There are many functional and interesting ways to professionally bind your documents. You could go for something simple, like stapling your papers together, or assemble a three-ring binder with all the papers you need. But one of the best options is perfect binding. In case you aren’t familiar, perfect binding is a common choice for conventional books and magazines. In this binding, a professional printer will bind several pages together with adhesive; the ends of these grouped pages are then adhered to a spine and cover. What are the advantages of perfect binding, and is it right for every type of document? The Advantages of Perfect Binding These are some of the best advantages of perfect binding:
- A professional appearance. For starters, perfect binding can give your document a much more professional appearance. If you show up to a meeting with a stack of papers that are all stapled together, it suggests you may have rushed this process. If all those documents are perfect bound instead, you’ll make a much better impression. Your document will look much cleaner – and your audience will respect you more for it.
- Minimal weight. It’s definitely true that perfect bound books can get heavy – especially if you have hundreds to thousands of pages. But this is mostly due to the number of pages crammed into the document. Perfect binding itself is relatively lightweight. You don’t need metal coils or binders for this binding type; instead, you can rely almost exclusively on light adhesive.
- Inexpensiveness. Perfect binding is more expensive than the cheapest binding options, like stapling. But it’s still much less expensive than higher-end binding options. If you’re trying to make your documents look presentable on a budget, this makes perfect binding ideal.
- A durable spine. One problem people have with large documents is that they’re hard to review without damaging the binding in some form. But the flexible spine of perfect binding can accommodate this manipulation well. You can expect your perfect bound documents to last for months of even heavy use.
- Total versatility. Perfect binding isn’t suited to just one application. You can use it for almost anything. You can use it for printing softcover or hardcover books. You can use it to create magazines or catalogs to distribute to your direct mail audience. You can use it to assemble a sales presentation or even use it to print instruction manuals for complex machinery.
- Room for additional pages. Some people turn to perfect binding because of its ability to accommodate lots of pages. If you have hundreds to thousands of pages in your document, some binding options simply won’t be available to you – but perfect binding can handle even the biggest volumes.
Is Perfect Binding Perfect? Despite the name, perfect binding isn’t right for every project. There are some important considerations to keep in mind when trying to choose a type of binding for your next project. For example:
- Perfect binding isn’t great for small/short documents. Perfect binding handles big documents well, but small documents don’t hold up as well. If you have a 10-page manual for a product or an 8-page brochure, you’re better off going with saddle stitching or stapling. Perfect binding with small page counts can look sloppy.
- Different adhesives have varying levels of quality. All perfect binding isn’t the same. Different printers use different types of adhesive and different processes to produce their bound documents. If you choose an unreliable printer, or if you end up using the cheapest possible adhesive, your book may end up falling apart prematurely. Make sure you do a bit of extra digging – and don’t automatically go with the cheapest option.
- Spines can crack over time if mistreated. While perfect bound book spines should hold up for a long time, they can crack if they’re mistreated or if they’re handled roughly enough times. You’ve likely noticed this in some of the books you own; it doesn’t completely destroy the document, but it can be unsightly.
- Perfect bound books can be hard to manipulate in some contexts. If you want your audience to open your book flat reliably or take notes in the pages, perfect binding may not be the best choice. Other binding types, like wire-O binding, may be better suited to these contexts.
- Other binding options may be better suited for a professional setting. Perfect binding can make a powerful impression on your audience, but it’s not always the best choice for a client meeting or a traditional work environment.
Perfect binding isn’t truly perfect, but it does have a lot of advantages. Make sure you consider it if you’re about to print a thick document like a book, magazine, catalog, or manual.