How to Plan, Create and Design Booklets for Printing
Gustavo BanerTeam ColorCopiesUSA.com
Date Published: 2022-10-26 // Updated: 2022-10-26
Because we will be talking about booklets, let’s first acknowledge that there are different types of booklets, and we’ll talk about them. We will describe what a “booklet” is, and why it is such an important type of publication in 2022 and for years to come.
We will also talk about:
- the types of booklets most commonly used,
- how to plan the content,
- how to design booklets,
- how to print booklets,
- which printing process is suggested,
- which page sizes of booklets are used,
- how to organize pages in a digital file as opposed to the printed booklet,
- and point out why they are in demand, and we’ll find out what is unique about them.
What is a “Booklet”? Why is a booklet important?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, a booklet is a thin book, with a small number of pages, with a paper cover. The booklet gives information about something.
Because the definition is vague, we see that there are no specified maximum or minimum number of pages that set a boundary. Therefore the spectrum of possibilities is wide, making it a super creative tool. In a booklet, the number of pages is limited by the binding method. The content is limited by your creativity.
A booklet is perfect for businesses to let others know about themselves, or promote a product. Authors can use them to offer training support. Administrators can explain the flow of work and establish responsibilities. Companies setting work methods, trainers, researchers and many others to share information, set methodologies and coordinate actions.
In the medical field, booklets provide information that can help someone go through tough times referencing best care practices, and more.
Whenever there is information to be shared, a booklet is likely one of the right tools to use. That’s the reason a booklet is important.
At times, using a booklet might feel like creating “static old-style knowledge” but when the content is merged with common technologies, the booklets can suddenly become very dynamic and adaptable. You can create additional resources and make them available in your web page, your Youtube channel, or any other knowledge-sharing platform that you built. Generating a QR code and printing it in your booklet can immediately connect static content to video and other forms of dynamic content stored in those platforms. Creative planning makes a difference.
Types of Booklet Binding
There are several options to choose from, including
- Perfect Bound,
- Saddle Stitch Booklets, or Folded booklets
- Spiral Coil or Coil Binding Booklets, and Wire Coil Booklets also known as O-wire binding method.
Perfect Bound Booklets:
To make a perfect bound booklet you need
- a cover. The front and back covers come out of a single sheet that generates 4 sides and the spine, once it is scored.
- Inside pages: Because you can add single sheets that do not have to be folded, beyond the 4 sides that get generated by the covers. For every sheet that you add, your publication gains 2 pages.
Pages get typically printed on both sides on perfect binding.
Number of pages suggested for perfect binding:
- A minimum number of pages is needed so that your publication looks and feels like a thick booklet (about 15 - 20 sheets) with a visible spine.
- Thicker booklets/books can have up to over 100 sheets. This is variable since some stock is thicker than others.
Pro Tip 1 for perfect binding: Uncoated paper preferred for inside pages: You can use coated (glossy or matte) paper for the inside pages, but uncoated paper tends to bond better to the spine, making it a booklet that can stand more aggressive use.
Pro Tip 2 for perfect binding: No UV coating on the inside spine. The glue does not stick to UV varnish. Therefore the inside spine, where the cover makes contact with the inside pages with the help of glue, can’t be UV coated.
Saddle Stitch Binding: Booklets
In this binding method, each sheet contains 4 pages: A sheet is folded in half, revealing 4 pages. Many folded sheets form the booklet. For every added sheet, the booklet adds 4 pages of content that you have to plan for. Two staples applied on the spine keep the sheets together.
Number of pages in saddle stitch booklets: the thickness of the stock used creates a limit in the total number of pages possible. The stitches can only go through so much. For regular stock, the maximum number of pages is around 64.
Assigning Page Numbers: When you want to order printed booklets you must tell the print provider the number of pages in your publication, which includes all. But when the page number is imprinted, the “Page 1” is usually assigned to the first inside page.
One Side / Double Side Printing: Pages get typically printed on both sides on saddle-stitch binding booklets.
Pro Tip 1 for saddle stitching: Plan your booklets where the total number of pages (also counting the covers) is a multiple of 4. One extra sheet represents 4 pages of reading layout.
Pro Tip 2 for saddle stitching: What does “Self cover” mean? When the paper on the cover of the saddle stitched booklet is the same as the paper used for the inside pages you have a self-cover booklet. Self-cover booklets are less expensive than when using a different paper for the cover.
Coil Binding and O-Wire binding Method
Coil binding is similar to wire binding in terms of the way in which the booklet is designed and printed. Where it is different is when you consider the way to keep all of the sheets together. The coil binding method uses a plastic coil, while the wire uses a double wire instead. In both cases, we have to punch holes on each sheet so that the coil or wire can go through.
The shape of the punched hole is different for coil (round or oval) and for O-wire binding (square)
In this binding method, the number of pages in the booklet is a multiple of 2. What this means is that you can simply add one sheet (which represents 2 pages) and add it. This is a more flexible booklet format than saddle stitching.
The cover and back covers can be printed on a different paper than the inside pages. Both covers can be further protected with the use of clear and black vinyls.
How big can a booklet be?
Coil is available in many sizes from very small to very large, This allows for thinner/ thicker books. The wire is manufactured mainly to accommodate smaller booklets.
Single Side or Double Side printing: Different applications require one or the other option. It is very common to see single side printing, especially for booklets intended to be complemented with taking additional notes.
Pro Tip 1 for coil / wire binding: When punching the paper, the hole sits at a distance from the edge of the paper. You have to be careful to keep your copy away from the area where the punching will happen. It is usually considered a safe option to leave 0.5” of uncompromised area.
Pro Tip 2 for coil / wire binding: When you design the pages in a word processor, observe that on the “front” side of the page, the “safe” area will be on the left side of the page. On the “second side”, the safe area has to be on the right side.
How to organize pages in a booklet when printing vs when designing
When you work on your layout software, most likely you will design page 1, then page 2, etc, and you will see them one after the other when you scroll your screen.
When your design goes to print, depending on the binding method of your choice, the arrangement of the pages is significantly different. In the example above, on the left side, you see the necessary arrangement for saddle-stitched booklet printing.
The organization of the pages for perfect bound books can be sometimes tricky, depending on how many pages are in your publication and how many copies you order.
Our suggestion as of how to submit files to print:
- You should provide a PDF document.
- Each page in the document should be one page, designed in real size, with cut marks and bleed if needed
- Do not put more than one page together in one PDF page
- Our prepress department, based on all of the job details, will create the printing spreads so that the physical booklet has the pages properly organized.
Booklets: How to plan their content.
Being a booklet an informational piece, the way in which you present your data is so important. Tru to be clear, organized and of course, keep it branded.
The front cover of a booklet usually tells readers about the main topic of the publication. A clear title and message are necessary. The author’s name can help increase readership.
Booklet inner pages’ content: Then, page after page, in a logical and correct order of booklet pages, the topics get expanded in depth. Some of the binding methods allow having tabs on certain pages, signaling clearly marked sections.
Resources: As in a book, there’s usually a page with resources, a glossary if necessary, final messages, and advertising.
Readers find it helpful when there is a “Table of Contents”, and when there is a clear start-end when developing a topic (call it chapters if you wish)
Preview and proofreading:
Before submitting your booklet content to the print house of your choice, preview and proofread your booklet. That’s when you observe small or even huge errors in the flow of your piece. You can print the pages in a desktop printer at home or at work, and you can order a proof from your printer when necessary.
Which Printing Technology is suggested?
There is no easy answer to this question. Digital printing through dry toner is a very flexible method. It allows for shorter runs (from 1 to a few hundred booklets) to be cost-effective and high quality.
When the requirements of the printing are more stringent, such as if the piece requires PMS colors, gold ink, special laminations and spot varnish among others, offset printing will most likely become the answer. The setup costs of offset printing makes it an extremely expensive method especially for a few copies.
If your demand for booklets goes into the thousands of copies, offset printing provides a more effective solution.
ColorCopiesUSA.com offers both supply options so that we can fulfill your need in the most effective and flexible way.