Why is there a margin in the center of the double page template?

Unless your double spread occurs on the two center-most pages of your comic, then your double spread gets split, printed on two separate sheets of paper, and the binding simulates the look of a spread by then juxtaposing the two pages next to each other. Because of those steps we need a margin for error. Hence the center margin area in the double spread template. If you place word balloons and text in that center margin area then those word balloons are going to be split, printed on two separate pages, and very likely not lineup properly when reassembled in the binding which will make them largely unreadable or at the least difficult to read.

Similarly, you should avoid putting any crucial element of artwork in the center margin area. For example, if you have a character gesturing or pointing or if you are depicting a certain facial expression on a character or revealing any visual of import to the scene or the story then you don’t want to risk that it might be unclear or distorted if the two pages don’t align precisely in the binding.

What’s more if the spreads are ever printed in a square bound edition any word balloons or crucial artwork in the center of the spread will be lost in the spine. It’s the simple physics of square-binding. When a squarebound book is opened there is at least an eighth and maybe as much as a quarter an inch of the spine side of each page that the reader simply can’t see because it curves into the binding.


  1. So is it acceptable, then, when compiling a standard-size comic book, to fill up that margin? Like, for instance, stretching one continuous image across both pages like a mini-poster? (As it will be on one sheet of paper)

  2. …Or, rather, I think my best option would be with the magazine-size, so…all that other stuff I just said in the previous post but about magazine size, in the form of a question.

    Oh, and…what would the specs be on a double-page setup like that (for magazine-sized comics)? Same center margin?

  3. If you’re talking about artwork then, yes, of course. Art can (and MUST if you want a full bleed page) extend all the way through the margins AND through the bleed area. It’s only text and story relevant artwork that should be confined to the live area.

    BTW, “relevant artwork” means things that the reader must see or notice for story purposes. For example if you have a panel on a full bleed page in which a character is pointing at a building then the character’s hand and the building both need to be within the live area. The character’s hand and the building are both “relevant”. The reader needs to see them for story purposes. However the rest of the artwork in the panel — sky, trees, streetlights, even the character’s body and arm, etc. — is ancillary NOT relevant. So they can — and should — extend beyond the live area and through the bleed.

  4. I’d like to get further clarification, if I may.

    If I’ve worked it out that the spread is in the center-most pages of a standard comic book, is the center margin still necessary? I’m putting together a project where the only spread is dead center of the book and I’d like to get the answer on that.

    If no center margin is required, what would the total page dimensions be, with full bleed? Also, what would be he best format to name that TIF file? (eg: 006-007.tif)

    If the center margin is still required, should I split the artwork into 2 separate pages? Sorry, but I’m a little confused on this subject.

  5. Just to be clear … there is no center bleed factored into the dimensions for a double page spread HOWEVER the margin IS still present. It’s the yellow stripe down the center of our double page spread template. Of course you’re going to have artwork in the center margin, but you want to keep story critical elements outside of the margin. You really don’t to have a staple or a fold in the middle of a word balloon or have your viewpoint character making a gesture that gets bifurcated by the fold or for him/her to have a staple in the forehead or crotch.

  6. Forgot to answer the latter questions …

    A single continuous image is a our preference over two individual files. You’re exactly right on the naming format (006-007.tif would work perfectly).

    Don’t forget to download and use our template.

  7. What if your book is all images? Is there any white space put in the middle or will it be a (semi)smooth transition from one page to another? Also, do you have to have the pages together? Like for the example of 06-07.tif, would you have to have that, or could you just have them split up as 06.tif and 07.tif?

  8. Please download the template and read the info on it. I think we covered all of that.

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