If you are producing a thesis or dissertation of any sort, then you will have experienced the amount of hard work and dedication that these projects demand. Once written though, there is still a further step to go – you need to prepare it for presentation to the relevant bodies and examiners and, having put all that work and effort into your dissertation, you will want it to look professional and do your written work justice! There are different aspects of presenting your portfolio to consider, one of the most important being the type of binding you use to contain your written work for presentation – here is some information on the different options for dissertation printing and binding:    

Dissertation Binding

The different options can be used for fastening the individual printed pages of your dissertation together to form a single presentation document – a finished portfolio of work that will look smart, professional and project the right impression of the quality of the work you are presenting. 

Spiral Binding

Sometimes referred to as helical or wired binding, spiral binding is an ideal option for a dissertation or thesis. The pages are held together with either a plastic or wire coil threaded through the pre-punched pages to form a booklet – the pages can be rotated through 360 degrees making them easy to read.  

Softback Binding

Softback binding, sometimes referred to as fastback binding, bonds the individual printed pages with a glue – this is not that common a choice for thesis documents as it can appear a little formal, but is often selected for documents such as PHD theses adding a bit of gravitas to the document. 

Hardback Binding

This form of binding creates more of a ‘book-like’ document – often a popular choice for PHD theses and such. Presenting an expensive and high-end appearance, it provides a spine and front and back covers which can be used for formal lettering and titles. These hardback bindings can be produced in different colours and materials.  

Paperback Binding

Paperback binding provides a front and back cover for your document allowing a personalised finish for titles and text on the covers – a professional and high-quality binding option. 

Plastic Comb Binding

A cheaper option than some of the other ‘book-like’ bindings – this method consists of punching holes down the individual pages sides and collating them together with a plastic comb strip. This format allows you to alter, replace, remove, or add pages to the document once bound, but is not always the easiest to turn pages and read.   

Printing Options

In addition to selecting your most appropriate binding method, you need to consider the different print options for your document. Consider whether you want your dissertation to be produced as single or double-sided printed sheets and think about the paper quality you want to use. A paper that is too thin can make the document appear ‘flimsy’ and poor quality – not how you want to present all your hard work, whilst paper that is too thick can be difficult to turn and therefore read. It is usual to opt for standard A4 paper size, but some illustrations and charts may be better suited to those pages being printed on A3 paper. 

A lot of your time and effort goes into producing your thesis or dissertation, so it is important to get the presentation correct – speak with a professional print company that can advise you on the best methods for dissertation printing and binding. Choose a print provider that can offer a short run printing service with a quick production turnaround, and that has a proven record of quality portfolio printing. 


At John E Wright, we offer a wide range of dissertation binding services with quick turnarounds. We’ve printed dissertations for students in many parts of the UK. When you like John E Wright handle your dissertation printing and binding, you can be sure we’ll produce a fantastic looking product.

If you’re in the market for some portfolio printing, dissertation binding or photographic printing, or if you just don’t know where to start, we would love to hear from you. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact your local office or contact us and we’d be delighted to help you. You can also call our head office on: 0115 950 6633