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What are my Binding Options?

Even the best print quality and paper wonít matter if your project isnít bound correctly. You donít want to be sitting in a meeting and have your client struggle to turn the page or have pages falling out of your presentation. So choosing the proper binding option is as critical to your project as the printing method, colors or paper. As always, there are a number of criteria to consider when choosing a binding option including cost, quantity and use. Some binding methods can be done at home by using affordable equipment, while other methods are best left to professionals at a bindery.

Here is a list binding options:

Saddle-stitch binding - This is a very common binding method and involves using one or more staples on the fold of a signature. Magazines are the most common example of this kind of binding. Open any magazine and youíll see that there are a number of staples between the pages. Where does the saddle-stitch name come from? Well, it has to do with the way the staples are applied. The signatures are fanned open with the inside pages face down on the binder, like a horse's saddle, as they are stapled.

Side-stitch binding - This method involves putting all the signatures together, much in the same way as saddle stitching, and stapling the pages on the side rather than the fold. The result produced by side-stitch binding is not as nice as saddle stitching binding.

Perfect binding (soft binding, adhesive binding) Many annual reports use this method. It is ideal for holding 50 or more pages together. In Perfect binding, all of the signatures are grouped together and the edge of the spine is then ground to a perfectly flat edge. The cover is then glued to the outside edge of the signatures. One word of caution when using perfect binding: You will not be able to see the inside margins of the pages because of the binding. Make sure that your designer has taken this into consideration and left some extra space on the inside of the pages to account for the binding.

Case binding - This is the method that one sees most often on hardcover books. Signatures are sewn together, glued to a gauze strip and then glued to end papers which are attached to the hard covers. It's quite a process!

Plastic comb binding (GBC) This method is most commonly used for business reports. Plastic comb binding involves using plastic teeth that insert into a series of tiny holes made in a stack of pages. Comb binding machines are pretty inexpensive and the spines can be removed and reattached as needed. This method can be done manually at home or at your office. You just need to buy the binding machine and the plastic teeth.

Three-ring binding - C'mon, you remember these from high school! Watch your fingers!

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