types of binding

Types of binding – What are the differences?

Posted in: Guides

Galloways provide some insight on the different types of binding, highlighting the differences between stitched, PUR and thread sewn binding.

Look closely at any book, brochure, catalogue, magazine or manual, and you might be surprised. Pages aren’t always a stack of single sheets. More often than not, they are a signature – a group of sheets, folded at least once, to create a booklet. Large sheets can be folded many times, creating sets of 4, 8, 16, or 32. The centre of the signature is then bound along its crisp fold crease, to keep them together. Each signature, sometimes called a gathering, is worked into the binding of the book as a single unit.

Book binding methods are often determined by page count, material used, the size of the printing project, and cost. A general principle in our industry, is to stitch fewer than 48 pages, and perfect bind more than 96, but this depends on quantity of the project and what it is intended to be used for. There are several types of binding, and in this article we provide some insight on some of them. We look at some of the most popular, their differences, and their best application.

In a Spiral- do we need to add a Wiro here? Virtually the same.

Spiral binding is sometimes known as coil binding. It is typically used for notebooks and business documentation. Spiral bound books have inner pages and outer covers with aligned holes along one spine, cut to a template. The components are stacked, and the binding coiled through the holes, to hold them together. They come in a variety of sizes and are a no-nonsense binding option. They are functional, and fun, but not suitable for every print project.

A stitch in time

Saddle stitching – sometimes referred to as stapled binding – is a popular choice of binding. It’s easy, economic (the least expensive of most binding methods), and it’s quick and has the potential to be turned around in 24 hours.

Frequently used for magazines and brochures, pages are folded, creased, and stapled together along the spine, to create a signature. Once bound, the pages are trimmed on three sides. Stitch binding suitable for printing projects that have same weight sheets inside and out (self cover), and those with thicker cover and thinner inside pages.

Saddle stitching is widely available, with most printers stitching in-house. The end product will lie reasonably flat, and printed content won’t be lost in the gutter (the centre of the product when it’s fully open). The low material consumption makes this method of binding an eco-friendly choice.

Over time, the wire stitching can impact the integrity of the paper, resulting in loose pages. That’s why we don’t recommend this type of binding print products that will need to withstand heavy use. Saddle stitching doesn’t allow for a printed spine, and the products aren’t easy to stack. But it is a great choice for booklets, menus, newsletters, and prospectuses.

PUR binding

PUR binding is an adhesive binding method that has become a popular choice within the printing industry. It is more resistant to changing temperatures than traditional glues. Its strength and flexibility means it is one of the Defacto standards for book printing.

PUR’s consistent strength gives greater longevity than stitched products, ideal for products that will endure heavy use. PUR adheres to many different materials, and is available across our full range of papers and weights. We recommend PUR binding for perfectly bound books greater than 32 pages (must be a 3mm spine minimum), such as brochures, coffee table books, text books or manuals, and novels.

PUR bound products are less likely to distort over time. PUR bound products won’t lay completely flat, so they aren’t suitable for hands-free reading. Print space is lost in the gutter, but a good print designer will take that into account during the design process. PUR bound books can be stacked, spine-printed, and look professional, and enticing. PUR binding also offers greater choice variation within the product itself.

Beautiful books – thread sewn binding

For a high-end, premium look to your print product, thread-sewn book binding is the way to go. This durable binding method uses thread to sew the inner sheets together. Unbleached linen thread is most frequently used for sewing sections. You can actually use pretty much anything you like, but we recommend linen for its enduring strength. Thread sewn binding is one of the oldest forms of book binding.

It is a complex method, which makes it a more expensive option than some other binding methods. But with thread sewn binding, the results are more than worth it. Margins and page size may be affected, and this can be addressed through the print design process.

Individual sheets are first folded, then gathered, and sewn together, to form a section. Each section is glued into place on the spine – the narrow strip that joins the pages to the cover of the book. It is then trimmed on three sides.

Thread sewing guarantees an almost infinite number of options for your project. Inside pages are available across a wide spectrum of paper weights. Thread sewn binding uses individual sections: each section can be unique to its neighbour.

With thread-sewn binding, each block is glued to the cover, also known as a book board. Choose from a broad palette of colours, in just about any fabric or material to create the perfect cover story.

Add design features with contrast endband or headband (the bands located at the top (head) and end (bottom) of the spine). These bands were traditionally added to the ends of book spines to strengthen them, and to align signatures. Headbands are especially important, as people often remove books from shelves by pulling on the top of the book. In fact, that’s one of the reasons they were first added.

Functional, or ornamental, endbands help control the shape and movement of the book spine, and inevitably attract the eye. They are a popular decorative choice in modern bookbinding.

Illustrated and art books; books of faith; prospectuses and photographic publications. End bands say a lot about the provenance and importance of the book they protect.

Add stylish details to your product with the use of embossing, or debossing. Embossing is when an image or words are raised above the surface of the page: debossing is when they are pressed into the surface of the page, to create a concave impression. Specialist tactile printing methods, like die cutting and engraving, are also possible.

A thread sewn bound book is the jewel in the crown of skilled, architectural bookbinding.

With Galloways, brilliant bookbinding comes as standard. We’ve been creating beautiful books and exceptional print for five generations. If you want a book that deserves to be judged by its cover, contact our friendly team today, on 01625 870000.

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