File Formats

As with other printed products, we prefer PDF files. They are by far the most stable way to maintain the original design intent across computers. If you are working in Adobe InDesign, we can also accept a packaged InDesign file.

Reader Spreads, Printer Spreads & Pages

Generally, design software provides three layout choices when exporting booklets: Reader Spreads, Printer Spreads, and Pages. Because the process for producing saddle-stitched booklets varies dependent on variety of factors, we need files to be supplied as single-pages.

Double-Page Spreads

In saddle-stitched images can extend across two pages – this is known as a double-spread. Although our cutting-edge technology has precise registration, it is not 100% reliable. We recommend that text does not cross over the spine, and that you limit double-page spreads in your design.


The Trim

The trim is the final cut line of the document.

What is a Bleed?

A document that ‘bleeds’ is one that has artwork (including background colors or photos) that touch the edge of the page. Documents that bleed are printed on oversize sheets, and then trimmed down to the final size.

Adding an 1/8″ extra (known as the bleed) to each side allows us to trim to the final size of the document without leaving a white margin.


Unlike flat documents, we recommend a “safe zone”, or margin, of 3/8″ for saddle-stitched booklets. This helps counteract issues caused by creep (see below).

A Note About Borders

Using borders close to the trim in your artwork can compromise the intended look of your product. When using borders, we recommend a margin of at least 1/2″, again due to the registration variances of printing.

Image Resolution

For the best results, images in your files should be 300 dpi. Below 200 dpi , image quality starts to deteriorate.

What is Creep?

In a saddle-stitched booklet, the interior sheets are pushed out due to the paper’s bulk. The more pages there are and the thicker the paper, the more pronounced the creep. To produce a neat booklet, we trim the face edge of the booklet (away from the spine, where the staples are), and content that is close to face of the book can be cut off.

Dealing with Creep

The easy way to deal with creep is to design your booklet with a 3/8″ “safe zone” (as mentioned above).

We can also adjust for creep when imposing the book. However, if your design has double-page spreads (see above), this could ruin your design.