Document and book binding help for after printing

Give a great first impression by printing and binding your documents professionally. Book binding and document binding are done differently as tehy have different purposes, and lifespans. As a first impression, the document might be the first part the reader sees of you. 

Knowing how to set up your document for binding helps to prevent redo’s and extra cost. Are you needing to bind a report, thesis, sales proposal, project, training documents or brochure?

Methods of document and book binding to consider, depending on the type of printed document needing binding. 

Front and back covers for the binding. Covers can be done in plastic, plain and textured cardboard. Generally white, navy and black are used for the cardboard front covers. . 

Foiled printed front covers are more expensive but give an impression of well doing and quality. Foil is generally done be selected stores, and in gold / copper or silver

Printing the covers for binding your documents is generally done with ink jet printing, and can be printed on any cardboard colour available, including plastic for the front and back covers. When it comes to binding document options there are more choices than one might realise.  

Plastic sheets document binding options:

Used for the front and back ends of the manual / proposal when the plastic comb, coil or wire binding is usedFrosted or clear glossy plastic covers.

  • Clear plastic covers are made from PVC acetate
  • Frosted plastic covers made from polypropolene

Standard binding can cover:

  • Letter
  • A5
  • A4
  • A3 – wire binding
  • A2 – Wire binding
  • Ledger sizes

Check with the design shop if you have different specifications for printing and binding 

Terminology for document and book binding

Binding boards – cardboard used for the front and back cover of the document being bound

Binding machines – depending on the type of binding being done and the size of the binding. Retractable punching pins, multiple pages can be punched simultaneously.

Front Cover - Front label made from cardboard, in matt or gloss.

Font cover options - Clear covers, Window covers

Back cover - Usually plastic, or plastic sheet with cardboard, providing stability for the printed document  

Binding types: 

Type of binding material


 Suggested documents

 Preferable pages

Plastic comb document binding

Softer malleable plastic green blue red black and white

Training manuals

480 pg

Coil / spiral document binding


Continuous, relatively quick to bind, strong and resilient, but left and right might not align properly

Proposals, User manuals, catalogues, menus

Up to around 180 pg

Wire / twin wire binding

Mechanical binding, strong aesthetic, Document is pre-punched and clamped, rough treatment can affect shape, quick binding time, holes pitched according to size of the document. Pages can lie flat

Holes punched at 2:1 or 3:1 ratio

Up to around 350 pg

Ring file binding, lever arch binding

Holes punched according to the file size,

Training and Education where documents remain filed and protected

According to file size, files are normally provided by the client training notes

 Book Binding




Staple and type book binding

The printed document is stapled and then binding tape is put over the spine and staples, document cannot lie flat as with the wire binding


Fewer pages

Perfect binding

Used for binding paper backs and hard cover books, provides a strong bind, time not as quick due to time needed for it to set / dry

Used for paperback books and manuals


Hard cover book binding

Book binding method, more expensive and placing value to the book

Doctorates, theses, bind photo albums, recipe books, books for resale.


Fold and saddle stitch book binding

Pages are folded and then stapled in the middle using a corporate large stapler, thickness of the document is according to the ability of the stapler.

Cost effective, pages need to be printed and numbered in the correct printer setting and format

Smaller books, reports, user manuals

20 pages or less

Colour your cover:

Choose the colour cardboard for printing, and the texture you are looking for. Colour printing generally costs more and the cost is also calclated as to how much area (ie how much ink) is going to be used

What size is the logo for a report cover: Logos are generally unique, but a general rule of thumb 

On an A4 document, the written font should be between 18 and 46, taken from Arial font.  

What is a binding edge?

This includes the edge of the document that will be part of the bound section

The text block needs to be away from the binding edge so as not to be lost in binding as holes are put straight through this section. 

How to set up documents for printing and binding


Printing Brochures

Printing Banners

Printing Business Cards

Printing wedding invitations

Printing Envelopes

Printing Booklets

Printing on Canvasses

Printing Software

How to create printers marks

Printing plastic bags and packaging

How to set up your documents for printing and binding

Catalogue design and printing

Would you like to advertise on this site?

Contact Design for Print