Your dissertation is one of the most important documents you’ve created so far. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort, emotion and energy on creating the best possible document and it’s ready to be presented. But how do you get it printed and what’s the best binding to choose? Here are some expert tips to help.
Before you dive into options for printing and binding, it’s a good idea to make sure your formatting is in place as this will make it easy for the printer to create your masterpiece. There’s not a set in stone format you should have but there are some best practices that help make the best dissertation.
- Margins – 25mm on the binding edge and at least 5mm on the other edges, usually a little more
- Page size – universities will tend to prefer A4 but your course leader will tell you if there’s a specific page size you need to use
- Cover – again, the university may specify certain features such as a cover colour, foiled lettering on the front and spine or other features so check this while preparing
- File format – A PDF or XPS are the common file formats that people bring to us for printing, usually on a USB drive or sent via email
Choosing the right binding
Binding holds everything together and different options are recommended for different types of documents. The University of Greenwich, for example, will provide guidelines within each course about everything from formatting to binding and these should always be followed.
There are five main types of binding currently being used:
- Plastic spiral binding
- Metal spiral binding
- Softback binding
- Hardback binding
- Magazine or booklet
Any of the first four would work well for bachelor’s dissertations, master’s dissertations and similar documents. PhD dissertations usually require either softback or hardback binding while the spiral binding is often used for draft documents. Magazine or booklet styles are available if recommended.
The final decision is the printing style you choose. Again, this may be stated by the university or the course but if not, it’s up to you whether you choose colour or black and white. Colour costs more but has a greater impact visually.
Another choice is single versus double-sided printing. Double sided is cheaper and kinder to the environment as it uses less paper but your course may specify one or the other. The weight of the paper is also important. Standard 75-90gsm is fine for bachelors or masters dissertations. PhD dissertations often use 100-130 gsm.
It’s common to have 3-5 copies of the dissertation printed, depending on how many the course states you must submit. Lots of students keep a copy for themselves and also one for parents or their family.
Expert help on hand
Being based on the University of Greenwich campus, we are here to help with on-hand advice for your dissertation binding and printing. Call in to see us or send us an email to chat about what you need and get the best personalised advice