Thursday, 13 October 2011

Design Production for Print//TOP TEN PRINT MANUAL PROJECT RESEARCH//Book Binding.

Starting some research on book binding for my Top Ten Print Manual Project Research. Although the deliverables for the project only states an Issuu (online publication) publishing, if time and finances permit, I would really like to take the design to print- with my new printing skills and knowledge obtained from the last couple of weeks through workshops and seminars.

Along with online existing examples of binding and print, I have sourced a few basic informative pieces on the practice and range of bookbinding methods from the apparent Wikipedia page.

- ISLAMIC BOOKCOVER (With a distinctive flap on the back cover that wraps around to the front when the book is closed).
- CALF-BINDING ("leather bound")


A hardcover, hardbound book has rigid covers and is stitched in the spine. Looking from the top of the spine, the book can be seen to consist of a number of signatures bound together. When the book is opened in the middle of a signature, the binding threads are visible. Signatures of hardcover books are typically octavo (a single sheet folded three times), though they may also be folio, quarto, or 16mo (see Book size). Unusually large and heavy books are sometimes bound with wire.
Until the mid-20th century, covers of mass-produced books were laid with cloth, but from that period onwards, most publishers adopted clothette, a kind of textured paper which vaguely resembles cloth but is easily differentiated on close inspection. Most cloth-bound books are now half-and-half covers with cloth covering only the spine. In that case, the cover has a paper overlap. The covers of modern hardback books are made of thick cardboard.
Some books that appeared in the mid-20th century signature-bound appear in reprinted editions in glued-together editions. It is often difficult to find a copy of such books stitched together in their original format. They are sought for aesthetic and practical reasons.
A variation of the hardcover which is more durable is the calf-binding, where the cover is either half or fully clad in leather, usually from a calf. This is also called full-bound or, simply, leather bound.
Library binding refers to the hardcover binding of serials and paperback books intended for the rigors of library use. Though many publishers have started to provide "library binding" editions, many libraries elect to purchase paperbacks and have them rebound as hardcover books, resulting in longer life for the material.


The most common type of hardcover binding for books. The pages are arranged in signatures and glued together into a "textblock.". The textblock is then attached to the cover or "case" which is made of cardboard covered with paper, cloth, vinyl or leather. This is also known as perfect binding, cloth binding, or edition binding.


Where the signatures of the book start off as loose pages which are then clamped together. Small vertical holes are punched through the far left-hand edge of each signature, and then the signatures are sewn together with lock-stitches to form the text block. Oversewing is a very strong method of binding and can be done on books up to five inches thick. However, the margins of oversewn books are reduced and the pages will not lie flat when opened. 


Where the signatures of the book are folded and stitched through the fold. The signatures are then sewn or glued together at the spine to form a text block. In contrast to oversewing, through-the-fold books have wide margins and can open completely flat. However, the text block of a sewn-through-the-fold book is not very secure, which can cause some signatures to come loose over time. Many varieties of sewing stitches exist, from basic links to complex decorative stitches. While Western books are generally sewn through holes punched along the fold, some Asian bindings, such as the Retchoso or Butterfly Stitch of Japan, use small slits instead of punched holes.


Starts off with two signatures of loose pages, which are run over a roller—"fanning" the pages—to apply a thin layer of glue to each page edge. Then the two signatures are perfectly aligned to form a text block, and glue edges of the text block are attached to a piece of cloth lining to form the spine. Double-fan adhesive bound books can open completely flat and have a wide margin. However, certain types of paper do not hold adhesive well, and, with wear and tear, the pages can come loose.



A type of binding that is used for books that will be viewed or read in an office or home type environment. The binding involves the use of a "C" shaped wire spine that is squeezed into a round shape using a wire closing device. Double wire binding allows books to have smooth crossover and is affordable in many colors. This binding is great for annual reports, owners manuals and software manuals. Wire bound books are made of individual sheets, each punched with a line of round or square holes on the binding edge. This type of binding uses either a 3:1 pitch hole pattern with three holes per inch or a 2:1 pitch hole pattern with two holes per inch. The three to one hole pattern is used for smaller books that are up to 9/16" in diameter while the 2:1 pattern is normally used for thicker books as the holes are slightly bigger to accommodate slightly thicker, stronger wire. Once punched, the back cover is then placed on to the front cover ready for the wire binding elements (double loop wire) to be inserted. The wire is then placed through the holes. The next step involves the binder holding the book by its pages and inserting the wire into a "closer" which is basically a vise that crimps the wire closed and into its round shape. The back page can then be turned back to its correct position, thus hiding the spine of the book.

Uses a 9/16" pitch rectangular hole pattern punched near the bound edge. A curled plastic "comb" is fed through the slits to hold the sheets together. Comb binding allows a book to be disassembled and reassembled by hand without damage. Comb supplies are typically available in a wide range of colors and diameters. The supplies themselves can be re-used or recycled. In the United States, comb binding is often referred to as 19-ring binding because it uses a total of 19 holes along the 11-inch side of a sheet of paper.

Used to permanently rivet pages together using a plastic strip on the front and back of the document. Sheets for the document are punched with a line of holes near the bound edge. A series of pins attached to a plastic strip called a Comb feeds through the holes to the other side and then goes through another plastic strip called the receiving strip. The excess portion of the pins is cut off and the plastic heat-sealed to create a relatively flat bind method. VeloBind provides a more permanent bind than comb-binding, but is primarily used for business and legal presentations and small publications.

The most economical form of mechanical binding when using plastic or metal. It is commonly used for atlases and other publications where it is necessary or desirable to be able to open the publication back on itself without breaking the spine. There are several types but basically it is made by punching holes along the entire length of the spine of the page and winding a wire helix (like a spring) through the holes to provide a fully flexible hinge at the spine. Spiral coil binding uses a number of different hole patterns for binding documents. The most common hole pattern used with this style is 4:1 pitch (4 holes per inch). However, spiral coil spines are also available for use with 3:1 pitch, 5:1 pitch and 0.400-hole patterns.

A relatively new binding style that was originally designed for use with a 3:1 pitch wire binding hole pattern. This type of binding uses an element that snaps shut and can be easily opened for editing purposes. The editing abilities of this style make it popular with direct sales organizations and mobile offices. Proclick is manufactured exclusively by the General Binding Corporation.

Manufactured by the General Binding Corporation and offers easy editing. However, the binding spines for this style are designed to work with the 9/16" plastic comb binding hole pattern. Like Proclick, Zipbind spines can easily be opened and closed without the need for a binding machine. Thus the addition and deletion of pages is a simple process provided that the pages have already been punched.


Is often used, and gives a result similar to paperback books. National Geographic is one example of this type. Paperback or soft cover books are also normally bound using perfect binding. They usually consist of various sections with a cover made from heavier paper, glued together at the spine with a strong flexible glue. The sections are rough-cut in the back to make them absorb the hot glue. The other three sides are then face trimmed. This is what allows the magazine or paperback book to be opened. Mass market paperbacks (pulp paperbacks) are small (16mo size), cheaply made and often fall apart after much handling or several years. Trade paperbacks are more sturdily made, usually larger, and more expensive.

Uses a one piece cover with glue down the spine to quickly and easily bind documents without the need for punching. Individuals usually purchase "thermal covers" or "therm-a-bind covers" which are usually made to fit a standard size sheet of paper and come with a glue channel down the spine. The paper is placed in the cover, heated in a machine (basically a griddle), and when the glue cools, it adheres the paper to the spine. Thermal glue strips can also be purchased separately for individuals that wish to use customized/original covers. However, creating documents using thermal binding glue strips can be a tedious process which requires a scoring device and a large format printer.

Looks like a hardbound book at first sight, but it is really a paperback with hard covers. Many books that are sold as hardcover are actually of this type. The Modern Library series is an example. This type of document is usually bound with thermal adhesive glue using a perfect binding machine.

Refers to a system that wraps and glues a piece of tape around the base of the document. A tape binding machine such as the Powis Parker Fastback or Standard Accubind system will usually be used to complete the binding process and to activate the thermal adhesive on the glue strip. However, some users also refer to Tape Binding as the process of adding a colored tape to the edge of a mechanically fastened (stapled or stitched) document.

Is a variety of thermal binding that uses a special steel channel with resin rather than glue inside of it to give it a more sturdy bind to hold the pages in place. Unibind can be used to bind soft covered documents with a look that is similar to perfect binding. It can also be used for binding hardcover books and photo books. Like Thermal Binding, unibind usually requires you to purchase a one piece coverset to bind your documents. However, Unibind also offers SteelBack spines that allow you to use your own covers in the binding process. The majority of Unibinds covers can be printed on as well to give documents a unique finish. (Unibind is also the name of a International binding company).



- A SEWN BOOK is constructed in the same way as a hardbound book, except that it lacks the hard covers. The binding is as durable as that of a hardbound book.

- STAPLING through the centerfold, also called saddle-stitching, joins a set of nested folio into a single magazine issue; most American comic books are well-known examples of this type.

- MAGAZINES are considered more ephemeral than books, and less durable means of binding them are usual. In general, the cover papers of magazines will be the same as the inner pages (self-cover) or only slightly heavier (soft cover). Most magazines are stapled or saddle-stitched; however, some are bound with perfect binding and use thermally activated adhesive.

Modern bookbinding by hand can be seen as two closely allied fields: the creation of new bindings, and the repair of existing bindings. Bookbinders are often active in both fields. Bookbinders can learn the craft through apprenticeship; by attending specialized trade schools; by taking classes in the course of university studies, or by a combination of those methods. Some European countries offer a Master Bookbinder certification, though no such certification exists in the United States. MFA programs that specialize in the 'Book Arts,' (hand paper-making, printmaking and bookbinding) are available through certain colleges and universities.
Hand bookbinders create new bindings that run the gamut from historical book structures made with traditional materials to modern structures made with 21st century materials, and from basic cloth-case bindings to valuable full-leather fine bindings. Repairs to existing books also encompass a broad range of techniques, from minimally invasive conservation of a historic book to the full restoration and rebinding of a text.
Though almost any existing book can be repaired to some extent, only books that were originally sewn can be rebound by resewing. Repairs or restorations are often done to emulate the style of the original binding. For new works, some publishers print unbound manuscripts which a binder can collate and bind, but often an existing commercially-bound book is pulled, or taken apart, in order to be given a new binding. Once the textblock of the book has been pulled, it can be rebound in almost any structure; a modern suspense novel, for instance, could be rebound to look like a 16th-century manuscript. Bookbinders may bind several copies of the same text, giving each copy a unique appearance.
Hand bookbinders use a variety of specialized hand tools, the most emblematic of which is the bonefolder, a flat, tapered, polished piece of bone used to crease paper and apply pressure. Additional tools common to hand bookbinding include a variety of knives and hammers, as well as brass tools used during finishing.
When creating new work, modern hand binders often work on commission, creating bindings for specific books or collections. Books can be bound in many different materials. Some of the more common materials for covers are leather, decorative paper, and cloth (see also: buckram). Those bindings that are made with exceptionally high craftsmanship, and that are made of particularly high-quality materials (especially full leather bindings), are known as fine or extra bindings.
in the future. Bookbinders echo the physicians' creed, "First, do no harm."


Most of the following applies only in respect of American practices:
  • A leaf or folio is a single complete page, front and back, in a finished book.
    • The recto side of a leaf faces left when the leaf is held straight up from the spine (that is, an odd-numbered page).
    • The verso side of a leaf faces right when the leaf is held straight up from the spine (or an even-numbered page).
  • A bifolio is a single sheet folded in half to make two leaves. Each half of the bifolio is a folio, though the terms are often used interchangeably.
  • A section, sometimes called a gathering, or, especially if unprinted, a quire, is a group of bifolios nested together as a single unit. In a completed book, each section is sewn through its fold. Depending of how many bifolios a section is made of, it could be called:
    • duernion – two bifolios, producing four leaves;
    • ternion – three bifolios, producing six leaves;
    • quaternion – four bifolios, producing eight leaves;
    • quinternion – five bifolios, producing ten leaves;
    • sextern or sexternion – six bifolios, producing twelve leaves.
  • A codex is a series of one or more sections sewn through their folds, and linked together by the sewing thread.
  • A signature is a section that contains text. Though the term signature technically refers to the signature mark, traditionally a letter or number printed on the first leaf of a section in order to facilitate collation, the distinction is rarely made today.
  • Folio, quarto, and so on may also refer to the size of the finished book, based on the size of sheet that an early paper maker could conveniently turn out with a manual press. Paper sizes could vary considerably, and the finished size was also affected by how the pages were trimmed, so the sizes given are rough values only.
    • A folio volume is typically 15 in (38 cm) or more in height, the largest sort of regular book.
    • A quarto volume is typically about 9 in (23 cm) by 12 in (30 cm), roughly the size of most modern magazines. A sheet folded in quarto (also 4to or 4º) is folded in half twice at right angles to make four leaves. Also called: eight-page signature.
    • An octavo volume is typically about 5 to 6 in (13 to 15 cm) by 8 to 9 in (20 to 23 cm), the size of most modern digest magazines or trade paperbacks. A sheet folded in octavo (also 8vo or 8º) is folded in half 3 times to make 8 leaves. Also called: sixteen-page signature.
    • A sextodecimo volume is about 412 in (11 cm) by 634 in (17 cm), the size of most mass market paperbacks. A sheet folded in sextodecimo (also 16mo or 16º) is folded in half 4 times to make 16 leaves. Also called: 32-page signature.
    • Duodecimo or 12mo, 24mo, 32mo, and even 64mo are other possible sizes. Modern paper mills can produce very large sheets, so a modern printer will often print 64 or 128 pages on a single sheet.
  • A quire is a set of leaves which are stitched together. This is most often a single signature, but may be several nested signatures. The quires for a single book are arranged in order and then stitched together as a set.
  • Trimming allows the leaves of the bound book to be turned. A sheet folded in quarto will have folds at the spine and also across the top, so the top folds must be trimmed away before the leaves can be turned. A signature folded in octavo or greater may also require that the other two sides be trimmed. Deckle Edge, or Uncut books are untrimmed or incompletely trimmed, and may be of special interest to book collectors.

Paperback binding

Though books are sold as hardcover or paperback, the actual binding of the pages is important to durability. Most paperbacks and some hard cover books have a "perfect binding". The pages are aligned or cut together and glued. A strong and flexible layer, which may or may not be the glue itself, holds the book together. In the case of a paper back, the flexible cover is part of this flexible layer.

Spine orientation

In languages written from left to right, such as English, books are bound on the left side of the cover; looking from on top, the pages increase counter-clockwise. In right-to-left languages, books are bound on the right. In both cases, this is so the end of a page coincides with where it is turned. Many translations of Japanese comic books retain the binding on the right, which allows the art, laid out to be read right-to-left, to be published without mirror-imaging it.
In China (only areas using Traditional Chinese), Japan, and Taiwan, literary books are written top-to-bottom, right-to-left, and thus are bound on the right, while text books are written left-to-right, top-to-bottom, and thus are bound on the left. In mainland China, all books have changed to be written and bound like left to right languages in the mid-20th century.

Spine titling

Early books did not have titles on their spines; rather they were shelved flat with their spines inward, and titles written with ink along their fore edges. Modern books display their titles on their spines.
In languages with Chinese-influenced writing systems, the title is written top-to-bottom, as is the language in general. In languages written horizontally, conventions differ about the direction in which the title on the spine is rotated:
  • In the United States, the Commonwealth and in Scandinavia, titles are usually written top-to-bottom on the spine. This means that when the book is placed on a table with the front cover upwards, the title is correctly oriented left-to-right on the spine. This practice is reflected in the industry standards ANSI/NISO Z39.41 and ISO 6357.
  • In most of continental Europe, titles are conventionally printed bottom-to-top on the spine so, when the books are placed vertically on shelves, the title can be read by tilting the head to the left. 

'Visual Booty No. 1' are a series of printed zines created by Jason Wilkins, developed for design students at the University of Arkansas, USA, about the growth of a designer. 
With innovative and uniquely-utilised French fold binding, combined with cleverly perforated content and narrative pages within the illustrative designs, this makes for an original and stylishly simple design.

A sensational utilisation of materials in a publication and jacket design by RoAndCoStudio, New York for footwear designer, Candela. The cover reflects the leather material used in the construction and the designs of the shoes- with a stylish and innovative use of a buckle design on the cover as the book's bind.

Beautifully sophisticated and subtle design by Tomato Kosir in this printed publication presenting contemporary Slovenian writers in a two-part design- the first of Slovenian Humanists, the second of Social Scientists. The double bind perfect bind style makes for an involving and engaging reading experienced- an indulgent and considered design approach. Love the simple vectored style.


Wonderfully tactile-looking, considered printed publication by Leeds-based Graphic Designer, Scott Marc Berry for a promotional brief for 'Fedrigoni'- paper supplier and manufacturer.
The brief showcases the companies passion for their practice, as well as promoting their new studio space through paper-based media such as business cards and handouts.
A glorious range of printing methods and editing techniques, but with a clear brand consistency that ensure that the series is kept eye-catching and visually communicative of their (Fedrigoni) service.
A Japanese stab-binding bind is used to keep with the visually organic and considered aesthetic.

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