How to set up artwork for saddle stitched brochure printing

Setting up print-ready artwork for saddle stitched brochures is easy when you know how. Watch our video tutorial and find out how to get perfect results every time. if you'd like to watch more tutorials like this one, visit our tutorials page, or our YouTube channel.


Video transcript:

Saddle stitched brochures are made from several printed sheets laid on top of each other, stapled, folded and trimmed. Setting up print-ready artwork for a saddle stitched brochure is easy if you follow a few simple steps.

To jump-start the process, we recommend using one of our downloadable artwork templates. Visit and click ‘Templates’, select ‘Bound Documents’ from the side menu, ‘Saddle Stitched Documents’ then scroll to the document size you’re going to print. If you’re using Photoshop, you’ll need to download the PDF template and work over it as you usually would.

If you’re making the artwork yourself, make sure the resolution is set to 300dpi, the bleed is 3mm on all sides and the colour mode is set to CMYK. If you’d like to know how to do those things, we have a tutorial like this one available on our youtube channel and our site.

As you add more pages to a saddle stitched document, the middle pages will start to ‘creep’ out from the centre. To give your documents a clean, sharp edge, we trim off the ‘creep’ after printing. To avoid losing important information from the edge of your document, make sure text and images are set over 7mm away from the edge.

Similarly, if you have text and images running between pages, you might part of them in the gutter. The gutter runs down the centre of the document, where the staples are. It’s best to keep text at least 10mm away from the gutter. As a general rule, for every 10 pages you add, increase the distance of the text area from the gutter by 1mm.

At, we set up our print documents with single pages. The pages are lined up one after the other in the document, then pieced together in the printing process. That means that page one will be your front cover, and the last page will be the back cover.

When you create your final PDF artwork, the cover will be included as separated pages. If you’ve saved all your pages as single PDF files, it’s best to merge them all into one file using Adobe Acrobat, or a free merging site like If you want to make sure your document stays flat and closed after it’s printed, we recommend keeping the paper weight under 200gsm.

Use this checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything. If you’ve covered all these points, then you’re ready to go. Happy printing, from


David Brookes
30 Apr 2015 14:35
Thanks for the tips
04 May 2015 16:56
Really useful - thanks!
Stuart Glegg
08 May 2015 16:47
Love these little guides. I've noticed creep being a bit of an issue so best to play safe.
14 May 2015 20:47
These guides are so helpful!
Su Mwamba
19 May 2015 12:00
Thanks for all the really useful tips - especially about the creeping edges & trim. I will definitely bear this in mind for future projects.
01 May 2016 13:19
really helpful
Sharlene Harding
03 Jan 2018 22:09
Interesting read, which I read 'after' I ordered some saddle stitched brochures, lol. So true about the staying flat and to use 200gsm or less. I used 350/250 gsm for an 8 page brochure and it would've been flatter if I used the lower gsm.

Add your comment

* denotes a required field

will not be displayed

include a link to your website

Go to Blog home

Limited time only!

To claim your exclusive offer just enter your email address below. We’ll send your code directly to your inbox so you can hit the presses, pronto! Be quick though, free delivery ends midnight 26 April.

SubmitNot interested