One of the best ways to make a better impression with your printed materials is to get it professional bound. The right binding can make your documents look more professional, make them easier to navigate, and possibly make them easier to transport as well.
But what type of binding is best?
Wire-O binding is a type of binding that uses O-shaped metal rings along the edge of a series of pages to keep those pages in place. This type of binding is relatively durable, and it allows your document to lay completely flat when open. It also offers a very professional look, since the metal rings convey a sense of formality. Depending on your needs, you can order rings of many different sizes or colors, making this a versatile option. Though cheaper than binders, wire-O binding is still more expensive than some of the simpler options on this list.
Saddle stitching is another popular type of binding, and it gets its name from where the binding is applied. With this binding, collated pages are placed over a saddle-like machine, and staples are placed in the center of the spine. Saddle stitching is low-cost and convenient, but it doesn’t look as professional as wire-O binding, and it doesn’t allow your document to lay completely flat. It does, however, make it easy to flip through pages.
Spiral binding shares much in common with wire-O binding, and from a distance, you might mistake it for wire-O binding. Holes are punched in the side of your pages, like with wire-O binding, but instead of individual metal rings, a spiral coil (typically plastic) is fed through the rings. Again, these bindings are available in many sizes and colors. This coil is very flexible, but it can be slightly harder to turn pages compared to wire-O binding, and may not look as professional.
Next up, there’s perfect binding. If you’ve ever read a paperback novel, you’ve likely had experience with a perfect bound book. With perfect binding, collated pages are glued to a common spinal edge. This method is great for documents that contain many pages (which wouldn’t be feasible for spiral binding or wire-O binding), and it also makes your documents easy to stack. However, many people find it more difficult to turn pages with perfect binding, especially compared to spiral or wire-O binding.
Comb binding relies on a plastic spine with individual teeth that hold the pages together. From above, the plastic piece looks much like a comb, and it functions in a way similar to wire-O or spiral binding. However, this is a less common type of binding because it’s not very durable, and it doesn’t allow for much flexibility with page turning.
Some people opt to bind their documents with full ring binders. This method allows significant flexibility, since people will be able to add or remove pages within the binders as they see fit. Some binders also come with peripheral features, like inside pockets or business card holders, which can add functionality. However, binders are much harder to stack and transport than something like perfect bound documents, and they tend to be more expensive.
Other Forms of Stitching
There are also alternative forms of stitching that can be used to bind documents, but these tend to be less common, either because they’re impractical, they’re not professional, or they’re too cost intensive. For example, you could use side sewn or center sewn binding.
Determining Your Priorities
So which of these methods of binding is best? That depends on your priorities:
- Cost. If you’re trying to print on a budget, you’ll want a cheaper method of binding like saddle stitching or spiral binding. However, if other priorities take precedence, you may be willing to pay more for your finished products.
- Portability. Some methods of binding lend themselves to transportation more than others. If you’re bringing many documents to a meeting, this is an important point to consider.
- Ease of navigation. How easy is it for people to turn the pages? Are they able to add or remove pages easily as they see fit?
- Appearance. How professional does this binding need to look? Does it need to have a certain color or shape? The appearance factor is highly subjective, so trust your judgment here.
- Durability. Durable bindings are almost always preferred, but just how durable does this need to be? Does it need to last for years, or mere hours?
It’s up to you to determine your goals and priorities when it comes to binding documents. No matter what, there will be a binding option that fits your needs. Experiment with different options via online printers to see which choice might be best.