How to: choose the right binding style

When choosing the type of binding for your document, there are a number of factors that come into play to varying degrees. While selecting the right option may be confusing, a good designer can guide you in your choices. They can act as a guide for you by providing suggestions and recommendations on the right binding style based on the function of your document, the number of pages it contains, your printing budget and, of course, aesthetics.

In the meantime, to get yourself acquainted with the various binding options, we’ve put together a visual guide to provide some clarification on some of the most common styles of binding available (clicking on the guide will link you to the full size graphic to download and save for future reference!).



Saddle stitched

Saddle stitching a document is one of the most common and affordable binding methods available. It uses staples (or wire) along the spine of the document in order to secure the pages together. Because of this, the document pages are required to be provided as multiples of four.

Loop stitched

Loop stitching is very similar to saddle stitching, but with loops are created with specially formed staple/wire. This is applied along the spine so that it is possible to insert the document into a 3-ring binder without punching holes through the pages.

Side stitched

When side stitching a document, the pages are cut all the same size and stacked. The staples are then inserted down the side of one edge of the book’s front. This binding style has a number of limitations though as the book will not lie flat when opened is visually less appealing and professional looking than other styles.

Screw bound

Screw bound documents (also called stud or post bound) are achieved by first drilling holes through the entire document. A barrel post is then inserted through the holes and finally topped with a cap screw to hold everything together.

Perfect bound

Perfect binding is one of the most common styles used for commercially produced paperbacks (typically cheaper than case binding). This bind is achieved by using glue to the left edges of the pages and gluing the cover to the page block. Because glue isn’t as durable as other methods, perfect binding isn’t recommended for books in constant use.

Case bound

Case binding tends to be used for longer books (usually 80+ pages), which require a strong high-quality finish. The pages of the book are sewn together with thread and the cover is then glued to the spine of the page block. Because of the high-end finish and strength of this kind of binding, it’s one of the most expensive styles which is why it’s usually reserved for books that must withstand constant use.

Centre sewn bound

Centre sewn binding is very similar to saddle stitching but uses thread. The thread is stitched along the length of the spine. This binding style can look beautiful and bohemian as it can look hand-made and a variety of types/colours of thread may be used. There is also the option to cut the thread for a neat finish or leave it long for a more unique effect.

Side sewn bound

Side sewn binding is identical to centre sewn, however, it’s sewn on the front face of the document. Options similar to centre sewn binding are available.

Tape bound

Tape binding is achieved by wrapping an adhesive tape around the spine to hold the covers and inside pages in place. Typically, pages need to be stitched together before the tape is attached in order to reinforce and provide added strength. Different tape colours can be used to achieve an aesthetically beautiful product.

Comb bound

Comb binding is one of the cheapest options on the market. The style allows the pages to lie flat when open, and you can easily add/subtract pages. It’s also the most susceptible to damage.

Spiral bound

Spiral bound books are punched with a series of small holes along the left margin. A coil binding is then screwed into them from one end of the book to the other. Either plastic or metal wire is available and the printed document is able to lie flat or to double over.

Wire bound

Wire binding uses formed wire that is threaded through punched holes. This allows books to lay flat when open or double over. A variety of colours are available for the wire and it’s a durable option for a various presentation types.

Katerina Przita

Kat specialises in branding, corporate identity and web design with a special love for illustration and infographic design.

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