Primer on Binding Options

Aug 28, 2012

When it comes to printing, almost as soon as you have more than one piece of paper involved in a project, you need a way to attach them together. This process is known as binding. The best binding choice for a project depends on both appearance and the number of pages involved. Here are some common binding methods.

+ Side stitching is a straightforward binding method. The binder staples pieces of paper together along one edge, and sometimes wraps a cover around the stack and glues it on. They use this technique on some thick magazines. However, with side stitching, you need to make sure you allow a large inside margin, since the paper will not lay flat. At Action Graphics we generally do not side-stitch in favor of the next binding option.

+ Saddle stitching is much like side stitching, except that instead of stapling along one edge, the binder folds large sheets of paper in half and then staples along the centerfold. They often saddle stitch thin magazines and booklets. Unlike side stitching, saddle stitching allows the finished piece to lie flat. Unfortunately, you are limited in the number of sheets of paper that you can bind together. Also, you can’t print on the spine of a saddle-stitched piece.

+ Comb binding involves using a special machine that punches rectangular holes along one edge of the pages. The binder then inserts a plastic comb through the holes, and it curls around to hold the pages together. You have many different comb sizes to choose from. Publishers of large technical manuals often use this binding method because it’s easy to remove or replace pages. The finished piece can lie flat, and depending on the size of the comb, it might be possible to silk-screen spine text on the comb.

+ Wire-O, spiral and plastic coil binding methods all work in basically the same way. In this case, the binder punches circular holes in the edge of the pieces of paper. They then run a wire loop or continuous piece of wire or plastic through the holes to hold the pages together. Like comb binding, 
wire bound pieces lie flat. However, there is no way to add spine text or remove pages.

+ Most people are familiar with case binding and perfect binding because binders use this method for books. Case binding results in a hardcover book, and perfect binding results in a paperback book. In general, case binding is far more durable because the binder sews the pages together and then glues them to the cover, which they make from a board covered with paper or cloth.
 In perfect binding, the binder notches and grinds the pages and then glues them to a cover. To lower costs, sometimes the binder glues the interior of case bound books like a perfect bound book and then sets it into a hardback cover, rather than sewing it.

All of these binding methods vary in cost and durability. Consider the pros and cons of each method carefully and talk to us so you can make an informed decision.

More Insights To Enjoy:

+ A Paper Primer

+ An Ink Primer

+ Fonts of Knowledge

Sign up today to receive future issues of our award-winning newsletters to ensure you receive all of Action’s Insights.

© Action Graphics, 2012. 

Like what you see? Stay in touch!