Is there REALLY a quality difference when it comes to all the albums out there in the world? YES. YES THERE IS. I’ve just chosen one aspect to highlight today that I think is an important one when it comes to displaying your beautiful imagery: Binding. It’s a big one. It can make or break how your images are presented to the world.
At Finao, we use a “folio” style of construction, so you’re not loosing any of your image in the center, there’s no big jump from one page-side to the other, and the pages lay nicely when the book is open. This is what a typical flush mount ONE™ album looks like. Take special notice that the solid spine lays flat, and actually does the job of supporting the block of pages when the book is closed (give your album’s spine the knock test, does it pass?). Also note the thickness of the pages, and the seamless panorama that’s achieved when there’s no ugly gutter to interrupt your images as they cross the center of the spread.
The pages pictured here are the “medium” page style for the ONE album; thick pages are also available. Both feature photographic prints that are folded in the centers and the right side of Print-A is mounted to the top of a base page, and the left side of Print-B is mounted to the bottom of that same base page, then the process is repeated. This is how you get each “leaf”.
Below is a NON-FINAO book in the coffee table or magazine style. It features the type of binding often referred to as “Old World Style”. This type of book is typically press-printed with ink on the front and back of a single sheet of thin paper and the images are arranged on pages so that they will end up in the correct order once little packets of pages are assembled together. These packets are either stapled or sewn, and then multiple packets are glued together. Notice how you loose the entire middle of your images due to the sewn/stapled pages?
Another binding style you will run into frequently is the hinged binding. This is most prevalent in the press book market which makes up the bulk of the low-end or economy album options. Again, these books tend to feature a single sheet of paper that has double-sided printing. The hinges that are attached to each leaf allow the pages to lay relatively flat for viewing, but there is still a noticeable gutter at the center that disrupts the flow across the spread. If you use a book like this now, check out the Finao playBOOK instead. It’s in a similar price-range to most of the economy press-printed books, but it has much higher quality silver halide prints, no gutter, thicker pages – just an all around winner in comparison to this:
And let’s not forget matted albums! We can compare there too. Here’s an example of a traditional matted album. Pay attention to the very large gutter in between page-sides which limits your designs to individual page-sides rather than panoramas. Also notice the gap between the inner mat edges and the base pages, and the gap that has to be folded into each base page to leave enough room for two mats to be inserted in between. Make sure you give your matted album’s spine the old knock test too. Most will fail having nothing more solid than the cover material itself to support those heavy heirloom mats. Inferior spines and wide gaps in the base pages can cause the dreaded sag and skew of album pages, eventually leading to tears if not properly maintained.
Compare the above to Finao’s nextONE matted album pictured below. This revolutionary new hybrid album offers all the luxury of a traditional matted album, but is made with the modern market in mind and Finao quality at heart. Both mats AND images can cross the center with just a simple crease; no ugly gutters here. Also notice the solid spine that acts as a sturdy support for these museum quality mats. Matted images can be mixed with flush-style images on the same spread and because they can cross the center with ease, you can utilize the entire spread. Matted albums have never known such freedom of design, so if interested, learn more about the nextONE and it’s ease of design that requires NO SPECIAL SOFTWARE here.
So go ahead, do the comparison. Or next time you’re visiting another studio, or maybe at a convention, take a look and see if you can spot the differences. There IS a difference and it DOES matter. Finao quality is at the heart of everything we do.