Category Archives: information graphics

Booklet printing for portfolios

For all of you who are considering printing your own portfolio or process books as a saddle-stitched booklet, and have grappled with the problem of laying out your work in printers’ spreads (so when printed front and back, the pages appear in correct order, you will be glad to know that some help is available. This re-sequencing of the pages for printing, called “imposition,” can be accomplished through several means.

First, the built-in Print Booklet function in InDesign (File>Print Booklet) in CS3 has some major bugs. These are well-documented and you can read the rants from irate users at many nodes on the web. While CS4 may address some of the issues, for those of us who do not have that option, I wonderful third-party script is available for download (free, or if you are ethically-minded, you make a voluntary contribution) at http://products.carlsenenterprises.com/ Thank you Carlsen Enterprises. Called “Booklet CE” it is a script that overcomes most of the shortcomings of the imposition routine built into InDesign CS3. Download and follow the installation instructions. I prefer to run it from the Automate>Scripts window. It generates a new indesign document, and creates PDF files of each page, placing them in the correct spreads for several different types of booklet binding, including saddle stitched and perfect bound in multiple signatures.

Design your booklet as you normally would, with sequential pages, keeping in mind that proper imposition requires pages to be multiples of 4. Then run the script and save the resulting document for printing. It is wise to create bleeds for areas of tone or image that extend off the page, and to tell it to print crop marks to assist in trimming out.

Pretty simple! the one thing that might require a little explanation is the inside and outside creep settings. These account for the fact then in a signature, the outside spreads have to slightly wider to allow them to fold around the inside pages. The amount of creep depends on the thickness of the paper you are printing on. You can base it on the known thickness of the paper (caliper) or you can make a dummy folded booklet and measure the amount. In most situations, you will set the inner creep value to zero and the outer creep value to slightly more than that of the folded signature. The resulting page spreads will then be adjusted incrementally to between the two values, with the outermost spread receiving the full value and the innermost spread not being widened at all.

Visualizing quantities


One of the more significant challenges of design is to visualize large quantities or very different numeric values. This example shown below, that depicts the number of hate crimes recorded in the US in 1997 was done at Bradley University several years ago, and is still, to my mind, a good solution, in that it allows the viewer to visually compare the numbers 5, 25, 745, 1390 and 4321, and also depicts each event as an individual mark. It is a statisical chart that also makes an emotional statement.