Booklet Printing Basics

Booklets are one of the most versatile products businesses can use. Booklets, any bound document with more than four pages, can be used for everything from expanded brochures, to catalogs, manuals, newsletters, and even calendars are technically booklets. Booklets provide a professional presentation of information with high quality covers and full color graphics. Here are five basic tips for high impact booklets.

  1. Have the right number of pages. The page count in a booklet must be a multiple of four. Booklets are made by folding full sheets into four pages. For instance, three sheets of 8.5″x11″ paper folded in half and stapled together create twelve individual 5.5″x8.5″ pages. Therefore, every booklet must contain a page count including the cover, inside cover, inside back cover and back cover that is divisible by four. If your document only has thirty one pages, then a blank page needs to be added, usually an extra blank page in the front or back, to reach thirty two pages which is a multiple of four.
  2. Number your pages correctly. Numbering the pages in a booklet is a little detail that is important to get right and easy to miss.  If you are printing a newsletter, directory or manual with page numbers it is important to follow convention with your page numbering. Page one is on the right. So, a typical booklet would have a cover, an inside cover and then page one. If you don’t have anything designed for the inside cover, then it is simply left blank rather than moving page one to the inside cover
  3. Choose between full color and black and white inside pages. The decision to use color or black and white printing is mostly determined by the end use of the booklet. For marketing related material like expanded brochures or presentations, full color printing delivers the most impact and a more professional look. For more text heavy documents including manuals, newsletters, and directories, basic black and white inside pages are perfectly fine. You can always choose to add a full color cover with black and white inside pages to add a little visual interest to your booklet.
  4. Pick the right cover. There are four types of booklet covers. Self covers use the same paper as the inside pages (self cover). A standard cover is on thick cover stock to add some heft and differentiate it from the inside pages. You can also use a clear front cover with a leatherette back cover, or have covers inserted into the front of a three ring binder. Expanded brochures, playbills, programs, and newsletters can have a self cover or standard cover. Thick covers are used for manuals, directories, catalogs and presentations. Presentations and manuals could also use clear front covers with leatherette backs or three ring binders.
  5. Use an appropriate binding option.Binding options for booklets include saddle stitch, perfect binding, wire binding, or a three ring binder. Saddle stitch binding uses two staples along the spine of the booklet, perfect binding is the process of gluing the pages to the spine of the cover like a paperback book, wire binding uses a metal “comb” to hold the pages together. Most booklets are saddle stitched. This is a great option for booklets with less than forty pages and for self cover booklets. For booklets with more pages or if you want a clear cover with leatherette back then wire binding is the best option. Wire binding is also good for notebooks or workbooks, since you can flip the pages all the way around to the back. Lastly, for very large booklets, such as manuals or presentations with a hundred or more pages, three ring binders or perfect binding is most appropriate.