Defining Margins in Book Projects

With or without bleeds, very often you need to define what width your margins will be…particularly on a perfect bound or a Smyth sewn (hard cover) book with images that go into the spine.  Here are some quick tips!

1) As a general rule, try to keep your margins for text AND photos about 3/8″ Different Margins on a typical spinefrom the trimmed edges of the paper.  This presents the book in a very professional manner and presents a less critical target for trimming.   Above you can see a picture I took of a photo book where the designer placed margins along the spine at three different intervals.  Which one is the “best” margin?  That is a matter of opinion…I like “A” the best as it does not force me to pull the book open to see the photo…a good thing to consider if you are setting up the inside margins for text.

2) With all edges that trim, allow for a 1/8″ bleed off the sheet.  If the project has photos that bleed, this means that important objects inside that trim do not land on the actual trimmed edge.

3) Sometimes crossovers disappear into the spine.  That edge, the one that “disappears” Disappearing spine imagesdoes not need a bleed.  In this next image we see a nice crossover whose focal point is meant to disappear…kind of.  If this was a photo of a face or had a lot of graphic text the results would not be as forgiving!

4) If you do have a focal point that is falling into the spine, here is a great cheat Trim and Bleed Cheat Sheetsheet showing the bleed, trim and margin.  Note the margins along the spine vary depending on the type of book as perfect bound books tend to open a little flatter.

Books of all sorts need a lot of thought and planning.  Margins, crossovers, even the method for presenting the page numbers are all important details that can help make the book look great.  But, while considering these factors, don’t miss the basics listed above!

-Dean

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3 responses to “Defining Margins in Book Projects

  1. Pingback: How & Why We Bleed… |

  2. Pingback: Open Source, of COURSE! |

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