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  • Saddle Stitch Binding FAQs

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    Digital Printing

    Saddle stitch binding is a popular choice for many printed materials, including catalogs, brochures, menus, directories, comic books, and instruction booklets. It’s an affordable choice that works for most companies or organizations that use printed materials. Here are some common saddle stitch binding FAQs we get from our customers.

    Why Is It Called Saddle Stitch?

    When printers create saddle-stitched publications, they use a metal frame to connect the pages to the staples. This frame is called a saddle.

    What Does Saddle Stitch Binding Look Like?

    If you’ve ever read a magazine or catalog, you have probably seen saddle stitch binding. When you look at the spine, it looks slender and neatly folded. If you open the booklet or catalog to its middle section, you can see the row of staples holding it together. There are usually two, but heavier booklets may have three or four. Saddle stitch binding creates a slim edge that doesn’t have room to print a title on the spine. If you want to print a title on the spine, use perfect binding.

    What Are the Benefits of Using Saddle Stitch Binding?

    • Appearance: The neat, slender look of a saddle stitch is suitable for any type of publication. It makes the booklet or catalog look professional. Saddle stitching also makes the printed material lightweight and easy to carry. Saddle stitching works with casual and upscale designs.
    • Ease of reading: Because saddle-stitched booklets lay flat, they are easy to read. This makes them convenient for instruction manuals and cookbooks, which need to stay open.
    • Design flexibility: With a saddle stitch binding, you can open the booklet or catalog flat. This makes it easy for readers, and it allows designers to spread images across two pages in the center of the book.
    • Ease of printing: Saddle stitch is fast and easy to set up for printers. It is a straightforward procedure that most printers are familiar with.
    • Lower costs: Saddle stitching is the least expensive binding style. It adds no bulk or weight to printed materials, which means these materials are easy and inexpensive to ship.
    • Short production time: If you need your materials in a hurry, choose this style. It is ideal for rush jobs and small production runs.
    • Cover options: Saddle stitching offers two cover options. You can choose a heavier paper stock for the front and back cover, which is known as a “plus cover.” You can also use the same paper stock as the interior pages in what’s known as a “self-cover” option.
    • Versatility: It’s easy to punch holes into a saddle-stitched booklet and insert it into a 3-ring binder.
    • Size: You can use saddle stitching for any size and type of publication.

    Are There Any Downsides to Using Saddle Stitch?

    Saddle stitch binding is an excellent choice for many printing projects, but it won’t work for all of them. Here are some downsides to using it.

    • Less durable: Saddle stitch binding is not as durable as perfect binding. Over time, the staples can come loose or wear through the paper. You can improve its durability by using heavier stock and larger staples, but the design is not meant to last a long time. If you want more durability, choose perfect binding.
    • Best for smaller publications: Saddle stitch binding works for publications up to 80 pages. The staples aren’t strong enough to securely hold more pages. If your booklet, comic, or manual is larger than that, you should use perfect or plastic coil or wire-o binding. Plastic coil and wire-o binding is the right choice if you want a large book that can lay flat.

    Is It Better to Use a Self-Cover or a Plus Cover?

    You can get good results with both, but a plus cover looks more polished and professional.

    When Should You Use a Saddle Stitch Binding?

    Slender, lightweight documents are excellent candidates for this binding style. Typically, you will see saddle stitch binding in:

    • Catalogs
    • Magazines
    • Comic books
    • Instruction booklets
    • Directories
    • Annual reports
    • Calendars
    • Newsletters
    • Brochures
    • Composition books

    Can You Print on the Spine?

    No, you cannot print on the spine with saddle stitch binding. It’s too thin and doesn’t lay flat. If you want a booklet with a printed spine, choose perfect binding.

    How Should You Prepare Printing Files for Saddle Stitch Binding?

    When you send a file to your printer, send it as a single PDF that has each page of the booklet. Export the file as single pages instead of as multi-page spreads. Here are some tips for getting the best results:

    1 Include the covers as part of the PDF file. Don’t export them separately.

    2 Include a margin of ¼ inch minimum around each page for any text, colors, or images that don’t need to go to the edge. Why do you need a margin? Even when you’re working with a skilled printer, some variations naturally occur in every print job that requires cutting. You can’t guarantee that every page will be cut in the same spot or the same way. Using a margin preserves your design and prevents parts of your booklet from being cut out.

    3 Watch for creep. Creep is what you see when a printer collates and folds the printed sheets. It is caused by the weight of the paper causing the inner pages to extend or “creep” out further than the outer pages when the stack is folded. If your pages have a margin that can be cut, the printer can safely cut these creeping edges to produce a book with straight, even edges.

    4 Choose the stock for your covers and interior pages.

    5 Use the right color system. If your project includes photos and illustrations, use the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color system. Most professional printers use CMYK. If you have used the RGB (red, green, blue) color system, change it to CMYK before you upload your file. If you use Pantone colors, select Pantone Solid Coated spot colors.

    6 Spread out the design. When you create your booklet or catalog, take advantage of a saddle-stitched book’s ability to lay flat. Create a striking interior design that takes up two pages of color and text.

    7 Set the covers up correctly. The first page is the front cover, and the last page is the back cover. They will be printed on the same side of the same sheet of paper.

    How Many Pages Can You Use in a Saddle-Stitched Book or Catalog?

    Every saddle-stitched product uses a page count of four. The total number of your pages must be in multiples of four. The minimum number of pages is 8, and the maximum is 80.

    We recommend sticking to 40 pages if you’re using a heavier card stock like 100-pound paper. More pages will cause the booklet to bubble open because the staples can’t hold together that many heavy pages. If you use a lighter stock of 80 pounds, you can increase the page count to 64 without worrying about bubbling. Use 60 pound or 70 pound paper for over 64 pages.

    What’s the Best Size for This Binding Style?

    Most printed products with saddle stitch binding come in either a tabloid size, which is 8.5 x 11 (11 x 17 folded in half), or letter size, which is 5.5 x 8.5 (8.5 x 11 folded in half). However, custom sizes are also available.

    Can You Use Gloss Coating on the Cover?

    You can use paper with an uncoated, gloss, or matte finish. You cannot use lamination on a saddle stitch project.

    Where Can You Get Saddle Stitch Binding at an Affordable Price?

    We hope you’ve found these saddle stitch binding FAQs helpful. At Dazzle Printing, we offer fast turnaround and low rates on printed, saddle-stitched products. We can help you print great-looking booklets, brochures, or catalogs. Contact us today for a price quote or check our online pricing calculators for instant quotes.


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