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December 10, 2009

Finishing Steps to Bindery

One of the most important aspects of any printed project are the final touches. Finishing or bindery, is what this final process is called. It is critical with any print project to plan with the final product in mind.

Old Fashion Bindery

Understanding folding is important to any effective bindery process. Paper can be folding in many ways. Mis-measured folds are the causes of a reprinted job. In regards to digital printing, you can expect a tolerance of 1/16 inch per fold. This varies according to the weight and the caliper (thickness) of the paper stock and the overall location of the folds. Proper planning in the design stage will help eliminate bindery errors.

Folding Diagram

Illustrated are the most common folding styles used in print production today. Using standard names will help ensure good communication between designers and printers.

A few common folds that I normally deal within the digital print shop environment are as a follows:

  • A letter fold is the most common of folds. Check out wikiHow for a step by step instruction.
  • Typically accordian folds are simple zig-zag folds with 6-panels and two parallel folds that go in opposite directions. Each panel of the accordian fold is about the same size.
  • In double parallel folds the paper is folded in half and then folded in half again with a fold parallel to the first fold.
  • With French folds the paper is folded with crossfolds or right angle folds, often with a short first fold. The shorter portion or head in french folds may be folded to the inside (heads in) or outside (heads out).
  • In a gatefold the left and right edges fold inward with parallel folds and meet in the middle of the page without overlapping. The paper might be folded again down the middle so that the folded edges meet and a fold is created in center panel of the paper – also known as a double gatefold.
  • The folds in paper with parallel folds all run in the same direction, parallel to each other. Parallel folds are commonly used for all kinds of brochures (such as tri-fold), stationery inserted into business envelopes, and other materials. The specific direction of each of the parallel folds determines the type of folding pattern such as accordian or gatefold.

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