What material is the best choice for your custom binder?

Piled up colourful binders

Some of the questions you might ask yourself should include:

  • What will the custom binder be used for?
  • Will it be in an office setting/conference/hotel/ restaurant/workshop?
  • Who will be using the binder?
  • Will it get dirty?
  • Where will you be storing it? In a bookshelf in an office? On a table in a hotel room? In a hot factory?
  • How many pages will it need to accommodate? This will determine the size of the metals needed and the spine needed.
  • What sort of graphics are you looking for?
  • Are you looking for detailed print or simple logos?
  • What is the budget?
  • What is the quantity needed?
  • Do you want your binder to embody a certain idea, feeling or quality?

Once you have thought about the above questions in relation to your binder, then it is possible to consider the various materials used to make binders and their unique qualities, advantages and disadvantages in relation to your needs.

Blue PVC binder


PVC is a synthetic plastic material that can take on many types of forms depending on the amount of added plasticiser. It is found in flexible forms – hosepipes, garments, shoes and in rigid forms such as PVC pipes.

PVC material can be welded into all types and sizes of binders, notebooks, folders, pockets, satchels… and the list goes on. It is a wonderful material to weld, providing a quality finish that is also durable.

It comes in a wide range of colours and sheens, providing endless opportunities to perfectly customise binders to match branding and needs.

PVC offers the unique cost-effective opportunity to use detailed graphics by encapsulating or sealing printed inserts into the binder during the welding process. It is also possible to screen-print or digital print very effectively on PVC material. Debossing and foiling are also readily available.

As a material, PVC is durable, comes in a range of colours, has multiple printing and branding options and remains a cost-effective solution for binders.

It is a great all-rounder for most requirements, though consideration should be given if it is to be used in places where it could be subject to rough handling or storage – this could cause it to have a shorter lifespan.


Polypropylene, also known as polyprop or poly, is one of the most versatile plastics. It is found in all areas of our day to day lives in things in the kitchen, in car batteries, garments and sporting equipment – it has any number of diverse uses.

It is an extremely durable plastic, able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is also very easy to clean.

In binder form, it also comes in many colour options. It is easy to print on, with a variety of techniques including screen-printing and digital printing. Foiling is also available. Unfortunately, debossing is not available in this material.

It is also possible to add elements such as handles to help with ease of use when using a poly material.

Slightly more expensive than PVC due to its hardiness and long lifespan, it is a great option for environments where you need your binder to be tough, such as factories, construction sites or outdoor settings.

Blue casebound


Casebound, also known as casemade, is a process where board is wrapped with the outer material and then made up into the final product.

This material can be a textile such as buckram, or it can be paper with a printed design covered with cello (a sealant used on top of the printed paper to protect it).

Casebound product examples include gift boxes, types of photo albums, scrapbooks and product containers like wine boxes or mobile phone boxes.

The casebound binder is one of the more expensive options, due to the amount of handwork involved in making it. By virtue of its handmade construction and the materials used, it is a less robust product and will not last as long as plastics. However, that said, the finished product shows this extra attention with a superior luxury finish ideal for high end purposes not easily matched by its plastic counterparts.

Artificial leather

Polyurethane leather, also known as PU leather or artificial leather, is made from thermoplastic polymer that is the same as that used for shoes or furniture. The look of this material is similar to the look of leather, so can be a less expensive option if you are looking for that visual appeal.

Another element of 100% PU leather is that because it is completely artificial, it is considered vegan as no element of it is derived from animal materials. However, should the material be a bonded leather or bicast leather, then it will have some properties derived from genuine leather and will not be considered vegan.

The advantages of using this material over genuine leather would also include the fact that it does not absorb water, so it is much easier to clean. It comes in a variety of colours and styles, and will also not dry out over time.

Brown Leather notebook


Leather products are considered luxury products, classy and naturally beautiful without needing extras to make them look amazing. Leather ages very well and lasts a long time. While it does not need embellishments, debossing and foiling logos on leather come up very well, so it is very easy to create a personalised product that makes an impression. It is appeals to many senses, is visually pleasing, it has a distinct smell and the touch of genuine leather is unmistakable. It automatically lends itself to having an air of gravitas – just as a leather book will do when held in one’s hands.

On the flip side, it can be very expensive and there are not as many choices when it comes to colour. Genuine leather also absorbs water, so while water resistant, it would be necessary to use only a damp cloth to clean it. As leather grows older, it is necessary to take care of it using specially designed products to prevent it from drying out too quickly.

There is no doubt that with so many options of materials on the table, it can make the choice a difficult one.

However there is no value in picking something beautiful and expensive for a use that will destroy it quickly – such as a leather binder for use in a factory. Similarly, it would be inappropriate to choose a hardwearing polyprop binder for a luxury hotel room.

Ensure that you first consider what it is going to be used for, and work from that point.

Let us help you choose

Our team of custom branding, screen-printing and plastic welding experts at Acme Preston can tell you immediately which material will be the best choice to achieve the desired look, application and level or luxury for your product.

Contact us to start the conversation. Read more articles about custom branded products.

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