UPrinting Design How-To Series: Choosing Booklet Design Options

by Arthur Piccio on 03/26/2013

by Arthur Piccio  |  March 26, 2013  |  Design, Print Tips

Booklets are one of UPrinting’s more popular offerings for larger businesses and institutions. Designing booklets and other multipage print products is slightly a bit more involved than a flyer or a poster, but still pretty simple. We put together this how-to guide to help you choose the right options for your booklets.

Stocks

Not all booklets are made for the same purpose. Booklets intended for regular use (such as manuals, for example), will need to be designed differently from booklets that will only see occasional use, such as promotional booklets and event programs.

For most intents, thicker stocks might be not be at all necessary. Choosing thinner stocks  will allow more booklets to be printed for the same price. Another advantage of thinner stocks is that you may be able to carry more booklets for a given space, which can be a consideration for some businesses.

Thicker stock however, will feel nicer and may be a better choice for things such as reports and presentations.

Finishes

Whether you choose glossy or matte finishes, there is no inherently “better” choice. Some may feel glossy finishes add more class to their prints, while others feel the same thing about matte. Matte finishes however, are better at hiding fingerprints and are more readable in direct light.

Size

Booklet size will need to be chosen according to intent and function. Things like event programs are usually in smaller sizes, while manuals tend to be much larger.

Smaller sizes tend to be easier to take around. Now this might not seem to be a huge deal, but in certain situations, smaller sizes may work better. Booklets intended for some kinds of promotional use for instance, might work better in smaller sizes, so that they will be less of a hassle to carry around.

Larger sizes however, allow for more visual variety. To use other types of print products as an example, vinyl record album covers tend to have more of a visual impact over CD or (if you remember them) cassette covers. However, you will be able to print fewer copies with larger sizes.

Stitching/Binding

Saddle Stitching and Wire-O both allow for a cost-effective yet durable way to bind your pages together. The price difference between saddle-stitching and Wire-O is minimal. However, saddle stitching makes for  a permanent, neater-looking booklet, while Wire-O allows pages to be detached more easily. This makes Wire-O preferable for manuals or other applications where you might want want to detach pages occasionally.

Resolution

As booklets are read at arm’s length, we recommend a PPI/DPI value of around 300 or better. This is especially important for foreground text and images. This will allow most images to come out without pixelation.

For less important details such as background images, you may be able to get by fine on 250 PPI/DPI, so long as important elements have better resolution. UPrinting’s offset and digital printers are capable of photo quality resolution values of  up to 600 PPI/DPI, so having better than 300 PPI/DPI won’t hurt at all.

Readability

Booklets are of course, meant to be read. Make sure to use appropriate background images and colors to contrast your text appropriately. It would be important to keep to only one or two colors for your main text to maintain unity.

Serifed fonts (font styles with small lines trailing from the edges of letters and other characters, such as Georgia, Palatino, and Times New Roman) tend to be more comfortable to read as small text. Sans serif fonts (without those lines we mentioned, such a as Arial, Futura, and Helvetica) tend to look better as headers. Please note however, that this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Proofing

Regardless of design and regardless of who you print with, it’s best to have your design manually proofed before actual printing. Compared to other print products, booklets are a bit more complex since you’ll need the pages and their content aligned properly for a better-looking end-result. Automated proofing may sometimes lead to important parts of images going over page borders, and critical text being trimmed off during the cutting process. We offer manual proofing as standard for all our products to ensure better fewer avoidable errors.

Booklets representing a fairly large investment for most people, so it makes sense to take extra precautions to ensure that your booklet designs come out the way you intend. Take all the time you need  and match your designs with  what you intend to acheive, and you’re well on your way to better, more effective booklets.

 

All images from Behance, Deliver Magazine

 

Love/Hate this article? Questions? Insights? Just head over to the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Arthur Piccio is UPrinting.com's Small Business and Public Relations Coordinator.

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