Here are some helpful tips & tricks for setting up files plus general info about the printing process.

Printing Tips & Info


Image Quality & Resolution

Desired resolution for print documents is 300 dpi. For web it is 72 dpi. A picture or logo that looks great on screen may not print sharply on paper.

Use CMYK colors in your files. RGB colors are for web, not print!

This article explains why it's best to create documents in CMYK colors when printing.

Also keep in mind that flattening files created with layers will lead to better quality printing. Layers that aren't flattened can cause composite overprints (unintended shapes that appear around artwork). Here's an article about overprints in InDesign that may help.




Booklets

Booklets are bound with two staples in the spine of the book. The page count of a saddle stitched booklet must be divisible by four because the book will be printed on double sided sheets of paper that will be folded in half when bound. This process results in 4 pages per sheet of paper, and page counts that are divisible by four. If the page count is not divisible by four, there will be blank pages in the book.

Saddle-stitched booklets have a minimum page count of 8 and a maximum of 52. Anything larger than 52 pages will not fold easily, so it's best to go for a perfect bound book. Pricing is close to the same.

To make a page spread (a continuous scene spreading across two pages), start the spread on an even numbered page and end with an odd one. For example, in an 8 page booklet, if the spread starts on page 4, it will end on page 5.

Booklets come in various sizes, but our maximum is magazine size (8.5x11). Other common measurements are 5.5x8.5 (dinner journal) and 6.75x10.25 (comic book). We can do custom sizes upon request. 


Bleed, Trim & Live Area

Bleed is a small amount of excess space to make sure that there will be no white space left around the edges when the document is cut to its final trim size. Commonly bleed is .125 (1/8”) and is added to all sides of the document. If a document doesn’t have bleed, it can be tricky to cut to its exact edges and the final trimmed size of the document may be slightly smaller than requested. We can work with documents that don’t have bleed, but we love it when they do!

Trim Area is the final trimmed size of the document. Some common final trim sizes are one’s you’ve probably heard before such as Letter (8.5x11), Postcard (4x6/5x7/5.5x8.5), Business Card (2x3), and Comic Book (10.25x6.75). By adding .125 of bleed space to all sides of your document, you will be sure to get the trim area that you want. For example, if your final trim size should be 5x7, make the document 5.25x7.25, and .125 will be cut off from each side.

Live Area is the optimal place on the page to display the key elements of your content. This area is a 1/2” from the edges of the document on all four sides. This area is safe from getting lost in the binding. Everything that is not intended to bleed off the page should be confined to this space.

     Bleed, Trim, & Live Area Template




Comics

The maximum page count for saddle stitched comics is 52, so if your page count is greater than this, choose a perfect bound graphic novel instead.

Make sure text bubbles are not too close to the spine or edges of the pages or they may get trimmed off.

For saddle stitched comics, the middle two pages are the easiest place to put a 2 page spread (a continuous scene over two pages) because it is printed on one sheet of paper. It may be difficult to get text to perfectly line up if it is printed over the spine in other areas of the book. 

For staple bound booklets in general, the page count must be divisible by 4. This because each sheet of paper is printed double sided, and then folded in half to make 4 individual pages.

Common paper weights: 100lb text for the covers and 70lb text for the interior pages.




Hardcover Books

We offer three types of hardcover books: Leatherette, Linen, and Printed & Laminated.

For Printed & Laminated hard covers, we can print pictures and any information you’d like on the cover. It will also be laminated for protection. The file has to be larger than the interior pages because it must be able to wrap around the spine and also fold over the inside of the book boards. Add 3/4” to all sides of your file to accommodate the folding.

Like perfect bound books, hardcover books require a spine.

To calculate spine: multiply page count by thickness of paper type. See below.

60lb text: multiply page count by .0022
70lb text: multiply page count by .0024
80lb text: multiply page count by .0023
100lb text: multiply page count by .0031

Add a space of this width between the front and back covers in your cover document.

     Turn-In Cover Template


For Leatherette and Linen hardcovers, we offer foil stamping on the covers and spine in standard fonts and sizes at no extra cost.

If you would like a special font or graphic stamped onto your Leatherette or Linen hardcover, this will incur an extra fee because we will need to have a custom die made.


Dust Jackets

Dust jackets are also laminated for protection.

To make the dust jacket file, be sure to account for the flaps that fold around the book. The file must be the size of your cover document including spine, plus extra for the folding flaps, usually about 3-4 inches on both sides.

     Dust Jacket Template



Perfect Bound Books

Perfect bound books have a spine and are bound with glue.

Page count must be between 32 and 500.

Covers are one large sheet wrapping around the outside of the book.

You must add space in your file for the spine when setting up a perfect bound book.  

Adding Spine to your Book’s Cover (necessary in both perfect bound and hardcover books)

To calculate spine: multiply page count by thickness of paper type. See below.

60lb text: multiply page count by .0022
70lb text: multiply page count by .0024
80lb text: multiply page count by .0023
100lb text: multiply page count by .0031

Perfect Bound Book Template

Add a space of this thickness in between your front and back covers. It is easiest to join the front and back covers using Acrobat into one large spread and add a third very thin page in between to account for the spine.

Adding your book’s title to the spine looks nice and professional. Use the vertical text tool in Indesign or Acrobat to set this up. We are happy to help.




Paper

Pages and Sheets are different things. A sheet is commonly 11”x17” or 12”x18” and is cut down or folded to make smaller products like booklets or cards.

A sheet of paper is the original before cutting or folding. When folded, a 12x18 sheet can make up to 4 pages of a comic book.

A page is a single side of a sheet that is part of the page count of a book or booklet.

So, while an 8 page booklet has a page count of 8, it was made with only four sheets of paper.

Paper Weights & Types

Uncoated (dull) is matte and coated (bright, silk) is glossy paper.

Text paper is for interior pages of books and also for flyers, brochures, and booklets. We recommend using 100lb Text for the covers of saddle stitched booklets and a lighter paper, like 70lb Text for interiors pages.

More paper recommendations:

Perfect Bound Books: 80lb or 100lb Cover for the cover pages and 60lb, 70lb, or 80lb Text for the interior pages.

Cards: 80lb or 100lb Cover.

Posters: 100lb Text, 80lb or 100lb Cover.

Printing Tips & Info