Many of us use binders on a regular basis in our professional lives, whether we’re presenting documents to a co-worker or client, illustrating a presentation at a special event, or simply using one as an organizer for personal files or school assignments. But few people put very much thought into how a binder is designed. It’s just three rings and a cover, after all; how complicated could it be?
The truth is that binder printing and design requires a number of important choices—including the material it will be made from, whether or not it will include pockets (which will determine if the piece can hold loose leaf paper that hasn’t been three hole punched), the type of binder mechanism and rings to incorporate into the spine, and any accessories or extras you want to include (such as slits for business cards).
Before you can create a marketing binder design, however, you’ll need to choose the overall form and shape it will take. You’ll also need to determine the size of your binder—whether you want something in a standard letter size or a smaller mini-binder. It all really comes down to selecting a die cut template. Company Folders, Inc. has assembled several binder templates that you can download for free and use as your canvas, whether you’re creating artwork for a specific purpose or simply experimenting.
Binders made from vinyl are highly durable, water-resistant, and recyclable, making them one of the most popular options when designing marketing binders. They’re suitable for designs composed from either PMS ink or foil stamps.
Left Pocket Three-Ring Vinyl Binder
Two-Pocket Three-Ring Vinyl Binder
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Made from a special type of vinyl that simulates the texture of leather, these binders are designed to engage recipients’ tactile sense. They’re shiny on the outside, matte on the inside, and come in a variety of vibrant hues.
Three-Ring Leather-Like Binder
7″ x 9″ Three-Ring Leather-Like Binder
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Turned Edge Binders
A turned edge (or casemade) binder looks similar to a hardcover book, hand-created from a litho wrap material for an impression that’s personal, professional, and prestigious. This type of binder is compatible with CMYK printing and allows for a continuous design across the entirety of the spine.
Three-Ring Turned Edge Binder
Two-Pocket Three-Ring Turned Edge Binder
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Versatile and lightweight, paper binders are compatible with a wide range of imprint methods, including PMS and CMYK printing, foil stamping, embossing, and debossing. They’re an excellent choice for events where you expect people to take binders on the go.
3-Ring 2 Pocket Letter Size Binder
2 Pocket 3 Ring Binder w/ Window
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Poly binders are both durable and flexible, capable of handling plenty of use without ripping or tearing. They can also stand up to water, grease, or other substances that might stain a lower-quality material. Poly can support designs imprinted with PMS ink or foil stamping.
Three-Ring Poly Binder
Two-Pocket Three-Ring Poly Binder
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Clear View Binder
Customized clear view binders typically don’t feature a design printed on the binder itself; rather, the covers and spine include clear pockets into which you can insert a printed sheet. This allows you to switch the cover design on-the-fly, making it a good choice when you plan to periodically update the piece with new information (like an annual event, for example).
7″ x 9″ Three-Ring Clear View Binder with Insert
7″ x 9″ Right Pocket Three-Ring Clear View Binder with Insert
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Three-Ring Easel Binder
The easel binder is very unique compared to other binders in that it features a built-in display stand, encouraging recipients to engage and interact with it while it rests on a surface. Like other vinyl binders, this template is suitable for PMS and foil stamp designs.
The Next Step
If you don’t see a binder in this post that catches your fancy, take a look at the full collection of binder templates on Company Folders’ website; there are over 60 to choose from.
Once you’ve selected one of these free templates, you can start getting into the nitty-gritty of design—layout, color, and so on. If you need help finding some inspiration, try exploring online portfolios or other design resources to gather ideas. Always make sure to double check the rest of your marketing collateral to ensure that your binder design is consistent with it.
While you create your design and prepare to send it to a printer, make sure you refer to this binder design cheat sheet. It’s the best way to ensure that your design looks great (and that there are no glaring errors that might cause unnecessary delays during the printing process).
Want to show off binder designs that you’ve created using these templates? Share them in the comments below.
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