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Types of Booklet Binding Explained

Types of Booklet Binding Explained

Read Time: 4 Minutes


13 Jul 2016

When you’ve poured all your creative juices into designing a booklet, you’re going to want the finish to do it justice. But with so many binding types available, it’s sometimes difficult to know which one will best suit your needs.

To help you along, we’ve put together a rundown of the three most popular book binding types. So if you want to know your wiro from your perfect bound, or get the low down on stitched, here are all the types of binding explained… 


Stitched (AKA Stapled)

Stitched (also known as saddle stitched or stapled) is a method that uses a long metal wire to bind your booklets together. It works a lot like a sewing machine; the stack of collated sheets gets fed into the machine, then ‘jogged’* to make sure they’re stacked neatly. The machine then pierces the paper and feeds the roll of wire through the stack, before the wire is folded into something that acts as a staple. Intricate, right?

*Like when you straighten a stack of paper by holding them perpendicular to the desk and tapping them into place, but on a much bigger scale.




Stitched is typically the most cost-effective binding type and is suitable for a whole army of bound documents, including programmes, prospectuses and magazines. 

Although not as sturdy or luxurious as a perfect or wiro booklet, stapled is a fantastic option for displaying a lot of information at a low cost.

There are a few things to consider if you’re going to use stitched binding:

  • Try not to go over 50 printed pages. Any more than that and the sheets will spring up in the middle, which will keep your booklets from sitting right. 
  • As it’s folded in multiples of 4, make sure your design follows the same rule. 


The size you pick will depend on what you want to use the booklet for. A6 works well for instructions or product manuals, A5 a desserts menu, A4 a catalogue or an a la carte menu, and so on. You can find more size recommendations on our stapled booklets page.

You can also choose from a range of stock options for the cover and inside pages. Keep them the same thickness, or switch them up for a more high end feel that doesn’t break the bank.





Perfect Bound

If you’re looking for something sturdy and smart, perfect bound books are ideal. It’s achieved by gluing a stack of paper on the spine edge using PVA glue, before wrapping a cover around it to secure. The result is essentially a paperback book; clean, stylish and a professional finish.




The rule of thumb for perfect bound is to have a minimum of 40 printed pages. Any less than that and the spine won’t be substantial enough to take to the glue. Most often, the book cover will be thicker than the inner pages. This makes it easy for the spine to be written on or designed on, which is great if you want to see your booklet looking all fancy on a bookshelf!

We print ours on a choice of thin or medium silk stock and writable stock, with a thick 250gsm cover for a high quality look and feel.

If you’re wondering what perfect binding is best suited for, it’s usually the kind of booklet that is kept and referred back to; so catalogues, directories, prospectuses, car handbooks and self-published novels will do the trick just nicely. It’s also a fantastic option for employee handbooks to give to new starters in your business. 

We’d avoid this option if you’re after a bulk order of magazines on a budget – our stapled range are the best choice for this use!

For an extra special finish, you can also add a coat of lamination to your book cover. This is a special coating that gives the cover a certain feel – choose between no-shine matt, high-shine gloss or soft-touch velvet. 


A4 Perfect Bound Landscape Category.jpg




Image: binding101.com



You’ll have probably come across wiro binding at school or around the office. Used for notebooks, document printing, sketchpads, calendars and planners, it’s hugely popular and great if you need to rip pages out of your book without leaving a mess behind!

It also means you can lay pages completely flat, because they move around a central silver coil. 


wiro mochithings 2.JPG

Image: mochithings.com


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Image: wayfair.com


The wiro binding process is pretty straightforward; a stack of paper is hole-punched down one side and an open metal wire is then placed through the holes and closed around the stack. Easy breezy! Our metal coil is silver in colour and has a diameter that measures 6mm-14mm depending on how many pages you choose to add.

Wire spiral binding will usually create a hardback book as the cover is made from a thick card. This is there to support (and protect) the pages and act as a sturdy surface to write on. As pages are slid into the stack individually, designing for Wiro binding is relatively uncomplicated. The result is cost-effective, unfussy and easy-to-use. What more could you want?

Your paper type decision will depend on whether you want to be able to write in your wire bound booklet or not. A smooth silk or high-shine gloss paper is ideal for sales catalogues or manuals, whereas uncoated writable stock is the best option for notebooks and activity books. 

Looking to send a mailer? You can fit our perfect and stapled bound booklets into an envelope without the fuss – stick to wiro if you’re making handouts or activity books.

We recommend having no less than 20 printed pages and no more than 104 for the best effect. You can keep them plain (or lined for notebooks) or add a different design to each page.


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Image: papersource.com



So now you’re brushed up on your binding methods, go forth and get creative! Whichever type you choose, there’s nothing quite like picking up a copy of your gleaming, finished booklet

If you’re not sure where to start with designing a booklet for print, here are some easy step-by-step instructions for making a booklet in Word, Publisher, Pages, Google Docs and InDesign. We cover all the basics you need to know for creating your own awesome design, including setting up the document with bleed, inserting text boxes and images, and saving your design in a print-ready file type.

Lauren Baldwin

About the Author

Hi! I’m Lauren, the Graphic Designer at instantprint. I like helping customers by creating helpful print and designs tips and guides to make sure their artwork looks the best that it can.