Double page spreads are a great way to give impact to your book or catalog, but expanding designs and image across the full width of two pages. It’s ideal for everything from photobooks (where an image might cover both pages) to a magazine (where an image or text can be placed across the entire two-page spread). Here’s our step by step guide to setting up your double page spreads.
1. Set up your file as double pages.
By default, in Adobe InDesign your document will be set up using facing pages. In other words, page one (your cover) will automatically be on the right hand side, and subsequent pages will be set out side by side in the Pages palette.
If you are creating your pages in Illustrator or Photoshop, you will need to ensure that your canvas or artboard size is the equivalent to double your trim size. For example, if your book is 8.5” x 11”, then you will need to create a canvas that is 17” wide (i.e. 2x 8.5”).
2. Add bleed and quiet area.
Add 0.125" bleed regardless of size, and allocate a 0.25" quiet area along the edges of your design where you don’t include text. This will eliminate the risk of anything important being cut off in the binding process.
If you don’t add bleed to your project, you can be left with an unsightly line of white paper that doesn’t have any ink on it if the cutting blade falls a fraction outside of the trim line.
Once the bleed area has been created in the application, the actual content of the page that touches the trim edge must be extended into the bleed area.
In Photoshop or Illustrator, you will need to calculate the correct margins and quiet areas, as well as increase the canvas size by 0.25" to accommodate bleed on all sides. Alternatively, use one of our pre-prepared template files for reference.
When working from InDesign, select “Use Document Bleeds” in the Export PDF dialog box.
3. Make sure your design works across a spread.
Be sure that all elements line up (where appropriate), and that important elements aren’t lost in the internal margins. Add spaces in words that run across a page to make sure characters don’t get lost in the gutter. With images, try offsetting them.
To offset an image in InDesign, make sure that your image is split into separate frames, on separate pages (not a single frame running across both pages). Move the left hand image to the left by 0.125" and the right hand side image to the right by 0.125". Then adjust the frame to fill the pages and bleed correctly. This will create a 0.25" area in the middle of the page where the image is duplicated. When printed, this will not be visible, since it will be in the gutter.
With both image offsetting and text formatting, it might not look ideal on your artwork on your computer, but when printed and bound into a larger book, they will look perfect.
4. Exporting files as spreads.
If you are exporting your file as spreads in InDesign, make sure you select ‘Spreads’ in the export panel. When uploading your file to Mixam for printing, our software will split the pages accordingly.
Please note that although they will appear as single pages in the Artwork Dashboard, the files sent to the printer will maintain their perfect alignment.
If you are unsure about how exactly to set up your document, use our free double spread layout template as a reference.