A guide to creating eye-catching books

A guide to creating eye-catching books

As far as the book printing industry is concerned, the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is meaningless. The book’s subject matter is of minor importance to us. We will, on the other hand, make every effort to make it as attractive (and perfect) visually as possible. There are a ton of ways to smarten the appearance of a book, and we have already dealt with the essential and most popular ones in the post on book enhancements. Yet, we have not explored the subject fully, so let’s have a look at some more ideas for making your publication truly one-of-a-kind.

Unconventional end paper

You would be excused for thinking that the end paper requires no special consideration. At the end of the day, it mainly plays a structural role. Read more about it here.

Still, if it’s possible to make it more attractive, then why not do it? A carefully selected end paper will make the book appear well-thought-out, proving that we took a holistic approach to it and paid attention to detail starting with the initial design stage. Creating an end paper that visually matches the book’s cover is a simple way of pleasantly surprising your readers, after all they don’t really expect much of it, least of all any positive surprises.

So, what do you do with the end paper to make it pleasing to the eye? There are endless possibilities and your imagination is really the only restriction here.

You could apply a decorative design or a pattern, but there is nothing stopping you from printing some artwork on it alluding to the book’s subject matter.

If it is minimalism that you are having a love affair with, use a discreet detail, e.g. somewhere in the corner. If, however, that sort of an end paper seems too extravagant to you, then experiment with colour. This is where coloured paper comes in as the perfect material for creating end papers. By using this type of a material you ensure that your end paper will be of a uniform and pure colour. Our experience shows that a black cover with a black end paper is a great look for a book.

Black is well worth considering for coffee table books, especially when the photographs inside are printed in dark colours—using blinding white here will look like a sour mistake. Then again, coloured paper has its disadvantages too. You will have a broad range of colours to play with, but it will be a limited one. If you really want to create an end paper in a specific colour, you will be better off printing sheets of paper with the desired hue.

Gilded book block edges

Similarly to other enhancements, they improve the aesthetics of books, while additionally protecting the publications. All bibliophiles know how awkward book dusting is—as much as dusting the cover is not much of an issue, you can’t say the same about dusting the book block (which is why there are some that advocate stacking books horizontally on the bookshelf). Many older book collections will have books where only the top edge of the block is gilded. It is thus much easier to remove any dust particles that gather on an edge protected in this manner. Nowadays it is more common to have the book block edges gilded for purely aesthetic reasons, as opposed to practical ones. This type of enhancement always makes an electrifying impression. The edge gilding process itself involves trimming and properly sanding the book block. The edges are then covered with foil in the chosen colour using a heated roller to create a smooth surface.

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Most people will wrongly equate book block edge gilding with covering them with gold or silver leaf. Naturally, there is nothing stopping you from having your book block edges covered with gold or silver leaf, however gilding is not reserved for upscale publications only. There is a broad range of foil colours in different finishes to choose from. Say you would like your book edges to be covered with holographic or metallic foil—not an issue at all. At our printing house we have dealt with paperback fiction with multi-colour edge gilding, starting with intense greens, through to reds and blacks. The end result is always spectacular.

Innovative bookbinding cover material

The graphic design on the book’s cover isn’t always what makes the publication visually attractive. The profusion of bookbinding cover materials available on the market can make you feel dizzy and sometimes sticking to the vision in your head will be the only thing to save you from the fatal curse of abundance. A decision has to be made—will a material that resembles raw linen be suitable for your publication’s cover? Or maybe it would look better covered with shimmering metallic pink? And what about following the current trends and going for a cover material that imitates crocodile skin?

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You are given an ocean of possibilities, and the decision is only yours to make. If professional advice is what you need, our sales department will be happy to assist you with all the information required and come to your rescue with cover material samples (which also come in electronic format). All the better given that not all materials are available immediately.

Depending on what cover material you choose, you can apply more enhancements to it, e.g. hot-stamping and dry embossing. Still, if for a number of reasons you are unable to completely forego graphics, you can always compromise and additionally use a dust jacket. What are dust jackets? Read more about them here.

Elastic band closure and pen holder

This is a detail that certainly does not go with all publications, as you have no need for a pen with, for instance, fiction books. On the other hand, the owner of a calendar or a planner will undoubtedly see the benefit of applying that sort of a solution. The elastic band closure means that the inside of your publication will stay protected when on the move, with the individual sheets not getting creased or dirty (which is not the worst that can happen in a handbag…). In turn, the paper holder will give you assurance of always having something to write with close at hand (or at least you will have a designated place for putting that ‘something’ away without having to worry about getting the inside of your handbag or backpack marked. In a way, it’s also an opportunity to include a gadget, at the end of a day a pen (e.g. with the company logo printed on it) is always a nice treat. Our bands come in several colours, so we can always help you choose one to meet your needs.

Printing on imitation tracing paper

Sounds intriguing and it looks that way, too. It’s an interesting and creative way of increasing the attractiveness of your publication. If you know how to do it right, ‘tracing paper’ has a way of delighting many a reader. The material we use is called CURIOUS TRANSLUCENTS CLEAR and its key feature is its partial transparency. This means that the page that follows within your publication will be visible through this decorative paper, its milky white colour making the contours softer, as if looked at through mist, yet everything remains perfectly readable.

Printing text on this type of paper is not a good idea when the following page has text on it too (unless, of course, your objective is to give your readers an eye ache). An artwork is a different story, however. And printing some of your artwork on the imitation tracing paper and some on the following page to make the superimposed elements complement each other is an even more striking concept. It’s all a question of design, and bringing your idea to life in the right way will give you stunning results. Most people will go for black here, but you may as well use some colour. It really all comes down to your imagination.

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This range of options available may give rise to some resistance on your part—how could you possibly pay that much attention to the book’s appearance when you buy it for what’s inside it? Still, think back to your first dates and all the job interviews you’ve been to—the first impression is key. And it’s the same with a bookstore: a book has a mere several seconds to charm a potential reader. Whether you like it or not, you buy with your eyes. Make an effort then and find an attractive format for the content you want to sell, you’ll see it’s all worth it!

lidia piasecka

Lidia Piasecka

Graphic designer at Totem.com.pl. She writes because she enjoys it, but only when she isn’t busy drawing. Enthusiast of vintage furniture, she restores them to their original glory. Lover of cats, moths and the Moomins.

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