Six books with various binding styles on a wooden bookshelf

There are many options when it comes to book binding — check out the top 5 book binding styles for journals here — and it can be a little overwhelming to figure out what’s best for your print project. Let’s take a look at a few important things you should consider when choosing the perfect binding option for your project. — I couldn’t resist that delicious binding pun 🤣 #SorryNotSorry.


But First, What Is Binding?

Binding is the joining of leafs or signatures together — AKA your printed pages — with either wire, glue or other means. 


7 Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing Your Book Binding Style.

The 3 things you should consider when choosing your binding style are:

  1. Function
  2. Thickness and quantity
  3. Budget

The Function Of Your Book

It’s important to look at what you are creating and how you intend for your clients to interact with your book. 

If you’re creating a journal, your clients will be writing in it. You’ll want to use a binding style that lays flat such as smyth sewn.

If you’re creating a novel that is intended for reading only, laying flat may not be a requirement. You can look at the traditional paperback binding style known as perfect binding. 


A fanned out Pantone swatch book with post and screw binding

A fanned out Pantone swatch book with post and screw binding.


A swatch book may require yet a different binding style. If you intend for your client to be able to fan out the pages and assess multiple swatches side by side, a post and screw binding could be considered. 

The function is the most important aspect when choosing your binding style.

At this stage, you should also consider your goal and how often you intend for your clients to use your book.

You may consider a different binding style if you’re putting together a quick resource for your clients to use during a workshop, versus a memento for them to keep and use over and over again

Ask yourself:

How will my clients interact with my book?

What is my goal for this resource?

Thickness And Quantity

The number of pages in your book along with the type of paper you’re printing on will determine the thickness of your book. 

Certain styles of binding, such as saddle stitching, lend themselves to thinner books — less than 0.125″. Whereas other styles such as perfect binding or Chicago screw binding work best for heftier volumes.

You’ll also want to consider how many books you plan to print. The cost per book will decrease as your volume increases no matter what binding style you choose.

For the more expensive binding styles — such as a hardcover smyth sewn book — it can cost hundreds of dollars to produce a single copy. This is due to the time and labor it takes to set up the job for binding. 

Many printers won’t bind low quantities of the more luxury binding styles. The set up is simply too costly.

Ask yourself:
How many pages do I expect my book be?

What quality of paper do I want to print on? 

How many books do I plan on printing?

Your Print And Binding Budget

A budget of a few hundred dollars versus a budget of a few thousand dollars will play a significant role in your binding options.

It goes without saying that the more luxurious your book, the more costly it will be. 

Align your budget with your goal.

If your goal is longevity, and deep brand connection you’ll want to invest a larger budget in your print materials. If you’re looking for a quick handout to be used during a workshop, then a smaller budget may be more suitable.

Don’t be shy to share your budget with your designer. This will ensure they set you up with a book design that suits your needs rather than creating something amazing that isn’t realistic to print. 

 Ask yourself:

How much money am I ready to invest in this project? 

 Does my budget align with my goal?

Your Binding Options

It’s important to think about binding before you start your book design. Ask yourself the questions above and be prepared to share your answers with your graphic designer. 

Binding can bring so much character and prestige to your book. 

If you’re ready to discuss your own journal or book design, let’s chat!

It’s time to surprise and delight your amazing clients! 

A Little More Printspiration

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