Saddle Stitching - Print Lingo

Saddle Stitching - Print Lingo


Having been in the design and print industry for over 35 years, we thought we'd start to create informative blog posts about the different types of print and print related lingo that often confuse clients.

So our first topic is what does "Saddle Stitch" mean?

Within the Printing industry, the term saddle stitching relates to a conventional bookbinding process and is most effective on books/brochures with no more than 72 pages (depending on stock weight). Saddle stitching is a method, where folded papers are gathered together and then stapled through the fold line with metal staples. The staples pass through the outer folded sheets and then closed between the centre-most pages. Predominantly the process two staples, but larger brochures may require additional staples along the spine.

Why do we call it Saddle Stitching?

A bookbinding process using staples... It may sound like an entirely irrelevant name, but for people who have been around the printing industry for many years, it makes total sense. In the industry stapling is commonly known as stitching, and the collection of sheets are draped over a saddle looking piece of apparatus during the stapling process, thus the name saddle stitching!

How does the Saddle Stitch Process work?

To help one understand the process, let us use a saddle-stitched brochure with a finished page size of 210x297mm, also known as A4 (standard printer paper size). The entire collection of pages and cover for this booklet would be created from sheets sized 297x420mm (A3 Size) which once folded in half create your A4 size brochure. The folded sheets would snugly fit inside the other and then are stapled together along the folded crease which is most commonly called the spine. Once folded, each layer would create 4 pages of your A4 brochure, so it's important to keep this in mind when we work with you that you work in multiples of 4.

The saddle stitching process takes place once the inner pages and cover have printed and then partially folded together. Once the cover and pages have been stapled they're then folded tightly together. Books/brochures with more pages often undergo another finishing process where the edge opposite the spine is trimmed. Trimming the outer edge of the book improves the appearance of the book because the inner pages often overhang the other due to the build-up of paper thickness (try it yourself fold 10 pieces of A4 pages in half). Just a few types of the brochures we've saddle stitched over the years include Premier League Football programmes, charity calendars, booklets, educational brochures and small catalogues.

General rules of Saddle Stitching

The saddle stitching method is the most efficient way of binding brochures and publications with no more than 72 pages, and even that can push the boundaries when a heavier stock is used. Books with more pages often become bulkier and may not lie flat which is where we'd recommend perfect bound binding, but it does add a noticeable cost. That said, it does give a more professional look and feel - at NW Design we call this the crème de la crème of brochure finishing.

If you require any help or advice with your brochure design and printing needs, don't hesitate to contact us on 0161 327 2131.