Specifying Ring Binders
- How many
binders do you need?
- How many sheets of paper
must they hold? Include tabs (due to their thickness,
count each tab as four pages). The capacity of a binder
is determined by measuring the inside diameter of round
rings or the inside height of "D" rings. Your
binder manufacturer can provide a chart showing how many
pages each ring size will accommodate: 1/2", 3/4",
1", 1 1/2", 2, and 2 1/2".
- Do you want vinyl (durable
and cheap) or turned edge binders (elegant but more expensive)?
Turned edge refers to fabric glued over binder board.
- How do you want your binders
decorated? Your options include screen printing (for longer
runs), which works well on vinyl and is good for line
art. Screens and halftones are more challenging, so discuss
these with your printer. Foil stamping, embossing, and
applique are other options. For lower runs, consider offset
printing inserts and slipping them under the clear, overlay
pockets (outside front cover and spine). You can even
have your binder manufacturer seal these inserts beneath
- How large a sheet must your
binders accommodate? Include the size of the tabs that
extend beyond the trim size of the sheet.
- What color do you want? If
your run exceeds 10,000 or so units, many binder producers
will provide a custom PMS color for your binders: your
logo color, for instance.
- Do you want the rivets exposed
or unexposed? Neither is stronger than the other. However,
concealing the rivets may look better if you have artwork
on the spine.
- Do you want inside pockets? If
so, do you want one or two? How about outside or inside
business card pockets or CD holders?
- Will you need sheet lifters? These
plastic strips protect the text and keep the first and
last pages from tearing.
- Do you want round rings or "D"
rings? "D" rings are mounted on the back cover.
Many people think pages turn more easily on "D"
rings and and are better aligned when the binder is full
Two things to
consider when producing binders:
- Your printer will understand what
you want better if you provide a mock-up, showing size,
contents, tabs, rivets, decoration, ring shape, etc.
- Have the manufacturer ship the contents
of the binder shrink-wrapped and set inside the binder but
not over the rings. This will avoid damaging both the contents
of the binder and the rings.
Web growth is obvious even if you don't
know what to call it. Most of you have seen perfect bound
books with the text extending a hair's breadth beyond the
trim of the cover. It's ugly.
What causes this? In cases such as
this, the text of the book has been printed on a heatset
web press. The high heat used to vaporize the solvent in
the ink during drying also takes the moisture out of the
sheet. Once the text blocks have been bound into the covers
(which usually have been produced via the sheetfed printing
process without the high heat of the web ovens), the text
blocks absorb moisture from the air and "grow"
beyond the covers (which don't absorb as much moisture).
What can you do about this? Some printers
say you can't do anything.
Some say that turning down the heat
ducts on the web press ovens will minimize this, while others
suggest letting the book blocks absorb the moisture before
being bound, and still others suggest trimming the books
twice. So if you plan to produce a perfect-bound book with
a text block printed on a web press and covers printed on
a sheetfed press, discuss this potential flaw with your
printer before the ink hits the paper.
[Steven Waxman is a printing consultant. He teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.]