Up or Down?

24 August 2018

When it comes to text direction on the spine of a book or binder, which way should the text present?

It’s an issue we get asked about frequently.

Should you tilt your head to the right to read it down the spine, or tilt your head to the left and read upwards?

Unfortunately, a quick look through the shelves at the local library confirms that there is no hard and fast rule.  Titles run down the spine, up the spine, across the spine, and some have naked, un-named spines!

When it’s a book – does it really matter – well maybe not.  Afterall, books are pretty symmetrical, so you can position them either way on the book shelf.


A binder however, often has inserts or sheet protector pockets inside it – so if you turned that upside down so that all your spines were reading the same, you run the risk of things falling out.  Also, with a binder, if your text is running upwards, when you place the binder on the table (front cover up), your spine text is upside down.

So – the upshot of all that is….there’s no rule, but Plastics Australia would recommend that you run the text on the spine downwards, so that when the binder is flat on the desk you can still read the spine.