In typography and graphic design, a "gutter" refers to the space between columns of text or the inner margins between facing pages in a layout, such as in a book or magazine. This space is crucial for ensuring that text is not lost in the binding of a publication and provides a balanced aesthetic that enhances readability.


Inner margin


  1. Books: In book design, the gutter margin is particularly important because it ensures that text near the spine is not obscured when the book is opened. This margin may be wider in thicker books to accommodate deeper bindings.
  2. Newspapers: Newspapers often use gutters to distinctly separate different articles or sections, aiding in the organization of content and improving the clarity and flow of the layout.
  3. Magazines: In magazine layouts, gutters contribute to the overall visual harmony by balancing white space between columns, which can make the text easier to read and the layout more visually appealing.


  • Readability: Proper gutter width is essential for readability, especially in bound materials where too narrow a gutter can cause text to disappear into the binding, making it difficult to read.
  • Binding Type: The type of binding affects how wide the gutter needs to be. For example, perfect binding (used for paperback books) might require a wider gutter than saddle stitching (used for booklets or brochures) because of the way pages stack when bound.
  • Page Count: The more pages a publication has, the wider the gutter may need to be to accommodate the depth of the spine, ensuring all text remains accessible.
  • Aesthetics: Gutters also play an aesthetic role by creating a visually pleasing layout. Designers should balance the gutter space to align with the overall design vision, ensuring that it complements other elements like margins, typefaces, and white space.
  • Printing Specifications: Always consider the printing specifications and constraints when setting gutters. Printers may have minimum margin requirements that impact the design of the gutter, particularly for large format prints or unusual binding styles.

To learn more about this or other printing techniques, reach out to American Print and Bindery today.