Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Production

Avoid Costly Printing Problems With These Real World Binding and Finishing Tips

  • Print
  • + Share This
As a graphic designer, you've probably learned the hard way that building your files without considering the finishing processes (like trimming and binding) can cost you money and delay your job. Consequently, the more you know about folding, trimming, binding, and imposition, the better prepared you'll be to correctly build files. This chapter gives you all the real world tips you need to painlessly print your files.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Getting ink on paper isn't the end of the story. The printed piece must be trimmed to its final size and subjected to any required folding and gluing. Build it the wrong size in the beginning, and you'll suffer the slings and arrows of irritated bindery operators later on. Layout repairs cost money and time. The mechanical alterations required to mend incorrect page size or configuration can be much more complex (and expensive) than just changing a font. Even if your artwork is perfect, you must keep in mind that trimming, folding, binding, and fancy finishing treatments such as embossing are all physical processes. Environmental influences such as temperature and humidity, coupled with the stresses of moving paper through printing presses, folding equipment, and trimming devices, can result in errors in the final piece. As a designer, you can't control those physical processes. But if you take those possibilities into account as you prepare artwork and create page layouts, you may be able to minimize adverse effects.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Even if you don't sew, you can nonetheless anticipate the unfortunate results of using a defective pattern. The old adage "measure twice, cut once" applies to any manufacturing process, whether it's sewing or printing (Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 Careful planning when creating a pattern can mean the difference between being stylish (left) and facing public humiliation (right).

Building your files without considering the finishing processes (like trimming and binding) can cost you money and delay your job. Consequently, the more you know about folding, trimming, binding, and imposition, the better prepared you'll be to correctly build files. Let's start with two dimensions—width and height—and work our way up to the challenge of designing in three dimensions. Think of it as one of those fun, spatial reasoning games that you loved as a child. (Or maybe you didn't. In that case, you'll hate this part of the book.) And all games have rules....

Rule Number One: Build to the Correct Trim Size

If you're creating an odd-sized piece—say, a 5–by–4 inch invitation—don't put it all alone in the middle of a letter-sized page. Create a custom page size that matches the final trim size of your piece. In a page layout program such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress, specify the size as you begin the document (Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 To specify a custom page size, enter the correct values in the Width and Height fields as you create a new file in InDesign (left) or QuarkXPress (right).

If you're using a drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe (formerly Macromedia) FreeHand®, the page limits that you see are just imaginary paper. Only the actual drawing's dimensions count. For more information on the way illustration programs handle page size, see Chapter Ten, "Illustrator Production Tips," and Chapter Eleven, "FreeHand Production Tips."

Why is this important? Take a simple business card as an example. The print service provider doesn't feed little individual 3.5 by 2 inch pieces of paper through a press to create cards one at a time. Your business card doesn't float alone in the middle of a press sheet as in Figure 3.3. Instead, multiple copies of the card are printed simultaneously—imposed—for a press sheet, which is subsequently trimmed to final size. That's why it's important to supply artwork of the correct size (Figure 3.4). Prepress technicians need to position your artwork accurately in the imposed layout. If they have to modify your file to do so, it costs money—and threatens your deadline.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 Incorrect: A single business card on an oversized page.

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 Correct: A single business card built to correct size: 3.5 by 2 inches.

If you supply business card art as a lonely card on a letter-sized page, a prepress operator will have to copy the card art into a new page of the correct size (or change the dimensions of the existing file) so it's correct for everything down the line. In addition to requiring an extra, time-consuming step, this also introduces the possibility of error—not copying some little detail or moving something in the process. Figure 3.13, later in this chapter, shows one method of imposing business cards. The imposition used by your print service provider might be different, depending on their press and the size of paper used.

Rule Number Two: Provide Bleed

Trimming is the finishing process that chops the printed piece to the correct final size. Since this is a mechanical process, it helps to have some margin for error in both the printing and trimming processes. Consequently, any time there is artwork intended to extend to the edge of the page, it's necessary to provide bleed—extra image beyond the edge of the true page size. Commonly, bleed extends one-eighth of an inch (.125 inch or 9 points) beyond the trim line, but your print service provider may request a different bleed value. As with all issues, it behooves you to check the print service provider's specifications as you begin the job.

However, Rule Number Two does not invalidate Rule Number One, which stipulates that you should build to the correct trim size. Start with the correct trim size, and then add the extra image (or flat color) beyond the trim limits by yanking on the edges of the appropriate frames. In a page-layout program like InDesign or QuarkXPress, it's a simple matter to pull on the handles of image and tint frames to extend them beyond the page edges for sufficient bleed (Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.5 Extending artwork to provide bleed. The document is built to the correct final trim size, and the bleed extends beyond the trim.

In a drawing program, such as Illustrator or FreeHand, the visible page edge doesn't necessarily indicate the limits of what you can draw. Depending on how you export your artwork from Illustrator or FreeHand, objects beyond that edge may be maintained, or they may be eliminated. This behavior is particularly confusing when you're trying to make sure that you're building your artwork to the correct size, with appropriate bleed. For specific information about handling this issue, see Chapter Ten, "Illustrator Production Tips," and Chapter Eleven, "FreeHand Production Tips."

Rule Number Three: Stay Away From the Edge

You may have your heart set on that adorable doggie paw print border, but placing it too close to the edge or fold may result in disappointing results if there's any error in printing, folding, or binding. The closer your artwork is to the trim edge, the smaller the margin (literally) for error, and the more obvious any inaccuracy will be. What to do?

Don't place artwork perilously close to the edges (both internal and external). But, if you just must, make the margin as wide as possible to camouflage any problems. A small trimming error is less obvious against a larger total margin (Figure 3.6). Which leads us to Rule Number Four.

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 In an ideal world, your cute little paw-print border will print and trim perfectly. But a slight misregister during printing, combined with binding and trimming errors, can produce disappointing results (middle). The effect is exaggerated for dramatic effect, but you get the idea. A larger margin (right) makes it easier to camouflage a binding error.

Rule Number Four: Follow the Print Specifications

Your print service provider should provide folding and trimming specifications to guide you as you create your work, including such information as:

  • Minimum distance from edges and folds for artwork
  • Minimum amount of bleed (usually 1/8 of an inch)
  • Suggested sizes for panels in folded pieces
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020