22.10.2019 / Frank Baier

More Value for the Book

No two books are the same when you take a look at a bookshop shelf. Print finishers get the print product into shape in a variety of ways.

When it comes to the design and layout of books, publishers from industry and publishing companies often demonstrate a high degree of innovativeness, creativity and competence. Not without reason: As is well known, editions at the point of sale are best sold via the “exterior,” i.e. via the title cover. 

Books distinguished annually by the Book Art Foundation (see photos) attract positive attention with regard to experiments in design compared to the titles available in stationary and online bookstores. However, one thing is certain: “External” features, be it a hardcover or softcover book, the feel of the material, the coloring and finishing of the book case are always important. 

Top Ten List of Book Developments ​
  1. Books and brochures whose content, typography, finishing, equipment and format form a unit are often a success. For example, the endsheet and postscript, typo elements and ribbons are published in the same color tone.
  2. Hardcovers are more expensive and look better, softcovers cost less and look more functional. Full-flap books are considered to be an alternative because they offer more space for information and do not require a ribbon.
  3. Introduced by the photo book industry, layflat perfect binding is recommended. Optimum layflat behavior is guaranteed with the open book block lying flat. The layflat effect is comparable in thread sewing.
  4. A “belly band” is sometimes considered to be an eye-catcher when it is coordinated with a book's overall design. Such colored or transparent banderoles as a shortened protective jacket format offer room for additional information.
  5. Especially in the fiction genre, but also beyond it, there are individual titles and entire book series, mostly softcover book covers with multicolored, directly printed cloth, which make an additional protective jacket superfluous.
  6. It is striking that round book spines are preferred over straight ones. This also makes the book more comfortable to hold when reading. Rounded corners of the book cover are more common in the stationery range, for example in notebooks.
  7. More often, books have a color section. Previously known from Bibles due to the edge gilding, works of various genres contain a color section, sometimes even with halftone motifs, which sometimes “overflow” from the design into the book cover.
  8. Hardcover books increasingly contain at least one ribbon of their own integrated in the book block. This means that additional bookmarks are not required. Ideally, ribbons, headbands and end paper stock should appear in the same color scheme.
  9. “Experiments,” for example in the form of twin or double books, interior punching on the book cover title or exposed thread sewing with colored book twine, are used in business reports, architecture and art books.
  10. Book slipcases are intended to store and protect multi-part works or book series, for example fiction. A uniform book slipcase and spine design can underline the coherent design concept of the entire book project.

Frank Baier
Editor-in-Chief «Bindereport»