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The Bindery works with artists, authors, and institutions

to bring exciting custom creations into the world.


We focus on speciality hardcover books, custom artist books, poetry chapbooks, and other short-run work that is hand bound and of the highest quality.


We're here as approachable, expert guides to work with you collaboratively along the way. Our "design-through bind" process means we handle everything in-house with nothing lost to translation: we're the ones who design it, print it, and put it together. All right here in our historic workshop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 


We're craftspeople and project managers with decades of combined experience: ​let's collaborate to make something custom and unique for you.

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Photo books.
Exhibition books.
Artisan Zines.
Special editions.

Clamshell boxes.
...and more.

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You maintain control
and copyright.

We produce artisan work matched to your vision.

Creating a book is a complex and sometimes daunting task: we're here to help clients better understand the process holistically, and assist at any stage.

For a basic overview of how a self-published book might come to life in the world, check out our detailed introductory guide. Then see below for how work phases happen here with us, specifically.

Phase 1: Pre-Flight

Est. 1-2 weeks

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The first phase in working together is making sure we're all comfortable and set to move forward on both sides. This involves various steps depending on your project but typically looks like:

  • Give us a call to quickly explain your needs (414-482-3630). This helps us determine if we're the right shop for you--and vice versa!

  • Based on the conversation we'll suggest one of two things:

    • If you're 100% ready to go, we'll send you an online intake form to fill out. This helps us collect all the project details in one place and build a basic estimate.

    • If you have questions or need assistance, we'll suggest you schedule a book consultation with the team before proceeding with intake.​

  • We review your project intake form and provide a rough estimate of what your project will likely cost. We do this upfront, before we know every detail, to give clients a sense of whether the project is in their budget. We don't want to waste your time (or get your hopes up) if it's not going to make financial sense.

  • If you approve the estimate, we'll invite you to come by for a free intake meeting to go over details. This may include chatting about your files, going over materials, looking at binding styles, and answering all your questions.

  • Based on the details we discuss, we'll draft up a final quote, an estimated timeline, and send you an invoice. A 50% deposit is due in order for us to get started on next phases.

Phase 2: Layout & Design

Est. 2-6 weeks

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Next we proceed to work on your book's design details. This includes any elements of digital layout/design you may need as well as sourcing specialty materials. This phase typically involves:

  • Working with our in-house designer to finalize your interior layout needs, via a complete design package--or by providing you assistance to do it yourself if you already have expertise. (Please see details and options here.)

  • Finalizing your cover and book exterior design--whether it's digital or tangible in terms of book cloth, leather, or other special materials.

  • Working on any other special features that require design or engineering such as slipcases, boxes, cut-outs, and closures. We'll go over all the final details with you prior to production.

  • Sourcing materials. As a custom shop we can order in any materials you prefer. During the first phase we discuss what these are and quote them out--during phase two we acquire them so that we're set to go into production.

  • *If you are not having The Bindery produce your books, and are only working on design elements with us, the end of this phase involves final file handoff and payment.

Phase 3: Final Production

Est. 2-6 weeks


At last, your books are ready to be made! Everything comes together in this phase as our team of craftspeople print and bind your work, and take care of any final finishing touches. This looks like:

  • Proofing ("test printing") your work to assure print-correctness and doing a final mock up to make sure all components marry well.

  • Running your print job in-house, or sending it out if necessary to a local, trusted parter who does a type of printing we don't offer. (See our capabilities below.)

  • Binding your book/s using a mix of our historic equipment and modern technology. (It's likely your books will involve at least one tool or machine that's 100 years old!)

  • Crafting auxiliary pieces such as boxes and slipcases.

  • Working on final finishes such as trimming, corner-rounding, cover-insets, gold leaf work, and foil stamping.

  • When the work is complete, we let you know: you're set to come pick things up! Final payment is made in person (or in advance of shipping if we are mailing your books out to you).

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Our Capabilities

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The Bindery is a small scale speciality print shop and custom bindery. We use mainly historic equipment and traditional techniques that we believe infuse each book with a hand-feel and distinct character.

We mix this with modern practice and 21st Century technology to ensure the needs of today's artists are also met (ultra high resolution, brilliant color, and the best materials sourced from regional partners).

Specialty Printing Options

We are able to perform several different types of printing in-house to meet the various needs of artisans and authors. This also means we can combine multiple types of printing on the same sheet, providing layered effects and unique results.

Not sure what you need? No problem: schedule a consultation to pop by to see examples and chat pros and cons.

High resolution digital laser printing (CMYK color):

  • Great for photographs, art, and bright crisp text on a wide variety of papers, vellum, transparencies, and card stock. Up to 2400 dpi and 26" widths.

Letterpress (Pantone color):

  • For luxe work needing a high end feel, slightly impressed texture, on beautiful thick stock. Ideal for chapbook covers and bold broadsides.

Foil stamping (metallics):

  • For book covers of all kinds (paper, cloth and leather). A chance to choose historic metal fonts from our collection or order in a custom font/design.

Risography (neons & brights):

Additional options via trusted third-party partners:

  • Looking for screen printing, offset or other specialty needs? We partner with local print colleagues we know and trust outside our walls as well.

Binding Options

We are home to dozens of tools and machines to assist in making books in almost any way possible. We're also home to the talent to do so artfully and with great care. Some of the most common options are below. Please reach out with custom requests.

Not sure what you need? No problem: schedule a consultation to pop by to see examples and chat pros and cons.

Finish Options

Speciality finish options are what help books really stand out. Whether it's final touches or companion components, The Bindery's shop and skill is ready to help. 

Not sure what you need? No problem: schedule a consultation to pop by to see examples and chat pros and cons.

Offering custom finishes including:

  • Corner rounding

  • Blind debossing and foiling

  • Photo/design insets on covers

  • Hand tooling and leather inlay

  • Gold leaf ornamentation

  • Edge gilding and decoration

  • Custom Spine labels

  • Soft touch or high gloss lamination

  • Paper drilling and custom die cuts

Companion components available including:

  • Slipcases at all sizes
  • Clamshell and display boxes
  • Archival enclosures
  • Integrated ribbon bookmarks

  • Custom Ex Libris Book plates

  • Custom designed packaging

  • What is your space like? Can I come by for a tour?
    Our coworking area is 2,000 square feet of naturally lit, open workspace with various seating options. Large tables allow for spreading out and collaboration while small tables invite privacy. A sofa and soft seating welcome a more casual approach to work. Our kitchen offers a full size fridge and microwave--both at the ready for your lunchtime needs. Coffee and tea are available all day. We're here to be comfortable, low-key, and productive. The coworking space also shares a glass wall with The Bindery's actual working print shop and old school book factory/repair center. It's a fascinating [yet quiet and unassuming] chance to glimpse something unique during your workday. The building was recently gut-renovated and contains new technology for air filtration, security, and comfort. Single-unit, all-gender bathrooms offer affirming privacy and, of course, ADA compliance. You're welcome to pop by to see the space and ask questions, but please give us a ring first to make sure a staff member is available to assist you. 414-482-3630.
  • What hours are you open for dropping in? Do I up?
    Please be sure to sign up to work on our calendar. We're typically open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm but occasionally we host private events during the day and are temporarily closed for drop-in hours. We don't want you showing up and finding us closed! Once you're on the calendar you can shop up any time you like throughout the day, and come and go as you please until closing time at 6. When you first arrive, please find a staffer or ring the front bell. We'll give you the wifi password, answer any questions, and you're set to go!
  • Do I need to be "creative" or an "artist" to cowork at The Bindery?
    Absolutely not! We're a creative space for sure, but consider ourselves a "non-traditional office environment." Just like you don't need to be a coffee expert to enjoy working at a cafe, you don't need to know a thing about book arts to work at The Bindery. Our coworkers come from all backgrounds and work in the space on all sorts of things from IT and marketing to design and editing. What folks tend to have in common is that they are looking for a non-standard, creative-leaning work environment that they are unable to find in a typical "office space." Essentially, if you look at our website and think, wow, that looks like the space for me--then it is! Come on by and join us.
  • A ten day pass is a great deal! How do I buy one?
    Ten day passes are $100 (so just $10 per day instead of $15)! To purchase one for yourself or as a gift, please call The Bindery at 414-482-3630 so that we can set one up for you. Passes expire after six months of creation so just be sure to use your days before they're gone! If you're giving a pass as a gift and want to set the start date a little later on [so that the recipient gets their full 6 months-worth], please let us know at the time of purchase.
  • Do you offer private offices or studio space?
    Yes! We have a limited number of cozy, private office-studios that are available on a rolling, three-month basis. These spaces are furnished with custom built-in storage and desk space that is are ideal for individuals doing quiet, "non-messy" work like writing, editing, graphic design, admin, etc. These spaces each have a separately keyed locking door and 24-7 access to the entire coworking area including the kitchen, and meeting room. Studio pricing starts at $375/mo (with a three month commitment). Please reach out if you'd like to see one in person!
  • Can someone visit me during my workday? What about a client?
    Yes, of course: we welcome visitors! If your friend wants to pop by with lunch for you, or a client needs to have a quick meeting--no problem at all. We just ask that you don't abuse this privilege: anyone coming by for more than a few minutes, or to just sit and work alongside you on their own thing, should buy their own drop-in pass for the day. Our team is happy to hook them up with one!
  • How do I reserve a room or equipment in the space?
    Our main offerings are managed with easy online booking that allows coworkers to book work days, walk-up printing, and time in our bindery makerspace. This means you always know you have what you need reserved. For other private bookings including our meeting room, please reach out to our team at or 414-482-3630 to get on the schedule.
  • What are the legal terms and conditions of coworking?
    The Bindery is a community space and everyone's safety and comfort is important to us (including our own as a business and team)! The attached document contains all the "legalese" regarding space use at The Bindery. By coworking here you are agreeing to these terms. The long, fussy fine print is essentially clarifying these key points: We're here to be your colleagues and resource provider (not your landlord). You're an adult in charge of yourself: act with kindness and do your dishes. You can't do anything illegal while working in the space. Make sure your own insurance covers your items in the space: ours does not. The Bindery and its partners cannot be held liable for harm or damages: coworkers are responsible for their own safety and responsible use of the space. We are a hate-speech free zone and provide equal space and services to the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities (along with other marginalized folks). We keep your information private and confidential. We want you to be happy working with us: ask for help whenever you like! Please find the full terms and conditions here:
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