I have a few questions regarding booklet design. The page orders are scrambling my brain!

  • Firstly I cant work out how an image that spreads across the front and back cover should be placed.

(Given that front cover is page 1 and is always on its own separate at the top and the back cover would be the last page at the bottom of the document it would seem impossible)

Should it just be two separate half images placed at the same coordinates?

  • The same problem for putting images across pages in the middle of the booklet.

Lets say that I need a picture that goes across pages 2 & 3. Presumably pages 2 and 3 wont be on the same sheet when printed so I cant just place it in the middle of 2 and 3 in Indesign. Then again in this case I don't understand how you could place halves because there is no visible bleed in the centre of facing pages on Indesign.

  • Is it better to just design facing pages in the (impositioned?) printing order? This seems even more confusing considering pages are double sided, and also given that printers don't seem to want pre impositioned documents

As you can see I'm clueless with this. At the moment the pages are just set up as normal with a front page, facing pages and then a back page.

If anyone could explain this in relatively simple terms I would be extremely grateful.

So in summary:-

  • What order should pages be? (sequential or otherwise)
  • How to make image spread across the width of front and back cover
  • How to place image across 2 sequential pages in indesign so they don't mess up when printed in a booklet.


  • Ask your printer. Your printer may have very specific pre-press requirements, or may prefer to do the pre-press themselves. Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


What order should pages be? (sequential or otherwise)

Generally, for the designer, reader spreads (sequential). It is most often in the hands of the print provider to impose a reader spread PDF or document into printer spreads for production. There are some cases (generally for smaller print shops) where you may be asked to create printer spreads. But that can easily be accomplished if you already have a reader spread document.

See Here: InDesign Spread Pagination and Setting up bleed/margin for printing

How to make image spread across the width of front and back cover

You set up the pages side by side in InDesign and place objects across the gutter. In this instance it is often easier to not use the Facing Pages option and simply rearrange single pages to be spreads within InDesign.

enter image description here

By using single pages and choosing the Allow Document Pages to Shuffle option in the Pages Panel you can manually configure the spreads, placing the back and front cover side by side. If numbering is an issue, you can use the Numbering and Section options to control the automatic page numbers.

*Be certain to move the back cover the end of a PDF after exporting things to PDF so that the actual page order is correct. Don't deliver a PDF to a print provider with the back cover (last page) as the first page of your PDF.

How to place image across 2 sequential pages in indesign so they don't mess up when printed in a booklet.

You can't control everything. This is where a quality print provider makes a difference. The better the print provider the less page shift there will be. But there will almost always be some shift.

In InDesign you just place objects across the gutter of two pages:

![enter image description here

But this is where putting some thought into where objects are placed may be key. Things will shift and move across a gutter, especially if that gutter also crosses signatures. It is often best to strategically place images so that some minor misalignment isn't going to make the object look completely horrible. For example, the image above, with any shift, the woman's face is going to be divided and it would just look horrible. By moving the image a bit to the left (or right) to get her actual face off the gutter, you ensure even with a slight shift, things will still look acceptable.

![enter image description here

For me, I generally try and not place objects across gutters whenever possible. I will for the center spread or the cover spreads, but that's it. Otherwise I do my best to avoid gutter content. Or at least gutter content which has aspects that need to be exactly aligned.

There's a reason you don't see many books, magazines, or other publications with critical content spread across the gutter. It's just a limitation of the production process.

Some misalignment will almost always happen, there's not a great deal you can do about it other than to plan ahead for it.

  • 1
    One problem with providing a "printer's spread" is that the designer needs to factor in creep and any other printer-specific variables that the printer is best qualified to handle, so it is not just a preference or usability issue. IIRC, you have done pre-press (?) so perhaps this is worth addressing in some manner?
    – Yorik
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 17:50
  • Valid point @Yorik Since I'm specifically suggesting reader spreads here, I fear explaining the intricacies of printer spreads would merely make the overall answer confusing.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 17:52
  • Hi there thank you so much for this information. This is a great explanation, detailed but simple enough to understand! I have read up a little bit and it seems in general its best to leave these kind of things to printers and just go ahead designing normally, but taking into account what you mentioned regarding image placement. I havent tried yet but if i do as you said with the front / back cover image, will pdf be able to create two seperate pages with image halves from the one image placed across the gutter in indesign (if that makes sense)?
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 17:11

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