Artwork Setup Tips – Full Color Turned Edge Binders

Turned Edge Custom Binder Artwork Setup

Turned Edge Binder Construction Basics

We find it helpful when designers have an understanding of how we make our custom binders. With that in mind, we offer the following description of the basic steps involved in constructing a turned edge custom binder:

  1. We print the cover artwork on 90# C1S paper stock using large format equipment. Most standard orders are printed four color process. We allow for full bleeds on our full color turned edge custom binder jobs.
  2. We laminate the printed cover sheets with either gloss, matte, or soft-touch lamination material.
  3. After final trimming, we glue the printed sheets to chipboard (generally 90pt to 110pt, depending on the binder size) and wrap the edges of the sheet around to the inside of the binder.
  4. We glue the inside liner (generally either white or black kraft, but we also do printed liners, as well as other decorative materials) into the binder.
  5. We attach the ring metals.

From a design perspective, the most important consideration from a manufacturing perspective is that there is a degree of “bounce” in the assembly/gluing process. You should design for about 1/16″ (approx 1.5mm) of variation in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions when preparing your artwork. In practical terms, that means avoiding having graphic elements that require precision alignment with either the edge or the spine of the binder.

Template Files

Our full color turned edge custom binder templates look like this. The complete collection of templates, in various page and ring sizes, is located here.

Turned Edge Binder Template

Visible Area On Binder

The overall size of the printed sheets is shown by the cut marks on the template. The area shown here in blue represents the actual cover of the binder:

Turned Edge Binder - Visible Area

Wrap Allowance

We call the area outside of the blue rectangle the “wrap allowance”. It is the part of the printed sheet that we wrap around to the inside of the binder during the gluing process. The green area below shows the wrap allowance.

Turned Edge Binder - Wrap Allowance

Bleed Allowance

While not absolutely necessary, we consider it best practice to extend the artwork by 1/8″ (3mm) beyond the wrap allowance line. That is the cut line for the printed piece, and in the vast majority of cases that cut will be covered by the inside liner after the binder is wrapped. All the same, if possible, run your artwork past the bleed allowance (shown in red, below), just to be sure.

Turned Edge Binder - Bleed allowance

What All That Means For Designers

Now that you know the basics, here are some things to consider as you work out your design.

Make sure elements are properly centered

If you have elements you want centered on the front (or back) cover, make sure to base your centering on the edge of the binder. Don’t center based on the wrap allowance line.

Don’t align elements directly on the binder edge

Extend all background elements past the wrap allowance line.

Allow ample safe area around rivet locations

Rivet positioning relative to your artwork is even more variable than the positioning of the printed covers. In addition to the bounce associated with gluing up the covers, there is also a measure of bounce on the rivet installation itself.

Accordingly, leave a generous clear area around the rivet locations to ensure they don’t interfere with important design elements. Also note that we have concealed rivets available for most turned edge binder sizes. Contact your customer service representative for pricing.

Sending Your Files For Review

We are always happy to give your design a quick review to look for any mechanical issues. Save it out as a jpeg and send it to us at and we’ll get right to it.

Sending In Production Files

When your design is ready, please use one of the following techniques to send us your design:

1. Use the “Package” feature in either Illustrator or InDesign

Both programs have the ability to create packages that include all the various elements used in your design. This is our preferred way of receiving artwork.

After creating your package, zip the resulting directory into a single file and send it to us. Remember, we will always send you a proof before your job goes to production.

2. Create print ready and alignment PDF files.

Use the “Save-As” feature in Illustrator or the “Export” feature in InDesign to create PDFs of your file. We need two versions: The first should be a low resolution version (“smallest file size” preset) that includes the dieline. We will use that one for positioning purposes only. The second should be a full resolution version (“high quality print” preset) that does not include the dieline. That is the file that will go to print.

Whichever way you decide to go, use the link at the top of to access our Hightail site used to receive large files. Be sure to include a comment regarding which customer the file is for. We will always send a proof, no matter how your artwork is sent to us.

That’s It!

Hopefully we have answered any questions you might have had with setting up your artwork for your turned edge custom binder project. If not, give us a call or drop us an email at We are happy to answer any questions, or help in any other way we can.

Happy designing!