A signature is a group of pages that are printed, most likely on both sides of a single sheet of paper that once folded, trimmed, bound and cut, become a specific number of pages. The number of pages on a signature depends on your page size and the size of the press sheet they fit on.
Another term associated with a print signature is a less common term that is known as imposition.This is the placement and direction of pages that are in a signature. Some pages may appear upside down or backwards, but once the sheet is folded and cut, the pages will be in their proper position and sequence. It is the printer’s job to setup a signature’s imposition.
Printers will often speak of two kinds of spreads: reader spreads and printer spreads. When you open a brochure, page two is opposite from page three. This is a reader’s spread; it’s what the reader sees. If you take the brochure apart, you’ll see that page two is actually connected, through the binding, to another page near the back of the brochure. This is a printer spread; it’s what a printer prints.
How to create brilliant designs on a budget?
As a print designer you should take full advantage of working with print signatures to achieve maximum effect for your design concept and learn how to maximize the printing budget.
Instead of using the same paper stock for the whole brochure, you can use different papers and different combination of inks for each individual print signatures. The possibilities are endless for creating amazing brochures.
Each signature is a print run and for each print run, you have to choose a paper stock and the number of inks to be used. The number of inks you print per signature on a specific paper will not only affect your design concept, but the print budget directly.
When designing with print signatures, you also have to take into account from the start, your binding type. Your binding type always depends on the total amount of pages your brochure has, your design concept and the printing budget. By selecting different binding types, it will change the order in which print signatures are assembled in the final brochure, therefore giving you the ability to manage the order in which different papers are presented.
For example, when you use ‘saddle stitching’, first page will go with last page, second page with before last page and so on. If you use a ‘perfect bound’, signatures are stacked one after the other. In the case of a ‘spiral bound’, signatures are also stacked one after the other, but you can insert a single sheet pretty much anywhere and the brochure will lay flat when open. Understanding how different binding types work, is essential to get the most out of designing with print signatures. The ‘pull out’ is another, different type of signature. It could be considered a loose sheet, even though it’s folded, depending on where it’s inserted in the binding. But most pull outs are commonly inserted between two signatures, during the binding process.
The important thing to remember is that when it is bound together, when a job is laid out correctly, the right pages will almost magically turn up next to each other. The more the number of pages in a job, the tougher it is to lay it out correctly. A proof is always sent out before any printing is actually done and one of the things to check for is that all the pages have ended up in the correct order.