File Preparation


There are many reasons for printing a catalog: You need a product catalog to sell your services or products, you would like to stay in touch with your clients and print a customer magazine, or you wish to print a book or manual. No matter what your needs, we have you covered. 

Types of Binding

Here is an introduction to our magazine printing services as well as information how to set up your print files for a high quality result. 

Saddle Stitching

The sheets are folded and inserted within each other. The fold becomes the spine (or saddle) of the product, where it will be stapled, holding the sheets of paper in place (images 1A and 1B above). We offer stitched binding for magazines and catalogs of 8 up to 132 pages. Please be advised that high interior page counts require thin paper stocks to allow saddle stitching. Low page counts allow for both thin and thicker paper stocks. The paper options available in our webshop correlate with the maximum interior thickness we recommend for a high quality result. If you need a high page count and would like thicker paper stock, perfect binding is your better choice.

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding is the standard for paperback books and catalogs for larger number of pages (images 2A and 2B above). It is possible to print a book with perfect binding starting at 28 pages if using thick paper stock. However, Perfect Binding is best used for catalogs that hold more than 64 pages. The paper sheets are folded in half and glued to the cover, side by side, with a type of flexible adhesive or hot glue. The remaining three sides of the sheets are then trimmed.

How do I count pages in my magazine? 

When placing an order, the page number refers to the total number of pages of your magazine, including cover and back cover. Pages are count single-sided, and not double-sided (front/back) or as facing pages or spreads. You count your cover as page 1 and its backside as page 2, the first page of content is page 3, etc., same like flipping through a magazine. The back of the closed magazine is the final page.

The page count must be a multiplier of 4. We can work with other page counts in perfect bound catalogs, but it requires a custom quote and leads to higher prices than chosing an option which multiplies of 4. For saddle stitched magazines a page count multiplier of 4 is mandatory.

File Preparation For Catalogs

How do I submit files for a catalog printing job?

Please submit a multi-page .PDF-file with all pages in chronological order, ideally as PDF/X3-2002 standard. 

IMPORTANT: Do not send pages as spreads (facing pages) and do not impose pages. 

All Pages require 0.0625" bleed on all sides and should contain enough space as safe area. If you cannot create a multi-page .PDF, all files must be numbered correctly in their file name (e. g. page_01.jpg, page_02.jpg, page_03.jpg, etc.) and you will need to add a design service option to your order and our graphic artists will prepare the print ready file for you.

Correct page orientation is extremely important to avoid nasty surprises.

How much safe zone does my magazine need?

We recommend to plan a generous safe zone, as you can minimize production related issues that way. If you would like to keep tight distances to the document edge, please make sure you follow these guidelines:

Safe zone for magazines with perfect binding should be at least 0.125" on all 4 sides. You need to plan more safe space on page 2/3 and the 3rd/2nd last page of your magazine. As part of the binding process 0.26" of those pages will be glued together and this area is not visible in the final product (please see image 2B above). This limitation affects only those 4 pages mentioned, all other pages are fine.

Safe zone for saddle stitch catalogs should be planned with more care, especially for saddle stitch magazines with high page counts or thicker paper stock. For all outside edges of your catalog, a safe zone of 0.125" is sufficient. The higher your page count goes, the more safe zone should be planned at the inside/fold, as all binding allowance will be removed from the inner edges.

What is binding allowance?

Binding allowance happens when you create a saddle stitch catalog with high page counts or thick paper stock. Our automated prepress workflow takes care of binding allowance when the pages are prepared for production. 

For low page counts, you do not need special consideration in your print file as this is not a huge issue since the binding allowance is small. 

However, when preparing files for saddle-stitch with high page count, be aware of the binding allowance and please ensure sufficient safe zone towards your inner fold. The binding allowance is removed from the inner sides (fold), for that reason we recommend to increase your safe zone at the fold as you work your way towards the center (see above chart), or make your safe zone significantly larger overall to avoid text vanishing in the fold.

Binding allowance is subject to thickness of paper stock, as well as page count of your magazine:

[Translate to English Canada:] Paper Stock (Interior) up to 40 pages 44 to 60 pages 64 to 80 pages 84 to 112 pages
70 lb book 0.035“ 0.051“ 0.071“ 0.102“
90 lb book 0.079“ 0.118“ 0.157“ 0.220“
120 lb book 0.134“ 0.196“ 0.264“ 0.370“

If you have any questions, please contact us and we'll be happy to help. It is also a good idea to add one of our file service options to your order and ask our design team about the binding allowance if you have concerns.