High quality Art Book printing
for the creative industry


Perfect Binding Set Up Guide


Ask us for
an accurate spine size

Add 3mm bleed on all edges

Supply a cover file &
a text page file

How do I set up artwork for a perfect bound book?


There are a few intricacies that need attention when you are preparing artwork for a perfect bound book. This page provides illustrated step by step help. Follow this guide and your file can go straight to print!

text clear
of spine


For perfect bound books we need two files: A cover file and a text page file.



Preparing your cover artwork


Create a new file

File > New > Document


Our example here on the right is for a cover of an A5 Portrait Zine with 60 inside pages onto 120gsm Uncoated.





'Number of Pages'

For our quick, easy method of setting up a cover file choose '2' here.


'Facing Pages'

Leave unticked


'Primary Text Frame'

Leave unticked


'Page Size'

Your page size is the height of your zine (297mm for A4, 210mm for A5, 210mm for a 210mm square zine, 148mm for A6)




We will need a Landscape page.



Always choose here - this is the easy way to give your page the front and back covers we need.



This relates to this distance between your columns. We need to add our spine size in here. Ask Ex Why Zed what that needs to be and then input that number here. There are a selection of the most common spine sizes here.



You can set the top, bottom, inside and outside margins to 5mm which will help you avoid placing important information within 5mm of the cover's edge. InDesign shows your margins as pink lines on your page. On the image (right) the 3mm bleed is the outer line, then the black page edge and then the pink 5mm margin indicator.


'Bleed and Slug'

Adding '3mm' in the top, bottom, left and right boxes here will add a red border on your InDesign artwork 3mm outside of the blank page edge to show where the bleed needs to extend to. For further info see the Bleed set up section above.


Preparing your cover artwork


Click 'OK' and your new file will open.


You will now see a page identical to the one on the right. Brilliantly you can now see your back cover on the left, your spine through the centre and your front cover on the right. Easy!


Page two of your new cover file is shown to the right. This is the reverse of the outer cover- your inside cover is on the left, spine through the centre (this will be glued so don't put any information within 8mm of the spine) and inside back cover on the right.



Keep your spine text small so it doesn’t slide off the spine. If your spine is less than 5mm we recommend not putting any text on it to avoid any risk of it sliding round to the front or back cover when your zines are bound.


When your artwork is designed and printed it will look like the image to the right. You can see the back cover on the left, spine in the centre and front cover on the right - exactly the same as you designed it!


Preparing your cover artwork


Preparing your text artwork


Click 'OK' and your new file will open.



For more design tips and considerations check our perfect binding section here


Spine Sizes


We have listed a few of the common spine sizes here to give you an idea of your book's thickness.



You can also see how thick your Book will be on the Portfolio page of our Zine Printing Mini Site www.zineprinter.com

(scroll over each image on that page to display the spec).


Text pages onto 120gsm Uncoated

40pp Text = 3.3mm spine

48pp Text = 3.9mm spine

52pp Text = 4.2mm spine

60pp Text = 4.8mm spine

72pp Text = 5.7mm spine

80pp Text = 6.3mm spine

92pp Text = 7.2mm spine

100pp Text = 7.9mm spine

120pp Text = 9.4mm spine


Text pages onto 130gsm Silk

40pp Text = 2.3mm spine

48pp Text = 2.7mm spine

52pp Text = 2.9mm spine

60pp Text = 3.4mm spine

72pp Text = 4.0mm spine

80pp Text = 4.4mm spine

92pp Text = 5.0mm spine

100pp Text = 5.5mm spine

120pp Text = 6.5mm spine


Perfect binding set up recap


1. Export a hi res pdf with 3mm bleed on each edge and images in cmyk

2. Artwork should be supplied at the same size your book will be printed

3. Supply one file for front & back cover with spine (Ask us for spine width)

4. Text file starts with 1st right hand inside page then follows in reading order

5. You lose 3-5mm in the spine gutter on every page - keep info clear

6. There is a hinge on the 1st & last text pages which can hide content

We don't just print Art Books!


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