Perfect Binding | PrintingCenterUSA

Mon, Jan 28, 2019 @ 10:50 AM Amber Gauthier 0

Perfect binding is a popular type of book binding you see on soft cover books such as paperback books and magazines. The internal pages are printed on both sides of text weight paper, then gathered together (collated) into a book, one on top of the other, in numbered page order. The cardstock cover of the perfect bound book is placed over and around the inside pages, attached along the binding edge by the application of a strong yet flexible PUR glue.

Perfect Binding

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Is Perfect Binding Right for Your Project?

Perfect Bound Booklets aren’t limited to authors who are printing books of 500+ pages. The minimum page requirement is 28 pages and plenty of businesses and organizations use this method on a variety of printing projects because of its highly professional appearance and relatively low cost, in both short runs and larger order quantities. Perfect bound binding is commonly used for a variety of publications, such as manuals, reports, catalogs, magazines, photo books and more.

We know that perfect bound books are a no-brainer when it comes to high page counts. With any booklet that contains more than 92 pages, perfect binding is definitely superior and highly recommended and is affordable.

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what is perfect binding

The primary benefits of perfect binding books are that they look professional and offer great visual appeal. Also, there is the option of placing content on the spine, such as an author, book title or any type of design. This is something that neither saddle stitch binding or spiral & wire-o binding offer. Perfect binding definitely produces a high quality and professional look that can’t be matched.


How to Set Up a Perfect Bound Book

Understanding the difference between the term “sheet” and “page” is key to correctly assessing your booklet’s final page count, which can in turn affect your quote, production time and more. For perfect bound booklet printing, you must have at least 28 pages, and up to 2” thick.

First, let’s start with a single sheet of paper. It has 2 sides – a front side and a back side. With perfect binding, one sheet of paper equals two pages (unlike saddle stitch binding). If you are holding up a sheet of paper in front of you, you are looking at page 1. Flip the page over and you are now looking at page 2. 

For example, pick up a book and as you turn its pages, notice that each “page” has two sides (the front and back of one sheet of paper). Your printer will refer to each side as its own page. So each sheet within your book will be counted as two pages.

how to set up a perfect bound book

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The Perfect Binding Process

Now that you understand the difference between sheets and pages, you can easily give your print shop the correct page count when submitting your perfect bound book.

As shown below, if you take a closed book so that you are looking at its cover – that’s page 1. Open the cover and you will be looking at page 2 (left) and page 3 (right). Keep going until you close the book and are looking at the back cover. The back cover will count as your last page. All-in-all, make sure to count every page, including the cover, the back cover and the inside pages (counting any blank pages) for your total page count. 

counting pages in a book with perfect binding

Binding Options

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Perfect Bound Book Design Tips

If you have decided that your printed project is going to be perfect bound, there are a few important design tips to keep in mind when it comes to your inside pages and cover design:

1. Don't Lose Yourself in the Gutter

Unlike a saddle stitch booklet whose open pages lay flat, perfect bound books are glued at the spine and cannot lay completely open without breaking. During the binding process, an area of each page will disappear into the spine, also known as the gutter. Depending on how many pages are in the booklet, the gutter can take up between 1/4” – 3/8” of each page. It’s good practice to leave at least a quarter inch of safety margin space on the insides of each page. Be careful to keep note of which pages will be on the left or right side of your perfect bound book so you can place your safety margins on the correct side. Keep all text and any images that need to remain visible inside the safety margin so they don't get lost in the gutter.

Perfect Binding Gutter

2. Be Careful with Two-Page Spreads

If you decide that you want one image to be featured across two pages, keep in mind that the alignment of the photo where the pages meet together might not perfectly match up. When an image covers two pages, the gutter area will still obscure at least a quarter inch off of each side. It might seem like a small amount of space to worry about, but it can drastically affect the photo’s appearance. It helps to choose photos that won't be so obvious that there's a gap missing (for example, a person's face across 2 pages might be a lot more noticeable than a photo with less detail).

Perfect Binding Two-Page Spread

3. Determining the Width of the SpinePerfect Binding Spine Design

A unique feature of perfect bound books is the ability to design the spine. You can keep it a solid color, add text or have one continuous image covering the front cover across to the back cover. Setting up your cover correctly is very important for perfect binding because the width of the spine needs to match exactly with the thickness of your book (which depends on the paper weight and number of pages you choose).

As soon as you have a final page count, give us a call at 800-995-1555 and we can help you choose your paper weight and calculate the width of your book's spine.


PrintingCenterUSA is happy to answer any questions you have about perfect book binding or any of our full color digital printing services. Call us at 800-995-1555 or send us an e-mail.


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What Does Collate Mean?

Fri, Dec 14, 2018 @ 09:36 AM Kevin Evans 2 Online Printing

The meaning of the word collate is to collect, arrange and assemble in a specific order of sequence. In printing terminology, it is to assemble multiple sheets or parts together to create a set. Collating is most commonly used in the preparation of booklets, catalogs, manuals & collated color copies.

What does collate mean?


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What is the Difference Between Collated and Uncollated Copies?

What is the difference between collated and uncollated copiesAlternately, uncollated would mean the opposite. To print uncollated would be to print copies of multiple sheets separately and not assembled in any order. So, if you have a document with 3 sheets of paper, each sheet would not be combined or assembled together with the others to make a set.

In the printing world, the terms collate and uncollated are often used when discussing the specifications of a print job. If you have a document that includes multiple pages, it is important to understand the difference between these two terms before submitting your project for print. 

You can order your collated or uncollated printing online at PrintingCenterUSA for fast, easy & affordable printing services. You can also sign up for a free sample packet that will be delivered to your door that includes samples of products, papers and finishes.


Collate Printing

collate printing

Collate printing is the action of taking multiple different printed pages and putting them together into a complete set. Collating is most common with color copies, as the copies can be collated without being bound together. On the other hand, collating is also common in the process of making booklets, catalogs, magazines and any other type of multi-page product. 

The most common types of binding for collated copies are saddle-stitch, perfect bound, spiral & wire-o.

Related Articles: What is Saddle Stitch?  |  What is Perfect Bound?


Not All Bound Printing is Collated

Not all bound printing is collated

There are some instances in which you may want to have a product bound together but not collated. An example in which you have product bound together but not collated would be Notepads. Notepads are usually in sets of 25, 50 or 100 sheets but each sheet consists of the same printing. The sheets of paper are bound together with a padding compound at the top of the product. The sheets can then be easily ripped away from the pad when needed. 

PrintingCenterUSA Specializes in Notepad Printing:
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Printing Uncollated Has Its Uses, Too.

Printing uncollated has its uses, tooIf your print document is a flyer, poster, fact sheet, brochure or some other type of single print out, it may be more useful to print uncollated. Your print file might contain 5 pages that explain 5 different types of products that you will be promoting at a booth, conference, convention or trade show. Having your flyers arranged by product would make it easier to target your customer's interests. This same idea also makes sense for handling print documents for business presentations, classroom lectures and more.

Instant Online Ordering & Pricing: Flyers  |  Sell Sheets |  Posters


There are many reasons why you might want to print something either collated or uncollated, bound or unbound. It’s your project and any online printing shop will help you achieve your end goal. The good news is that choosing to print collated or uncollated usually does not have an effect on the overall price of your print job. It's a decision of convenience - not money!

PrintingCenterUSA is happy to answer any questions you have about collating your next printing project. Give us a call at 800-995-1555 or send us an email.

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Saddle Stitch | PrintingCenterUSA

Fri, Dec 7, 2018 @ 12:11 PM Amber Gauthier 1
Saddle Stitched Binding

Saddle stitch is when single sheets of paper are printed on both sides, collated in page number order, folded in half and then stapled through the fold by a saddle stitch stapler. Saddle stitch binding is one of the most common binding methods for booklet manufacturing.What is saddle stitch

Saddle stitch binding is an ideal and economical choice for booklets with smaller page counts. We also recommend saddle stitch for publications with less than 92 pages. For page counts over 92 pages, we recommend perfect bound booklet printing. Saddle stitch booklets are great because they will lay flat and stay open when you are flipping through the pages, making it easier to read. Saddle stitch is our most popular binding type and offers the quickest turnaround time with the most affordable and cost-effective pricing.

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How Many Pages Do You Need for Saddle Stitch?

How Many Pages Do You Need for Saddle StitchSaddle stitch binding requires that any publication has a minimum of eight pages, four pages per spread and up to 92 total pages. Saddle stitch documents need to be built in page multiples of 4 pages (8, 12, 16, etc.) because they are printed on sheets that are folded in half.

See below for a more in-depth explanation on how sheets become pages.

How you number your pages depends on the final page count. For example, in an 8-page booklet, the front cover is considered page 1 and the back of that page will be page 2 (inside front cover). The inside pages will continue in order like the diagram below as 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on. The last 2 pages will be your inside back cover (page 7) and the back cover (page 8). You can get pricing on your saddle stitch booklet by visiting our website.

Page Order for a Saddle Stitch Booklet

Related Article: Saddle-Stitch Printing for Books, Calendars, Catalogs & Magazines 

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Paper Count in a Saddle Stitch Booklet

As mentioned above, the saddle stitch method requires that a booklet be printed out on large sheets of paper and then folded in half. Each sheet of paper will contain 4 of the booklet’s pages.

Single Sheet for Saddle Stitch Binding

If you are printing an 8.5” x 11” saddle stitch book, its' pages and cover would be made from 17” x 11” sheets that are folded in half to the size of 8.5” x 11”.

First, let’s start with a single sheet of paper. It has 2 sides – a front side and a back side. Once the sheet gets folded in half, it will have 4 sides (or 4 pages). The number of sheets will depend on the final page count of the booklet.

Paper Count in a Saddle Stitch Booklet

Usually, any page count of 48 or less is considered a booklet and any job over 48 pages (with a maximum size of 92) would be considered a book. If your publication is larger than 92 pages, consider our other affordable binding options! Our most popular binding type for larger page counts is perfect binding (28 pages – 2” thick). 

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'Taking the Plunge' for Special Olympics of Montana

Tue, Nov 20, 2018 @ 11:11 AM Amber Gauthier 1

Polar Plunge - PrintingCenterUSA Donation Campaign

During this holiday season, PrintingCenterUSA is looking to make a difference by starting a donation campaign to help the Special Olympics of Montana (SOMT) right in time for the nonprofit's annual Polar Plunge event, scheduled for December 7th in Great Falls, MT. We have 6 of our most daring employees "taking the plunge" and along with that, they are helping out a wonderful cause. We feel honored to be able to help the Special Olympics of Montana execute its mission of empowering those with intellectual disabilities through the power of sports.

By partnering with the Great Falls Polar Plunge, we are changing the lives of thousands of Special Olympics Montana athletes. With the money raised, athletes in the Great Falls area and around the state will have the opportunity to share their gifts and talents with the world through their participation in sports.

Special Olympics of Montana

Now you don't have to "take the plunge" to help out this great cause and it's easy to participate. By using the promo codes below when ordering online, we will donate up to $100 per order to Special Olympics Montana.

  Olympic25 - $25 Donation to SOMT on Any Order Over $100
  Olympic50 - $50 Donation to SOMT on Any Order Over $500
  Olympic75 - $75 Donation to SOMT on Any Order Over $1,000
    Olympic100 - $100 Donation to SOMT on Any Order Over $1,000

Not planning on placing an order by December 6th but interested in donating to SOMT? No problem! Click here to donate to our Polar Plunge team!

The Great Falls Polar Plunge is one of twelve Polar Plunges across Montana. Participation provides individuals and organizations with a unique opportunity to support SOMT athletes by taking an icy dip into freezing waters. Plungers must raise the minimum amount to earn the privilege of taking the plunge. They can also raise additional funds and earn extra incentives along the way. Events like the Polar Plunges help support over 3,000 SOMT athletes.

20 Free Stock Photo Sites For Print

Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 10:20 AM Ginny Crispin 2


You’ve been searching for hours…combing through page after page of standard stock photos that just aren't quite what you're looking for. 

Or maybe you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend money on overly-used images from big-name stock banks. We get it. And there’s a solution for you.

In the past few years, the internet has blown up with talented and generous photographers who are committed to making sure that everyone has access to free, high quality images in the public domain.

We have gathered a list of the 20 best websites that offer completely free stock photos for you to use in whatever project you have going on. Whether you’re a blogger needing a photo for an article or a designer creating social media ads, it’s never been easier to access some really great imagery without having to pay high subscription fees.

Disclaimer - PrintingCenterUSA cannot be held responsible for any copyright violations that may arise from incorrect or inappropriate use of any images downloaded from this list. You download and use images at your own risk and are entirely responsible for understanding licensing restrictions and applications.


Let's Dive Into Our List of the Best Free Stock Photo Websites!


unsplash image collage

  1. Unsplash offers a unique database of more than half a million images that cover categories such as Nature, Travel, Technology, Black & White, Long Exposure, the Milky Way and even Pugs. The quality of photos that you will discover on Unsplash is more than enough to set it apart from other stock photo sites. Take a look at their website and you will see a wide variety of topics and artistic styles – and hundreds of new images are added weekly! white-bar-2-1License Info: The site has its own custom Unsplash License, which is very similar to the CC0 License in every way except using Unsplash photos for image compiling. Photos are free and can be used both personally and commercially with no attribution required (although it's appreciated if you can).


stocksnap image collage

  1. You can easily get lost scrolling through all the rich and colorful photos to be found in The site operates on a tag-based category system, which allows you specify certain traits in the photograph you’re looking for. For example, instead of searching through 12,000 photos in the “people” category, you can cater your search to only show you the photos that are of “children” and who are “happy.” Whether you need a car, a rainy morning or someone sipping a cup of coffee – they probably have it at StockSnap.white-bar-2-1License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.


burst photo collage

  1. Burst is a stock image platform created and powered by Shopify, meant to be a resource for business professionals, entrepreneurs, bloggers, designers, developers and more. They offer a vast library of interesting, versatile and high-resolution images that can be used for anything – your blog, an online store, website ads, social media campaigns and more! The images cover popular topics, such as business, fashion, fitness, products and more. white-bar-2-1License Info: Some photos are licensed under the CC0 License and others fall under Burst's own photo license. You are free to use photos in any way as long as you follow Burst's Terms of Service, which includes not using photos for anything illegal, defaming any identifiable person, implying endorsement and more. 


gratisography image collage

  1. Gratisography is not your normal stock photo site. Here, you’ll discover a fun, artistic and often humorous array of photographs covering categories such as urban, whimsical and animals. If you’re looking for something that stands out and makes a statement – look no further. white-bar-2-1License Info: All photos on Gratisography are taken by photographer Ryan McGuire. He has a custom license similar to the CC0 License that provides images free to use for personal and commercial purposes. He does include a sensitivity clause and advises due diligence when choosing photos that might require extra rights (model releases, trademarks, brands, etc.).

pexels image collage

  1. Pexels has hundreds of thousands of high resolution images, Photoshop and WordPress plugins, a Chrome extension and more. Pexels’ stock photos are interesting, colorful and creative in a variety of categories, such as business culture, space, wildlife, architecture and even vector mockups.white-bar-2-1License Info: All images are free to use under the custom Pexels License, similar to the CC0 License. You can modify and edit photos as you like. You cannot sell unaltered copies of a photo, imply endorsement, compile images or portray identifiable people in an offensive manner.


pixabay image collage

  1. With over 1.5 million free stock images and counting, Pixabay offers one of largest online collections of photos, video, vector graphics and illustrations. Scrolling through the Editor's Choice is sure to leave you inspired. white-bar-2-1License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.


new old stock image collage

  1. If you are looking for something with a little more of a retro vibe, head to New Old Stock. It has thousands of vintage and historic images from the public archive all in one location via Tumblr.white-bar-2-1License Info: Images belong to the Public Domain (no known copyright). Not all images are allowed for commercial use and some require attribution. Each photo includes a link that will give details about specific requirements.


foodies feed image gallery

  1. The name says it all…Foodies Feed is about bright, gorgeous and realistic pictures of all types of tasty-looking food. There are more than 1,000 photos divided into categories such as healthy, close ups, in hands and more. white-bar-2-1License Info: All photographers agree to release their images to this site under the terms of the CC0 License. Free usage for personal and commercial use and not attribution required. 


ISO Republic image collage

  1. ISO Republic caters to providing high-quality, professional photos to creatives. There are over 3,000 images to choose from (the textures and abstract categories are especially mesmerizing). The simplicity of their category list and an easy-to-use search bar makes looking through ISO Republic’s photos easy and hassle-free. And, they’ve even launched a new stock video section!white-bar-2-1License Info: Contributing photographers agree to provide images under the CC0 License and allow personal and commercial usage without attribution. Users are asked to follow Terms & Conditions that layout extra ground rules for things such as model releases, brand awareness and more.


kaboompics image collage

  1. Kaboompics has over 8,000 vivid and deeply beautiful photos that cover everything from home décor to fashion to travel and food. You can filter your search based on color and each downloaded image comes with its own color palette, which is extremely convenient for artists and designers alike.white-bar-2-1License Info: Photographer Karolina has her own custom license that grants free usage of her photos with some exceptions that include a sensitivity clause, reselling and redistributing unaltered photos and using photos that contain brands and trademarked subjects.


Life of Pix image collage

  1. Life of Pix (and its sister site Life of Vids) has a pretty large and trendy collection of cool, artistic images and videos for use in all sorts of marketing projects. Be sure to check out the “Desk” category for some fun and fresh images of office and computer setups – it’s the perfect inspiration you need to bring new life to your blog or ad! white-bar-2-1License Info: Photos are a part pf the Public Domain. There are no copyright restrictions but mass distribution is not allowed.


picjumbo image collage

  1. The photos that you will find on Picjumbo are refreshingly creative and realistic - you won’t find any “staged” stock images here. There are over 2,000 high-quality images that cover popular themes, such as Food, Fashion, Abstract, Holidays and more. New photos are added daily, and you can opt to have images and photo collections emailed to you as they are released to the site.white-bar-2-1License Info: Photos are available under the CC0 License but users are warned about due diligence about using brands and trademarked subjects.


Death to Stock image gallery

  1. A little different than other, more traditional photo stock sites, Death to Stock emails subscribers a photo packet that includes 20 photos within a certain category once a month. If you have a bit of a budget, Death to Stock offers two different paid subscriptions that provides access to extra photos and resources. white-bar-2-1License Info: Death to Stock has its own custom license that allows for almost type of usage. A few restrictions are claiming an image as your own, using an image in an offensive manner and more. Death to Stock does collects model releases for all photos that contain identifying people.


Fancy Crave image gallery

  1. Fancy Crave offers some truly stunning and remarkable photography. Every photo has a unique and modern style that will definitely catch your attention. Two new photos are added every day, so things stay fresh and you’re sure to find the perfect photo for your project. white-bar-2-1License Info: Images are offered for use under the CC0 License with a few restrictions, such as selling and redistributing images, using images for illegal or offensive purposes, using trademarked subjects or brands without the appropriate permissions and more.


NegativeSpace image gallery

  1. From Animals to Food and Landscapes to Sports, NegativeSpace has a little something for everyone with a variety of images from a community of photographers from around the world. The photos are interesting and offer a different perspective on popular topics (hint: check out the typography category for some fun pictures of signs and sayings). Content is updated constantly so it's a good idea to keep checking back if you're looking for that perfect photo. white-bar-2-1License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.


Skitterphoto image gallery

  1. There are so many gems to discover on Skitterphoto. They have images that represent the standard stock photo categories (industry, food, business) and also an assortment of refreshingly unique topics (antique cars, castles). You can see how many times each photo has been downloaded before as you browse through several hundred high-quality, beautiful photos.white-bar-2-1License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution. 


Freerange Stock image gallery

  1. Freerange Stock offers thousands of photos and illustrations in a variety of categories. A lot of the images you’ll find are produced by in-house photographers, but they also accept submissions from a growing community of creative photographers who wish to share their talents with the public. This means that all the photos you’ll find have different feels and styles – from abstract to artsy to natural. white-bar-2-1License Info: Some images are under the CC0 License and all others fall under Equalicense - which allows free usage for commercial purposes without attribution and forbids selling, redistributing or relicensing any images. You cannot sell products which derive their primary value from the image. 


PikWizard image gallery

  1. PikWizard offers photographs of impressive quality in a variety of subjects. They are particularly strong with photos depicting people in a natural, realistic setting. It’s also a great resource of stunning nature and landscape photos. If you need design help, this site also offers use of an online design and photo editor. The free version is limited, but most of the images and templates and very cost effective.white-bar-2-1License Info: PikWizard has their own custom license that allows free usage in commercial projects along with a sensitivity clause. The site does offer third party images, which fall under the CC0 License. PikWizard warns that these images may still require a model or property release and it is up to the user to obtain those through the original source.


realistic shots image gallery

  1. True to its name, you will find straightforward and candid images at Realistic Shots. But there’s nothing boring it - every photo is high-quality, vibrant and interesting. The site stays updated with 7 new photos added every week! white-bar-2-1License Info: All images on this site are released under the CC0 License. You are free to download, edit and use in personal and commercial projects with no attribution.


styled stock image gallery

  1. Styled Stock offers a small collection of mostly desktop and accessory scenes that have a decidedly feminine style. Every photo is very modern and clean, with pops of color that create a vibrant and minimalist effect. These photos are perfect for fashion, lifestyle and beauty professionals for use in blogs, website content or social media.white-bar-2-1License Info: The copyright is still held by the author/owner but images are allowed to be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You are free to adapt and edit without attribution.


What You Need to Know Before Using Free Stock Images

Let’s go over some issues that often come up when using free stock photos. As with anything that seems too good to be true, most things that claim to be free…aren’t. Or at least not without a catch.

What is a Creative Commons License – most websites that offer free stock photos are licensed under Creative Commons (CC) and will specify how artwork can and cannot be used. The most common license type that you’ll see is Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which is the least restrictive and allows an image to be used commercially and non-commercially without attribution. There are other variants of the CC license, which can require anything from following a sensitivity clause to obtaining model releases. There are also rules for using images that depict trademarks and copyrighted items. Just make sure to read through each photo's license carefully and follow the rules.


So, as you can see, it's possible to find free stock images that are authentic and realistic! Peruse through any of the above sites and you're sure to find awesome photos that are perfect for your print and online marketing projects.

You can find the perfect images for your company's newsletter. Or maybe you need resources for a calendar project (hint: if you're working on a calendar, check out this FREE online design tool!).

PrintingCenterUSA offers full color digital printing services, specializing in calendars, booklets, catalogs, magazines and more. Visit our website and browse our products! 


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