four pages. Measure the width of these pages against the width of the front cover. You’ll be astounded at the difference. Your finished book might be 210mm wide, but depending on the number of pages and thickness of paper, the centre spread can be up to 5 or 6mm shorter.

This, in printing terms, is called creep. You may not even notice the effect of creep in your printed document, but some designs make it more obvious. Take a look at the image below. Printed tabs like these are dangerous in thicker stitched books, getting smaller as you move towards the centre.

Creep and Page Line Ups | Technical Aspects of Binding

PAGE LINE UPS.   You want your image to run right across the double page spread? No problems … usually. Some images however, push the boundaries. Fine lines, logos and type can be affected by page lines ups, and although we do our best, you may experience a small amount of movement.

There is little you can do to stop this, but awareness and consideration at the design phase can save problems down the track. Move logos, critical imagery, branding and fine or small copy away from the page line ups.

PAGE NUMBERS. Stitching also has a limitation on the total page numbers, mostly because the document becomes too thick for the wires to hold together. It will depend on the weight of the text and cover, be recommend capping stitched books at 96 pages. 


Binding Gutters and Hinges Explained

GUTTERS.  Most forms of binding with a square spine rely on glue to attach the cover to the text. To do this, a small portion of the text is ground off to create a more suitable, porous surface. This, combined with the binding technique itself, will create a small ‘gutter’  that swallows up a small portion of your image. Again, the average person probably won’t even notice, but the same advice applies here as it does for page line ups. Move logos, critical imager and text away from these areas. If your image is critical and runs across the gutter, flag it with your Printcraft Account Manager and our prepress team will work their magic to achieve the best result.

HINGES. You’ll also notice a hinge on the front and back cover of these books, about 5 or 6mm in from the spine. 

Hinges cause two potential challenges. 1. Because they are glued to the first page of the text they affect the image on the inside cover. This is always addressed by Printcraft prepress when processing your artwork. 2. Possible ‘cracking’ on the front cover when the book is opened and closed multiple times. This is only relevant for dark, solid covers without any lamination on the outside front cover. Consult your Printcraft Account Manager to see if this will happen on your publication and options to avoid this.

If you’d like more technical information on print, binding or correctly setting up your artwork, get in touch with us.

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