Understanding how to set up a document on Indesign can be confusing the first few times you try, but it is the best program to use to design and format the content for your books. Here is a guide on how to prepare your print-ready artwork.
How to set up your document?
Open InDesign and select file/New Document. Here is an example of an A4 Portrait book with 48 pages. (48 is the minimum number of pages needed for a multi-section binding)
- Choose your page size and the orientation. (Here we are doing A4. The size is 210x297mm)
- Set up the margins all around with a minimum of 10mm on top, bottom and outer edge. I suggest using 15mm all around as a safe start.
- Check carefully if your binding will require a larger margin. For example – Japanese binding will require a larger margin so that you have space to sew. Very thick books might also require a larger margin as you get towards the centre pages.
- Set a minimum of 3mm bleed all around the pages.
How shall I set up my pages?
Your first page inside the book will always be on the right hand-side.
Below you can see the order of your pages. Please start your layout with the 1st page of the content. If you want to print your cover you will need to make a separate document and print as separate files.
You will also need to include any blank pages where needed. You will not be able to ‘add in’ any blank pages during the binding process, unless you are perfect binding or single sheet sewing.
Why did we set up margins?
The binding edge (where the pages will be bound together) on your pages will alternate from left to right to left to right.
As mentioned above, in Japanese binding, we pierce the holes along the spine (binding edge). These holes can be up to 10mm into the page. It is very important that you leave enough margin on the binding edge inside of your pages so your content isn’t cut-off, or sewn into the spine. I would recommend a minimum of 20mm.
All the document settings can be changed at any point, and can be set to affect the whole document, or a particular page
The above right-hand side page has no margins. The text will get trimmed off on the edges.
This page has 20mm margins on the binding edge.
It also has 15mm margins at the top, bottom and outside.
As mentioned before, the size of margin on the binding edge can change depending on the thickness of your book (the amount of pages). Especially with Japanese binding, the thicker the book, the larger the margin needs to be.
If you are concerned, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can look over your document, or give you some advice.
Why do we need bleed on the document?
To print a full bleed image, the printer will print on a larger sheet and trim it down.
If you want an image to be full bleed, you need to allow space for the image to “overflow” off the page.
You should always include bleed on your document, as it is needed for document imposition. We recommend to leave 3mm bleed all around the pages.
This page has a full-page size image on it but has not been extended to the bleed. When trimming, some white borders could appear on the edges.
These edges happen because the sheet can shift slightly inside the machine during the printing process.
This page has 3mm bleed all around. The bleed is shown by the outermost line around the document. You will need to extend your images up to, or beyond, this line if you want to have them printed full bleed. In Indesign the black line all around the page shows where we will trim, and will be printed as crop marks.
Here is a close up of the two documents set up.
The top page has not been extended to the bleed.
The bottom has been fully extended to the 3mm bleed.
Now you are ready to export your PDF.
Make sure you export as a High quality print PDF, and remove the crop marks. Use the document bleed settings (this should have been set at 3mm).
At LCC we don’t include the crop marks so we can work out the pagination. This can change for different print companies and printing techniques, so double check with your printer to see how they prefer to work.
Now you are ready to bind!
You can find tutorials on the Book Arts-Learning resources page of this website, and on on our Moodle page, where you can also book an online 1:1 with a technician. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com
You can also attend a workshop on File prep for book binding, with Esmeralda in the Digital Space.
This workshop goes into preparing files in more depth and can be booked here : https://eu.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback/load/831cd5944fb74db1af5ba0119e1f4179
You can also ask any questions, or organise a 1:1 with Esmeralda at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Printing enquiries, you can email Claire in Reprographics at email@example.com
This post was made with the help of Folio Atelier, a bespoke bindery based in Margate.