Paper, Printing & Binding

Naturally, paper is an essential part of producing notebooks – when it comes to image books, print colour, design, weight and smell are essential as well. Here, or, even better, in a personal conversation, you can find out which paper is suitable for your project, which print method can be used and what you have to consider for it.

Note Papers

Premium Paper

Premium Munken papers are one of our favourite papers. Produced in Swedish paper mills, they are used for approximately 70% of our book productions – we are very pleased about this! The uncoated, sleek surface gives a very pleasant feel, so it is one of our recommendations. Of course it is FSC certified. The colour “Polar” stands for a pleasant white tone with a natural character. The colour “Pure” stands for a subtle cream colour tone, which is produced without any optical brighteners. For many people, the chamois of the paper is the distinguishing notebook feature per se.

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Recycling Paper

For the Sake of the Environment. Our favourite recycling paper clears up with the prejudice that recycling papers are unpleasantly grey or quickly turn yellow: Enviro Polar has a DIN ISO degree of whiteness of 98% and is absolutely ageing resistant. It has been awarded with the FSC certificate, the Blue Angel and the EU-Flower. It combines sustainability with best writing qualities, good printability and tensile strength. 100% waste paper for 100% environment.

Standard Offset Paper

brandbook offers good paper at reasonable prices. Offset paper is efficient and cost-optimised. When it comes to promotional gifts, advertising materials or giveaways at fairs the price often matters. For these projects we offer a bright white, wood free offset paper made in Germany– with a natural matte surface, good writing and printing qualities. An all-rounder.

Image Print Paper

If you’re planning individually printed image pages, besides note pages for your book, you don’t necessarily have to choose the same type of paper. For full-surface motifs we recommend image print papers with a matte and silky-matte surface. The paper choice determines the quality of the print. You can find more detailed information about this topic in the FAQs of the print method.

Waterproof Paper

Here, you have to reach inside the special drawer: for waterproof paper you actually need the advantages of foils (tensile strength, water-proof) combined with paper qualities (surface feel, writability, printability). Only this way you will have a notebook for all kinds of weather. For this, we recommend neobond® hybrid.

Markerproof Paper

Many paper qualities have good characteristics, are opaque and well suited for notebooks. This implies that writing does not show through on the back of the paper – neither using a foundation pen, a ballpoint pen, gel marker or soft pencil. However when it comes to professionals who sketch with Copics or special markers, it´s time for a specific paper solution: The paper quality "Layout markerproof" by the paper fabricant Schöllershammer.

Transparent Paper

Transparent paper is the perfect choice if you want to set hightlieghts within the book block. It´s a pleasure to sketch on transparent paper with a soft pensil or fineliner. As the paper shines through, your content can be structured very individually with nice visual effects.

Coloured Note Papers

Note paper doesn´t necessarily have to be white: A yellow that reminds us of the classical post-it, a tender light blue matching a Corporate Design or black paper that´s writable with a white marker. There are plenty of ideas for great effects that can be achieved by the right paper choice.

The Paper Premium Class

For particularly exclusive papers we’ve been working with the best paper factories and dealers for many years: Takeo papers from Japan, fine papers from the handmade paper mill Gmund by Lake Tegern, papers of the 1888 founded Italian dealer Fedrigoni or qualities from the British paper expert GF Smith.

The Insides

Front- and Endleave Paper

The front- and end leave is an essential part of the book: it connects the book cover with the book block and thus forms the first and last double page in the book. For an individual first impression, the first pages can be individually printed with address lines, a logo, image motifs or a calendar overview, or they can remain completely unprinted. For front- and end leave papers we like to recommend colour-imbued fine papers, as well.

Endleaves with annual overview and address lines

Perforation and Punch

With a few extras the usefulness of your notebook can be increased and optimised: with a folding perforation, pages can be removed at the desired positions. Combined with a double or fourfold punch, the pages can be filed after being removed.

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Punched twice with folding perforation
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Punched 4 times with folding perforation
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Folding perforation

Shortened Pages / Foldout Pages

If you’d like to display comprehensive information, annual overviews, or complex infographics, foldout pages can also be useful for a note- or calendar book. In contrast to this, parts of the book block or individual pages can also be shortened – another possibility to optimally structure your book.

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Shortened Pages
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Foldout Pages

Grip and register punches

Registers provide structure and clarity for books with content. According to your book concept a punching tool is made so your content can be structured individually. Register punching guarantees structure and clarity for books with content.

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Grip register punches in steps
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Rounded register punkches

Combining Paper Qualities

Why stick to one paper quality for your notebook if you can also combine different papers? For example in order to highlight different chapters of your book or the simple reason that it looks fabulous. By combining different coloured papers within the book block an exciting edge colouring effect arises, even when the book is closed.

Lay-Flat Characteristics of Books

Thread stitch enables a perfect flatness performance – this means that the opened book lies absolutely flat on the table. This is ideal for occasionally drawing across the book middle. Especially for notebooks, this is an absolute must and yet another quality feature of brandbook.

Coloured Thread Stitch

It is the details that our clients love so much about brandbook notebooks. For example, you can even individually choose the thread colour of the binding. In a thread-stitched book block, a seam flares up every 16 pages on the inside of the book. Normally, the thread colour is white, matching the inside pages. Alternatively those who like it flashy can choose a bright colour matching their corporate design.

Integrated Image Pages

You have the possibility to integrate your own image pages in almost all positions of the book block. The most common versions are these: in front of, in the middle or directly after the notebook block. But a distribution throughout the book block doesn’t exclude thread stitch. Here, we will individually advise you according to your wishes.

Thread Stitch

Thread stitch has the highest quality and is the most sustainable kind of binding – a standard quality feature at brandbook –single layers of the book block are sewn to one another, so that it is impossible for the pages to fall out. Many notebooks of other dealers, on the other hand, use an adhesive binding, like magazines, for example. Unfortunately, this results in dissolving pages after flicking through them a couple of times.

1. Paper

  • When should coated or uncoated paper be used?

    Coated and uncoated papers differ in regards to surface, haptic and printability. Coated papers have a coated surface that can project a sharp image in fine detail in print. Uncoated papers have a more open surface and natural haptic. The printed image is softer and not as precise as on coated papers. Uncoated papers are used for notebooks and book calendars because they have features better for writing and a more comfortable haptic.
  • Is matt or glossy paper suitable for image pages?

    When we print the image section of your notebook, it depends completely on your project whether the photos have a better effect on matt or glossy paper. From a typographical perspective, we select a coated paper (matt or glossy) to emphasise details in the photos. Glossy paper can constitute a deliberate break from the memo pages of matt uncoated paper. However, if conveying softness, ambiance and depth is the desire for the image pages, then a matt and open-pore paper provides an excellent choice.
  • What do you need to consider for paper quality when printing with cream-coloured paper?

    Similar to bright white paper with a high blue content, images on cream-coloured paper, due to the yellow basis colouration of the paper, tend to look yellow which can lead to unpleasant colour distortion of skin tones. With the right print profile that reduces the yellow content, this effect can be countered before printing. We are happy to present you with a suitable ICC-colour profile. Contact us at any time.
  • How do I choose the right paper grammage?

    Good notebooks usually have 90 to 100g/m² strong paper. It is just strong enough so it won’t crease, even if erasers are used, and it guarantees that your favourite fountain pen is not visible on the back; it has a high opacity. For a sketchbook that is solely used for drawing or painting, a paper strength of 120–150 g/m² is recommended.

    For a sketchbook that is only used for drawing or painting, 120–150 g/m² is a recommended paper weight. With appealing haptics, paper qualities with a higher volume stand out from the mass of papers and convince with their premium quality at first glance. They convince not only with their feel, but also with their look.
  • What does the volume specification mean for a paper?

    Not only the weight of a paper quality plays a role, but also the volume. Natural paper qualities are usually thicker due to their manufacturing process. Our Munken premium paper has just been increased to a volume of 1,30 – ideal. There are even paper qualities with more than 2,2 times the volume, so-called factory printing paper.

2. Print Data

  • Why does my RGB picture data have to be converted in CMYK?

    In contrast to the screen colours RGB (red + green + blue) in which the picture data in your camera is saved, digital and offset printing have to do primarily with CMYK colours (cyan + magenta + yellow + black). The data in your image editing programme has to be converted in order to reproduce them in the four colours through the printing machine. In offset printing, this four colour set can be replaced with special colours for additional printing works, which can also be used on the computer.
  • What are ICC colour profiles?

    The ICC profile provides the colour management when converting the picture data. Preset output profiles compensate various printing material (colouration and surface texture of the paper) and make adjustments in the colour space that are less noticeable in print as on the monitor or in the original picture data. By means of independent reference values the printed result can be simulated on the computer.
  • What colour saturation and colour application can be achieved in printing?

    The maximum representable colour saturation in print can be reached with full-tone colour. With combined printing inks (CMYK) the summation of the ink coverage can not exceed 300% (coated paper) respectively 260% (uncoated paper). This already has to be taken into consideration during the data preparation.
  • How precise can details be reproduced?

    We print our memo book grid preferably with a line thickness of approx. 0.2 point Pantone (a CMYK- grey composition could lead to register problems). Negative or left out text should only occur in full-colour sections because here the precision is visible. In print as with embossing, the image precision is dependent on the undercoat, so a glossy paper always leads to a better printing result than one that is open-pore. Coloured text on a coloured surface is set on Leave Blank in the layout programme (surface has holes where the text should be placed). It is recommended to overfill (enlarge) the light colours in order to avoid white streaks when the printing inks aren’t exactly on top of each other. For best printing results, the considerably darker text colours should be set on Overprint in comparison to the background.

3. Print

  • Is offset printing always the best solution? Does digital printing also have advantages?

    Basically, what applies is: the smaller the print run, the more economical it becomes to use digital printing because no print plates are used and the machine can therefore be set up more quickly. When using printing plates of 200 or more, offset printing usually becomes more economical. The variety of paper is greater in offset printing than in digital printing, whereby more and more paper manufacturers have their papers tested and certified for digital print machines. Because digital printing paper is usually prepared with a primer for bonding the inks and the colour application is greater, the paper surface is sealed. The application effect with uncoated paper is glossy and slightly shiny, whereas offset printing inks seep more into the paper and the haptic is to the greatest extent maintained. Therefore digital printing offers more possibilities for customising, whereas offset printing simply doesn’t. We are happy to help you in selecting the best printing process for your needs.
  • How can notebook grids and images be combined on a print sheet?

    Suppose your advertising pages are distributed throughout the book at irregular intervals or you have combined images and a dot grid on one page, there is a way to get around the 5-coloured print (CMYK for pictures + special colour pantone for dots/check/lines). With offset printing we set up the printing plates in a frequency-modulated screen, in short FM screening. Thereby the dots or lines are screened in 30% black in such a way that the grid points (common in amplitude-modulated screening) optically disappear. In this way the special colour is not necessary, and we save costs without sacrificing a clean printed image. There are no additional expenses for the data production.
  • How can I be sure of the brandbook print quality?

    During the offer phase, you will receive from us a sample print from similar productions that illustrate our quality standards. A press proof of your motif from the offset press is expensive and only recommended for very critical special colours or motifs. During the production process, your brandbook contact person will inspect the quality of the print before it is bound. By this time the print run has been completed, but in the case of any rejections, intervening at this point in the production process could avoid excessive costs. If you have the time, we would be happy to send you this printed sheet from the print production for your approval.
  • How does a proof or template help with orientation?

    Without something to compare it to, it is difficult to predict the desired result or afterwards to object to the actual result. A print from a laser printer or a low resolution plot (inkjet printer in the prepress department) can only serve as a final check in regards to the completeness of the elements. These prints — as well as a screen view — are not colour consistent! It is recommended to make a contact proof with a high-definition printer, namely a digital print which can only simulate how the later offset printing on another paper will look, but due to the settings is colour consistent. The proof control strip contains what is needed to make a technical examination. Only in this way can an alignment of the printing press be made directly according to the template. Special colours will be matched with the corresponding colour guide.

4. Colours

  • PMS, HKS & RAL: What are special colours?

    The use of special colours is necessary when the CMYK illustrated colour space needs to be expanded, for example in the area of metallic or neon colours. But also with clearly defined corporate colours, in order to repeatedly get the same colour reproduction on the printed surface, a full-tone colour in print is advisable (instead of combining four colours). Whether you use the Pantone system, the HKS colour scale or the RAL fans – we can use the colour as reference. Offset printing is only printed in pantone (worldwide the most conventional special colour palette for printing) and HKS (a less wide-ranging colour system developed by one of the three German colour manufacturers), while the RAL colour pigment is used in coatings.
  • What is the difference between PMS pantone C and pantone U?

    When comparing pantone colour C and U fans (C = coated for coated paper, U = uncoated for uncoated paper) one recognises that some of the colours with the same colour number are optically very different. Often the colours in the U fan seem more pale and less pure, while the open paper surface absorbs more colour. When combining uncoated and coated paper in the same book project, it is very important to compare the colours and if necessary choose another pantone tone that optically comes closer to the C value.
  • What are the advantages of highly pigmented printing inks?

    Highly pigmented colours from the ANIVA (r) series are always used when the image on uncoated paper must be reproduced as sharply as possible and in great detail. When printing on natural paper, conventional offset printing normally reduces the colour space significantly. Highly pigmented colours counter this effect and even expand the colour space. The printing result is greatly improved. Ask your brandbook contact person when using highly pigmented colour would be useful.
  • Do neon colours appear as brilliant and luminous in offset as in screen printing?

    Neon colours have a special pigment with a high luminance that can be applied on the surface by means of a particularly thick colour application such as in screen printing. In order to get the same luminance and rich neon colour results in offset printing as in screen printing or to reach the same colour on the pantone fans, two printing runs should be planned. This applies particularly to uncoated paper, and is also recommended for coated paper with a closed surface.
  • Can metalic colours and iridescent colours be used in printing?

    Yes! Pearlescent particles give printing an iridescent effect and can be added to the printing ink. The pantone colour system includes metallic colours (gold, silver, copper and also bright colours with a metallic lustre) that in print, especially on coated paper, can be shown to their advantage. The lustre can not really be compared to that of metallic foil debossing; but in its favour varied motifs and half-tones are attainable.
  • How can I bring a special effect to a grayscale image?

    The effect of a black and white photo can be enhanced with a special colour, which can already be set up in the data. With duplex printing, that is a print using black and a second printing ink, details seem more vivid. The second colour should be selected according to the desired effect wanted in the image. For example, silver gives the image a noble shine, a warmer brown tone gives a sepia effect.
  • When should a print sheet be coated? When is it better not to use coated paper?

    In general, in book production we have the problem that when folding and cutting the bound book block and in the final cut on the edges, great pressure is exerted on the paper and consequently also the printing ink. Thereby it can lead to so-called set-off, which means that the printing ink carries over into the white areas of the paper. A finish should be applied here as a protective coating on full-surface and page bleed-off printed pages or if the colour application is 250% or more. A finish is advisable when printing on glossy paper but is not absolutely necessary for uncoated paper (and therefore the haptic of the uncoated paper is maintained).

5. Sustainability

  • Do paper certificates such as FSC and Blue Angel contribute to protecting the environment?

    Paper is quantitatively the dominant raw material used in book production. The manufacture of recycling paper consumes approx. two thirds less energy, water and CO2 in comparison to fresh fibre paper. From an environmental viewpoint recycling paper is always the better choice. The Blue Angel guarantees that the paper fibres are extracted from 100% recovered paper and that no harmful chemicals or optical lighteners are added. That protects our forests because not one tree is felled and valuable animal habitats and plants are maintained. Forest Stewardship Council, abbreviated FSC, is a world-wide validated certification for wood and the wood processing industry (which includes paper manufacturers and printing companies). The goal of responsible and sustainable forestry is supported by most of the environmental, conservation and human rights organisations. Both seals are established as the standard and provide, thanks to strict monitoring of social and environmental criteria, an important contribution to the preservation of our forests — world-wide!
  • What do you need to consider when printing on recycled paper?

    In principle, our favourite recycling paper RecyStar Polar can be printed in the same way as other uncoated paper. It should be noted that when printing colour surfaces or photos, the front and back side of the the paper is slightly different and therefore could bring different printing results. The very subtle paper colouration can be compensated with the appropriate ICC profile.
  • Are there environmentally friendly printing inks?

    Initially, sheet-fed offset inks contained mineral oil as a binding agent, but in the meantime there are plant-based binding agents. The latter in regards to rub resistance is superior to conventional printing inks. There are further advantages for the printer: the wash intervals can be extended many times more than previously and readjustment of the inking units is hardly ever necessary. That is why we find environmentally friendly printing inks the best!
  • What does climate-neutral print mean?

    Here responsibility for the climate is asked for: If you decide on a climate-neutral project than this is for you, without involving any additional work or time. Please contact us and we will be happy to advise you and determine the CO2 level of your specific printing project and calculate the corresponding compensating amount. In turn, you can place the logo “climate-neutrally printed”on your printed product and receive a certificate of the total amount of compensation for CO2 emissions. With an ID you, as well as your clients, can retrace how much CO2 has been compensated in your project.

6. Processing

  • Which book formats are standard, which are possible?

    The DIN formats are well-known, most sheets of paper are available in their aspect ratio. From an aesthetic point of view, brandbook has decided to minimally optimise this format so that, for example our A5 book page is 141mm x 207mm (instead of DIN 148mm x 219mm). In doing this, we have aligned our machines in such a way that for a book cover with rounded edges, DIN A5 is a special format (and thereby cost intensive). You still have the possibility to select our standard or a customised format i.e. square. Technically books are possible in ​7,8 cm x 10,8 cm to 26,5 cm x 37,5 cm.
  • What are false double pages?

    Now and then on image pages, the pictures or design elements crossover the binding (Attention: incidentally 2 advertising pages start as a right front page and a left back page! If a double page is desired, then technically you have to anticipate four pages.) Left and right sections are not always found on one piece of paper; instead the printing sheets can be folded and inserted inside each other. In an 8-page thread-sewn book, only page 4 and 5 are directly across from each other; all the others are false double pages. Therefore, the danger is minimised but the fold tolerance depending on the motif doesn’t exclude that the crossover might not appear clean. Diagonals should be avoided here.
  • Why do the positions of the page numbers sometimes wander?

    Elements that are always the same distance from the edge of the page in the printing data, seem to jump around in the finished product depending on their position in the thread-sewn book. This is due to page creep, that results from inserting so many pages inside each other. In a 16-page book, the pages inside each other are minimally shortened after the final trimming of the book block in comparison to the exterior. To counter this phenomenon is work intensive in that the information about the paper strength is pre-calculated regarding displacement and the individual pages are then manually adjusted.
  • When do elements have to be moved from the binding also when thread-stitching?

    Image pages in a notebook that are glued in as single sheets or a 4-pager (because they can’t be thread-sewn) have a thin adhesive edge when bound (approx. 4–6 mm). Therefore the inner centimeter should not contain an important picture or text information and the layout has to be adjusted in a way that the picture or text are evenly centered on the page. This also goes for – if they are printed – the last frontleaf page and the first endleaf page that are each thinly glued to the book block.