A tradition of excellence

December 2015

Adapt your design for perfect binding!

Despite all of the options available for improving the flexibility of a work (PUR glue, sewing, hands-free binding (Layflat or Otabind), and respect for the grain direction), a book bound with glue (perfect binding) still has some constraints to consider.

Too often we see designs unsuitable for the type of binding requested: text is within 0.125″ from the spine, spreads (image or text running across two consecutive pages) with important details or titles in the gutter (spine edge), or folios within 0.0625″ from the trim edge.

When a work is bound with glue, there can be dozens of signatures gathered at the same time. All of these signatures experience some variation during folding and/or assembling. Certain adjustments must be made, when 3-knife trimming, to avoid cutting into folios or spreads. When the design is well-done, these adjustments do not appear at all. However, they will be noticeable if the design has no flexibility to allow for these adjustments.

Ensure that the information in the center is not critical so that the reader does not have to wreck the binding in order to see the missing details.

It is easy to see here how the cover hides part of the first page in the book. The glue usually covers 0.375″ of the spine edge of the first page and inside cover.

It is preferable to have a gutter margin of about 0.75″ for easier reading without the constraint caused by the binding.

It is not recommended to spread the text across two (2) pages. The compensation for spreads varies depending on the rise of the glue, the position of the pages in the book, the type of glue, the type of paper, etc.

In certain cases, a bad design can result in unclear words, forcing the reader to break the spine in order to understand the text…

Do not hesitate to have your design checked over by a binder who specializes in perfect binding!