Though sometimes seen as an afterthought, finishing services can really make or break your project. In the early planning stages of any job, it’s important to decide what type of binding you will use for the end product. Some factors to take into consideration include your budget, functionality, frequency of use, mailability, and aesthetics.
Deciding on a binding option at the start of the job can also save you time and money in the end. Choosing the right book binding can increase readability and longevity while enhancing appearance. If you choose binding that doesn't work well with your design, you may impair imagery or text, increase chances of premature wear and decrease the overall value and functionality of your piece.
Perfect Binding is a process that professionally binds books and magazines with a squared spine. The pages are adhered together to create a sturdy and long-lasting bond. The term “Perfect” is used because the finished product is trimmed to have an even edge, giving the finished product a professional and polished look.
Perfect binding can be an ideal choice for any project with a larger (40+) page count. Common examples of perfect bound materials include large catalogs, high-end magazines, hardcover books and paperback books. Using perfect binding can enhance the overall perception of your end product. For example, catalogs that are perfect bound have a more magazine-like quality and are more likely to be saved and re-read by the recipient.
PUR vs. EVA
There are two types of perfect binding methods: EVA and PUR.
EVA (Ethylene Vinyl-Acetate) is also known as hotmelt. This process uses a hot glue to create the Perfect Bind. EVA does not work well with glossy pages, and can’t stand up to differences in temperature. This means that it tends to breaks down over time and is not as structurally sound as PUR Perfect Binding.
PUR (Polyurethane Reactive) uses a plastic adhesive that takes a little bit longer to cure but creates the long-lasting bond. PUR is highly adaptable to various substrates since it contains better adhesive properties and can deliver exceptionally strong page pulls even with heavier stocks like photo paper. PUR Perfect Bound books are the new industry standard and are used by most major magazine and book publishers, including SunDance.
For SunDance, a key factor in offering PUR was to achieve a more durable bound book, particularly for clients who need materials with a longer shelf life and must tolerate the rigors of repeated openings and closings. Since PUR's application rate is roughly one-third to one-half that of a hotmelt, the book’s spine contains less build-up, which translates into a stronger, more attractive catalog with better lay-flat quality.
Pantera PUR Adhesive Binding
SunDance is the only printing company in Central Florida with an in-house Pantera PUR Adhesive Binder. Printers often offer this service but don't disclose that they outsource this finishing service, adding time and money to your project. Having a Pantera PUR Binder at our facility allows us to offer faster turnaround times, cost savings and greater control over the end product.
Saddle-stitching is the ideal solution for smaller sized run and jobs that require a quick turnaround. It is also a very cost-effective binding technique. Since no curing time is needed, saddle-stitch binding offers turnaround time of just a few hours, beating perfect binding turnaround times by a large margin.
Saddle-stitched binding is the simplest and most basic method for booklet binding. In the saddle-stitching process, sheets are cut, folded, and collated, then stapled twice along the spine. Since it lays fairly flat, crossovers are easier to lay out. This type of binding works best for booklets that have up to 64 pages.
Saddle stitching is the ideal solution for booklets and brochures with a generally short lifespan of usability, like magazines, brochures, reports, programs, manuals, small catalogs, promotional booklets and show dailies. The per unit price is ideal for smaller runs, varied content or in the instance of an event, items can be replaced in the production process much easier.
SunDance is the local leader in convention program printing. Sometimes referred to as a "Show Daily" or "Show Dailies," these booklets serve as an itinerary for your conference and an advertising medium. At SunDance, we have two digital workflows to reduce turnaround time and ensure timely delivery. We are the closest full-service printing facility to the Orange County Convention Center, and offer same-day delivery throughout the Central Florida area.
Saddle-Stitched vs. Perfect Bound
Saddle Stitch Binding
- Ideal for projects between 4-64 pages
- Quick turnaround time, able to be produced in just hours
- Most common choice for small catalogs and brochures
- Crossovers lay flat, making spreads easy to read
- Shorter lifespan than perfect bound
- Good choice for projects with 40 sheets or more
- Uses a strong adhesive to bind your pages together
- Provides a highly finished, professional look
- Ideal for books, large magazines and catalogs
- Long-lasting and durable, with low to medium cost
- Doesn't lay completely flat, making crossover design more challenging
Square Back Binding
Square-back binding is essentially a combination of saddle stitching and perfect binding. It features a squared-off spine like a perfect bound book, with the only visual difference being two staples on the spine. Square-back binding offers a more professional appearance than saddle-stitching, without the curing time and cost of perfect binding. There are more limitations when it comes to page count though. Also, this binding is not quite as durable as a PUR perfect bound technique. Square back binding is often used as a solution for annual reports, coloring books, short-run magazines, catalogs and booklets.
Once a very popular option for creating professional bindery in the office, tape binding is now experiencing a resurgence in small run books and unique presentation materials. Tape bindery uses a side stitch or perfect bound method with hot tape applied over the piece. This binding gives a piece a retro appearance similar to a sewn spine composition book. While other options may be more cost-effective, SunDance still offers this bold design choice—perfect for when you want to add a specific tactile element or lend a classic feel to your project.
Double loop Wire-O is a bindery process that creates a spine very similar to spiral bound notebooks. The major difference is with the double looped system two wires go through the hole in the paper compared to only one wire in spiral bound. The double wiro wire binding makes the pages much more secure and professional in appearance. This binding can also enhance the inherent value of the piece at a reasonable price.
Wire-O binding is a great choice for projects where your reader interacts with the book in some way. Think about how frustrating it is to write in a workbook or journal that won't stay open. Wire-O binding keeps your pages completely flat, making it convenient and user-friendly.
Double loop Wire-O also offers greater versatility than many other binding options. It can be produced to allow for the removal and replacement of individual sheets, making it a great choice for restaurant menus, room service, hotel books, or any project that requires slight alterations over time.
Wire-O Binding Benefits:
- Books lay flat, and stay open easily
- Good option for almost any size book
- Can be used on up to 1.25 inches of paper (approx 350 pages, depending on stock)
- More durable than spiral or coil binding
- Crossovers line up easily
- Can accommodate full-bleed printing
- Ideal for journals, manuals, maps, workbooks, floorplans, diagrams, cookbooks and more
- Large color selection to match your design
Spiral and Coil Binding
Unlike Wire-O binding, spiral or coil bound feature a single continuous plastic loop threaded through the holes punched in the spine of the booklet. Spiral binding is a popular option for notebooks, workbooks and manuals. This binding option can add a professional look to your reports, manuals and company documents for a relatively low cost.
Spiral Binding Benefits:
- Flexibility of colors, size and appearance
- Cost-effective binding option
- Less durable than Wire-O, making it a good choice for shorter-term use
- Lays flat, making it easy to use and read
Additional Binding Options:
Singer Sewn Binding — Often used for high-end journals, this technique uses a sewing machine to create a visible, continuous stitch on the spine on the book.
Loop Stitching Binding — Similar to saddle-stitching binding, loop stitching incorporates loops that protrude from the binding edge, allowing it to be used in a 3-ring binder or bound together with other pieces.
Case Bound Binding — This type of binding is used for hardcover books, making it one of the most durable binding processes available.
Screw Post Binding — Uses Chicago screws to bind thick pages together. The screws come in various lengths, allowing for effective binding of very large documents.
Choosing the Best Binding Option
Figuring out the best binding option for your project can be a confusing undertaking. Our team can guide you through the process, evaluating the pros and cons of each choice. Here are some factors to consider:
- Size and Number of Pages — Perfect bound works well for larger books, while saddle-stitching is only usable for smaller page counts.
- End-Use — Think about how the reader will interact with the material. Does it need to stay flat? How are you going to handle crossovers?
- Lifespan — Consider how long the piece needs to be in use. Is this for a one-off presentation, a seasonal catalog or a book that will be used for years?
- Design and Aesthetics — What is the desired visual effect of the piece? How do you want it to feel in hand? Certain binding choices may look and work better with your design than others.
- Mailability — Some binding options are easier to use than others. Perfect bound and saddle stitching are easy to mail, while spiral and wire-o binding would require additional considerations.
With so many options available, SunDance is happy to guide you through the process of choosing the best binding for your next project. We have the experience to work with you through the design, production and finishing process to ensure that your piece looks great and functions exactly as you expect for your desired use.