I have always produced magazines with saddle stitches and know how to prepare files for print. Now I need to make A5 magazine with perfect bound with overall ~190 pages. My questions are:

  1. Covers: about perfect bound and spine size - I understand that it depends also on paper, should the printer give this size based on page count?

  2. If I know it will be printed on uncoated matte paper, does printer say which color profile to use after exact paper is being choosed? What should I keep in mind technically when designing magazine with uncoated matte paper? For body text should I use always 100% black?

  3. Serif font size for body text: what is the size that would be not too small? I plan to go with 10pt and leading about 13pt or 14pt.

  4. Margins: if the main part of magazine is text, I understand that inside margins should be pretty wide, when reader opens spread it can be seen easy, but the other three margins, do I need to keep something in mind like mandatory or it is up to me because of what design I will make?

1 Answer 1



Spine size depends on paper thickness. At 190 pages this can be calculated as paper thickness * page count = X mm and the printer should be able to give you this number. You will probably have to design and export the covers (front and back) as a separate ID file, adjusting the spine thickness manually. You will probably need to deliver 2 pdf's, one for covers and one for pages. The width of the covers should be 297+X mm (assuming your pages are A5 portrait). Perfect binding should not influence the way you export the pages pdf, just export as single pages with crops and bleed.


I wouldn't worry about color profiles unless specifically asked to. Confirm this with your printer however, as sometimes they do need a profile to be used. I would also use full-color text, not just black. If doing multiple languages however, this should be discussed with the printer, as a full-black text option might make more sense (cheaper to print) when doing the same print job in different languages.


10pt body text size is not small for A5. 6-7pt might be small, but this also depends on the font you are using. You should be fine with 10pt body text. Print a page on any printer and see the font in real size on paper.


At 190 pages, inside (inner) margins should be a little wider. You could use 8-10mm for all margins and 12-15mm for inside margins (just examples).

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  • It will be only in 1 language, so that will be also not good idea using 100% black and instead to get body text and also headings as rich black, I should use for example 60/60/40/100? This will be on uncoated paper so this is even more important to use rich black because paper will absorb it more than costed? This is magazine, but when designing a book on uncoated matte paper, where text is 90%, should black be used as rich black always?
    – istoby
    Feb 27, 2017 at 5:46
  • Body text should be pure black so it prints sharply. For larger headlines you could use cmyk values.
    – Lucian
    Feb 27, 2017 at 6:28
  • So only for large headlines I need to use for example 60/60/40/100 values?
    – istoby
    Feb 27, 2017 at 6:36
  • That's what i would do, but you are free to decide otherwise. Just be aware of what it means: CMYK values for small text (although 10pt is not small, more like "normal" size) means even the slightest shift in the CMY plates (and this could happen) will make the text less sharp. Printing small text in black (K) only means it only prints on the black plate, which leaves less room for error. However, this is only valid for offset printing. If you are doing a DIGITAL print, this issue may not exist. Ask your print provider first whether its an offset or digital print, then decide on this.
    – Lucian
    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:00
  • No worries. If you find my answer useful you could approve it. See the checkmark next to it. thx
    – Lucian
    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:09

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