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10 Things to Consider When Designing Booklets

Posted by Adrian Davis on

Short run digital printing can make publishing moguls of us all. At Saxon Print we make it simple to create your own booklets, brochures, catalogues and annual reports. Below are 10 points you may need to consider when designing your next booklet.

1) Choose the right sort of binding

Saddle stitching

With two staples along the spine, this method is recommended as it is straightforward and cost effective. Typically used for booklets with pages between 8 and 40.

Wire Binding

Individual pages are punched along the spine and held together with a ‘C’ shaped binding wire. Typically used for booklets with pages up to 125, but can vary depending upon the weight of paper used.


2) Leave space for the binding

Now you know what king of binding you’ll be using, when creating your artwork remember to leave enough space for the binding. Avoid letting your design getting too close to the spine as important text maybe cut off or difficult to read. This is especially true of wire bound documents as text on the inside edges (close to the spine) may be obscured or punched if it is too close.


3) Creep

If the document is over 12 pages long and you're creating a saddle stitched brochure you’ll need to allow for creep in your document.
Creep is the technical term for what happens when you fold the sheets of a booklet together. The outer pages will look shorter as they wrap around the inner pages. Because of this, the inner pages stick out slightly and are trimmed as part of the process to give you a straight document edge. Anything that is printed past this line (like text, page numbers) will be lost when given the final trim.
To stop this from happening, we always recommend the following; avoid using images or text which goes over a two page spread, make sure that everything is at least 5 - 6mm away from the edges of your page, and provide at least 3mm bleed (see our previous handy blog explaining what bleed is and why we need it).


4) Organize the content

Think about what you are trying to say and do with your booklet. If you’re creating a manual, are the headings clear and informative? Or if you are designing a magazine, will the headings create interest and draw the reader in? Try not to squeeze too much info on a page; a cluttered or busy page can be visually confusing to the reader and your message could be lost.

If you’re using a contents or index page, make sure that the page numbers match up. Don’t forget to add your contact details or it may all be in vain.


5) Front cover

No matter what kind of publication you’re designing, whether it’s a newsletter, magazine or a company report, the front cover will be crucial to its success. Remember that old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” on occasion its wrong! A carefully thought out and well worded message on the front cover of your publication along with clear, engaging images and clever design will help draw the client in


6) Only use high-res images

Don’t think because it looks okay on screen it will be okay for print. Those images that work brilliantly on your website will be low-res and optimised for the internet. When reproduced in print they will make all that hard work look low quality and unprofessional. Where you want to use images, use the high-res originals. If you read our handy blog about intellectual property there are a list of royalty free sites you can get images from.


7) Make sure the orientation suits your layout.

Whilst the majority of booklets printed are portrait, that doesn’t mean that yours has to be. If you have lots landscape imagery, play to your strengths, and design a landscape booklet.


8) Choosing the Best Paper Weight

Ever heard ‘Use the right tool for the job’? Same goes for paper! Heavier stock may give a plush look but too many pages and the booklet won’t lay flat and will spring open on its own (especially if you go for saddle stitching). If your booklet has a lot of pages consider using a thicker cover and lighter weight stock for the inside pages.

Another thing you will have to consider when it comes to stock is finish. The three main types used are silk, uncoated or gloss. The latter will give you more punch and vibrant images. If you want a subtle look or are printing a document which is more text heavy then you may want to consider silk or uncoated stock.

Another thing you may want to consider is laminating the cover. Whilst this will cost more the durability of the end product will be greater.


9) Page Count

To calculate booklet pages, remember that one leaf equals 2 pages. Include the front and back outside and inside cover as well. If you choose to use saddle stitching to bind the document the final page count must be a multiple of four.


10) Proof Read It

Possibly the most important tip is to proof reed it. 
  • Read it out loud.
  • Read it backwards to focus on the spelling of words.
  • Read it upside down to focus on typology.
  • Use spell checker and grammar checker at first, but don't rely on them to spot everything.
  • Have others read it.
And once you've done all that read it again, because once it's printed it will be to late for any changes.


At Saxon Print, we aim to offer the best quality UK booklet printing at the most competitive price. If you intend to your own produce design for your booklet, the best option might be to use programmes such as Adobe In design, CorelDraw or a similar layout applications; just remember the bleed and quiet border. Either way, it's always wise to print a hard copy off before you send it to us to check the layout, content, etc. If you have any concerns about your design you can always talk to us before starting the printing process. We offer a File Assist & Print Service, for a small fee, we can produce proofs, give advice and alter the files (if required) for you. It can save you the trouble of your print jobs not looking the way you hoped they would.

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