instructions for use

Instructions for use – which one should you choose? Saddle stitch binding or perfect binding?

21 May 2024 - Mateusz Skowron

Instructions for use are part and parcel of electronic devices launched to the market. They contain the most significant information on the basic operation of the purchased product. They also include technical tips that, in the event of a failure, will help to identify the problem even before contacting the service center. A vital element affecting the appearance of the user manual is its binding. So how do you select the right one?

According to regulations in force, manufacturers are required to provide products purchased by customers with instructions for use, which should be legible and easy to understand. The standards emphasize the clarity and comprehensibility of the content, which is expected to be tailored to the knowledge of the standard user. The warnings about potential risks prepared in this way minimize the risk of incorrect product use.

Instructions for use
The process of trimming the user manual to the format.

Why is the cover so important in user manuals?

Once we have taken care of the quality of the content contained in the user manual, it is worth answering questions relating to its physical properties. It is essential to select a paper that meets our expectations and its thickness for both the inside of the instruction manual and the cover. It is also significant to choose the binding of the user manual, which directly affects its appearance and ergonomics. In this article, you will learn which binding is best suited to your needs.

Given the technical nature of instructions for use, in most cases, it is not profitable to invest in durable and much more aesthetically pleasing hardcover perfect binding – these work perfectly well, for instance, in the case of notebook manufacturing. Therefore, on the market, two major types of binding dominate in this category – the so-called saddle stitch binding (using staples) and softcover perfect binding. Both use a paperback cover of the same thickness as the book block or a slightly thicker one to make it stand out from the content. So, what is the difference?

Saddle-stitched instructions for use

instructiins of use
An example of a saddle-stitched user manual.

Saddle stitch binding, also known as the two-wire stitch, involves joining the sheets of paper responsible for the contents with the cover using wire (staples). In individual user manuals, two metal staples are most frequently used to stitch through all the sheets of paper, which creates a sufficiently durable, adhesive-free joint. This solution is perfect for user manuals that contain a maximum of several dozen pages. The maximum page count varies, for instance, due to the type of paper, but the more pages, the less convenient the user manual will become. The spine will be bulging in an unaesthetic way, and flicking through the instructions for use will be more difficult.

Perfect bound instructions for use

An example of a perfect bound user manual
An example of a perfect bound user manual.

The process of making perfect binding involves joining the sheets of paper using adhesive, and then tightening the cover that surrounds the whole. The adhesive ensures that the sheets of the user manual are firmly and permanently bound together, even in the case of higher page counts. This solution is most frequently used for user manuals containing from several dozen to several hundred pages. Such voluminous instructions for use are most likely to contain translations into multiple languages, making their use more versatile, but at the expense of their weight and thickness. By cutting the sheets into individual pages and gluing them together at the spine, it is possible to keep the aesthetic appeal of perfect bound books as the number of pages increases.

Ink-jet roll-fed printing.
Ink-jet roll-fed printing.

Instructions for use at Etisoft Group

Graffiti Printing House, a member of the Etisoft Group, leverages its experience in printing paper products that the manufacturer provides to the customer with their device. Our experienced team of experts will be happy to advise you on the technical aspects of printing and help you select the ideal solution tailored to the quality requirements that instructions for use need to meet.

If you are searching for timely printed user manuals and other paper-printed materials (brochures), we are the right partner for you. Our experience in the field means that we not only provide products but also the certainty that we will secure your supply chain for years to come.

Do you have any questions? Contact us!

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