Designing For Perfect Binding

After you upload your PDF to MagCloud, if it is over 20 pages you will have the option to select perfect binding for your print version. Although MagCloud uses the same PDF for saddle stitch and perfect bound publications, if you plan to choose perfect binding there are a few things that are good to keep in mind while you are designing your PDF.

Content Near The Spine
Saddle stitch binding allows your printed copy to lay flat when it is opened, allowing all content up to the inside edge of your PDF to be visible in the final print copy. Perfect bound publication are glued at the spine which results in approximately a quarter inch of the inside edge of your pages to be less visible because a perfect bound print cannot lie flat without breaking the spine. Therefore, it is good to account for an extra 0.25 inches of margin on the inside edge of your publication when placing text and images on the page, keeping in mind that anything within this 0.25 inches, also referred to as the gutter, may be lost into the spine in the final print.

Images Across Two-Page Spreads
The gutter can be troublesome when you want to place an image across the center spine of your publication. When an image covers two pages, the inside 0.25 inches on both pages will be obscured, which amounts to a half of an inch in the center of the image. This is enough to cause a full person to disappear in a larger group photo, or obscure a subject’s nose in a centered portrait. The best way to account for this is to shift the image outward on both pages so that it is duplicated inside the gutter (shown within the pink lines in the diagram below). Doing so will create the appearance of a continuous image across both pages in spite of the binding.

It’s also a good rule of thumb to avoid centering the focus of your image directly on or near the spine in a perfect bound publication. This disappearing act will be much less obvious if your eye isn’t drawn to it, as shown in the layout on the right versus the one on the left below.

Designing a Spine
Another design aspect to think about with perfect bound publications is the spine. After you upload your PDF to the MagCloud site and select perfect binding, you’ll have the option to pick a color for your spine or upload your own design. In either case, it’s a good idea to pick colors and designs for your spine that are the same or very close to the front and back covers of your publication. Just as the trim of your print copy can vary slightly, so can the placement of the spine, and this will be far more obvious if you have selected a white spine with a dark cover. Choosing a spine color that closely matches your cover or continuing an image from the front or back covers will ensure that your printed publication has a professional appearance every time.

Do you have a good-looking perfect bound publication design that you’d like to show off, or any tips of your own to share? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How-to-Guides Make Publishing on MagCloud a Snap!

We’ve just released a series of step-by-step guides to help our publishers create PDFs that are MagCloud publish-ready.

There are guides for a wide variety of design, desktop publishing and word processing applications including Adobe InDesign, QuarkXpress, Apple Pages, Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word.

The How-to-Guides walk you through document settings, trim and bleed tips, image sizing, color spacing, designing for perfect binding, PDF exporting and more.

All guides are available for free digital download or you can order a print copy at MagCloud of course :).

If you are looking for inspiration check out some of our existing design templates for brochures, cookbooks and calendars.

Happy Publishing!

MagCloud’s New Perfect Binding Option

One of the most requested features by publishers has been the option for perfect binding.  Perfect-bound magazines are square at the spine and use glue to hold the pages, like a paperback book. It gives your issues a more professional feel, and can accommodate a much higher page count – up to 384 pages.

Using MagCloud’s new perfect binding option is super easy:

perfectbinding1. To begin, sign in to MagCloud and go to your Publisher’s Desk.
2. Create a new magazine issue.
3. Upload your PDF or select your Flickr photo set.
4. Preview your issue. Look good? Keep going!
5. Now you get to choose a binding (saddle-stitched or perfect-bound) for your issue.
6. After you select perfect-bound you will see the “Add a spine” section, where you have a few options. You can choose to fill the spine with a solid color or upload your own design. To fill the spine with a color simply click the background color box and you will be given a chart from which you can select your spine color. If you prefer to “Design a Spine” you can download a template to create your custom design, then upload your design (JPG, PNG, or PDF format) and preview it on MagCloud. For issues over 80 pages you also have the option to create a spine with text directly from the MagCloud website.
7. Set your issue price, order a proof and you are done!  Note: because the binding process is more complex selecting the perfect-bound option does add $1.00 to your issue cost.

You can use the same PDF file or Flickr photo set for both saddle-stitched and perfect-bound magazines, but there will be some differences in the final product.  For a few tips on how to optimize your design for perfect-bound magazines or learn more about this great new feature visit our Help Section.

Enjoy this new feature and if you have any comments or questions please let us know.