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Choosing the Right Binding for Your Print Project

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Beautiful old books with intricate book bindings and covers.

I love a good book, so I have way too many. I'm constantly looking for new places to stow them in my home and office. But I'm one who likes to use my books, not just keep them on my shelves. My nemesis? Bad binding. After a little use, pages start coming loose, the binding cracks or tears, or it just doesn't hold up well to bending and use.

The world of printing offers many choices for binding for books, journals, planners, calendars, magazines, etc. To ensure your product doesn't fall into the "bad binding category," you'll need to pinpoint the right one for your product. Here is a quick guide on the benefits of each binding style:

Perfect Binding

This is a binding style in which all of the pages are glued to the outside cover, creating a “perfect” and seamless look. It is highly recommended for projects like children’s books, magazines, and coloring books. One can still use it for a regular book or journal, but you'll need to note that perfect binding does not offer the lay-flat feature that most look for in journals.

Case Bound / Smythe Sewn Binding

This binding style encloses the book in a thick outside cover (greyboard, generally 1mm-2.5mm thick). The text pages are grouped and folded in half to create twice as many pages (8 sheets folded in half creates 16 pages, for instance). The creases of these pages (called “signatures”) are stacked, sewn to the spine, and attached with head and tail bands. This offers a classic, sophisticated look for any book, journal, or notebook. It is also highly recommended if you are looking to add a fabric or leather cover material. Case binding is great for hardcover books and journals because it allows the book to lay flat when opened.

Saddle Stitch Binding

This style is similar to the smythe-sewn, but it can be used for soft cover journals or notebooks. The sheets are folded in half and stitched with thread to the spine of the soft cover material. This style of binding is commonly used on cahier journals, small handy-sized journals with rounded edges.

Spiral / Twin Ring Binding

Twin rings and spirals offer the most flexibility of any binding style. To create this binding, either square or circular holes are punched through the interior text pages, allowing a coil to slide through, syncing all of the pages together. Twin rings are mostly available in the colors of gold and silver, but other colors like rose gold, copper, black, or white may be available upon request. Spiral or twin ring binding can create a very aesthetically pleasing product, especially when paired with gold foil text or metal gold corners on the front and back covers.


This binding style has grown increasingly popular in recent years. Coptic binding is created when all of the signatures are stitched together, but no fabric, paper, or other covering is placed over the glue. Instead, the spine is left exposed, allowing you to see the binding. The covers are then attached to the first and last signature pages. It creates an organic look and an earthy feel. Users can run their fingers along the spine and feel the ridges of each signature. Coptic binding can also be finished with glue or other coating to help hold the pieces together.

You can learn a bit more about binding styles and see images on our site here. Don't overlook the binding in your design. It can drive both aesthetics and functionality and help create a lasting product to please your customers.


If you're ready to create the perfect print product to please your customers and enhance your brand, contact us here, and let's create something great together.

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