Crafting A Perfect Bound Book Project – An Inside Look

Straight edges…  Exceptional elegance…  Professional final product…  

Those are just a couple superlatives to describe perfect bound books, magazines, catalogs and more.  When looking at a perfect bound book, your eyes affix to the sharp edges and notable design traits. These design traits add up to the quality experience that is produced from perfect binding.

There are many questions to ask yourself when deciding to dive into a new print project, especially when it comes to perfect bound books.

  1. Am I choosing the right size for my final printed product?
  2. What type of paper should I go with?
  3. How do I work my text in with the art?

With their ability to stand out and exemplify art and stories, perfect bound books are the place to turn to.

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We chatted with three talented people who have gone through the prefect bound process a time or two and gleaned some useful tips to share with our audience here.  From children’s books to quarterly magazines we’ve got some amazing products to showcase today!

The Importance Of Choosing The Right Size 

When it comes to sizing your project, there are a lot of options to choose from:

  1. 8.5 x 11
  2. 5.5 x 8.5 
  3. 6 x 6
  4. 6 x 9
  5. 8 x 8 
  6. 4.25 x 11

What’s the best method to help you decide which route to take?  Orientation matters when it comes to perfect bound books because of their high-quality nature; you’re going to want to present your work in the best possible manner.  The orientation of your perfect bound book can sometimes tell the story before you even lay art or text on a page.

This Image Represents 8×8 and 8.5×11 Perfect Bound Sizing 

Pamela Fong, Author and Illustrator, understands the importance of sizing for perfect bound books.  Her experience stems from her artistic background and exceptionally created characters and stories.  Pam knew her latest children’s book, “Smoke,” had to be square.

“The character was intimate.  The neutrality of the square design was a perfect fit,” Pam mentioned.  Her choice to go with the 8×8 option was wrapped around the story and the ability to be in close proximity of space between the viewer.

“Smoke” by Pamela Fong

Sometimes perfect bound books are displaying art or photography, which then guides the way for choosing the size of your perfect bound book.  For example, Justin Kouri designed a perfect bound book for galleryFritz and spoke about letting the art within the book be the place to start when it came to deciding the size.  “Frank’s (the artist) work is mostly 48×48, which has a natural fit for the square orientation. And it leans towards a more minimalist approach,” Justin said of the perfect bound.

Fritz Gallery Art Book Designed by Justin Kouri

Size is a crucial starting point and shouldn’t be taken lightly when designing your perfect bound book.  It speaks to the viewer in different ways, and when you choose the right size, you just know it!

Mixing Up Paper Possibilities 

“The feel is just as important as the visuals,” Leigh-Ann Sullivan said of her quarterly perfect bound magazine Folks Journal.  One look at Folks’ exceptionally designed magazine and you’ll know Leigh-Ann’s background as publisher/creative guru is advice worth noting.

Folks Journal opts to go with an 80# uncoated cover and 60# uncoated text on the inside giving the magazine an exceptional tactile experience for its readers.  When you look at the visuals and art within the magazine, you begin to understand how this paper option reflects its content.

With three types of papers; gloss, matte and uncoated, you’re sure to find the right fit for your perfect bound.  The uncoated option Leigh-Ann went with is non-reflective, and pairs Folks text well with its art.  Uncoated is slightly more expensive than the glossy option, but when you’re selling a magazine, like Folks, it’s worth it because of that tangible experience.  PrintingCenterUSA is all about custom, and your perfect bound magazine or book should reflect that customization.

Instant Booklet Pricing: Learn More

Choosing the Perfect Paper For Your Next Print Project: Blog

Create The “Page Turn”

“The image has to entice the reader to turn the page,” Pam said of her children’s book.  This is an important element to consider when it comes to your perfect bound book. Page numbers, art, ads, text, these are layout related questions for your book that need to be recognized in your design process.

Page turners occur when the images and text work together, moving the reader along.  If you’re working with a picture book like, “Smoke,” you want to lead the reader with telling imagery.  As the reader goes from page 1 to 32, the images have to reflect a building story with each turn, ultimately culminating in a conclusion.  The page turn reflects the author’s ability to actively engage with the reader as they move through the story.

Folks Journal

Final Thoughts

Perfect bound books and magazines work well with many types of projects.  Customizable sizing and paper options allow you to truly create a final product that embodies the purpose of the work.   Whether you’re working on Volume VII of your regional publication, writing a children’s book or displaying art, you can be sure a perfect bound book is the way to go!

If you’re unsure of where to start or have limited resources, give our free online booklet design tool a shot and start designing your perfect bound today.

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