The right content is necessary to create a real page-turner. In a novel, you must create a narrative with a compelling plot, setting, characters, point of view and conflict. A riveting fine art or photography book requires images that stir the soul or challenge the mind. However, content isn’t the only contributing factor to a wow-worthy book.
Presentation matters – how a book is produced can add or detract from your content. It’s not just having impeccable color or choosing the best book binding options. It’s all the details, including ones that are easy to overlook when planning your book’s design.
Read on to learn about book features that can make a massive difference in the appearance and function of your book.
Virtually No End to Options for Book Endsheets
If you need a reminder of what endsheets are, grab a hardcover book from your shelf. Now flip it open to reveal the page at the very beginning of the book. Now flip to the inside back cover. Those are the book’s endsheets, also called book endpapers.
Endsheets have a practical function in the book binding process – they keep the book together. Even though endsheets are necessary, they don’t need to be boring. Here are four ways to use endpapers to distinguish your hardcover book
Use Colored Endsheets
Usually, end sheets are thicker paper that matches the color of the other pages. For example, if the book’s pages are white, it will usually have white endsheets. An easy option to add some flair is to use colored endsheets that contrast with the interior pages. For example, you could use red endpapers in a black-and-white book to increase the implied drama.
Add Texture to Your Endpages
Using unique or specialty paper stocks can also create a different look. For instance, if you have a photo book with images of the night sky, you may consider a paper stock that includes flecks of gold that look like stars.
This artbook uses black endpages to contrast with red case binding.
Print on the Endsheets
Even though endpapers are usually left blank, it doesn’t mean they have to be. A lovely option is to print an image spanning the interior cover and the first page.
Use Oversized Endsheets
You can extend your endsheets, so they’re larger than your book when unfolded. For example, if your book is set in a fantasy universe, you could design the endsheets as a fold-out map of all the key locations.
Bringing Style into the Fold
Adding folds to your softcover or hardcover books is a way to ensure that a book’s contents have exactly the space they need to create the desired impact without changing the outer dimensions of the book.
Using gatefolds ensure the optimal presentation of wide artwork within this artbook.
French flap cover on artbook about consumerism.
A gatefold is an oversized page folded to the same size as the other pages in a book. A common type is a double gatefold, where the left and right edges of the paper fold to meet along a centerfold.
French flaps are also called gatefold cover style. Essentially it’s using a gatefold on the cover of a book – you fold the cover inwards so that there’s an extra flap. Sometimes this flap is only a few inches wide, but can also be the entire width of the cover.
French flaps often include information about the book or the author – and can be a nifty built-in bookmark. But French flaps can also be a design element. For example, the flap could be angled instead of straight or may include die-cut shapes.
As you might suspect, French flaps are only an option for softcover books since the covers on hardcovers aren’t foldable.
Book Format as a Feature
A book’s format is another opportunity to set it apart. Choosing between hardcover and softcover is just one of the considerations. Other format considerations are listed below.
Size and Shape
If your book doesn’t need to fit on standard bookstore shelves, why not push the limits of your book object? How big or small can it be? And can it be another shape besides a square?
There’s always more than one way to tell a story. And sometimes, it needs to be told in separate parts.
Multipart books can be a series of similarly sized books packaged together in an enclosure such as a slipcase. But a multipart book can also be a collection of randomly sized objects collected in a box, case or envelope – possible contents could include bound books, folded documents, or rolled scrolls tied with a leather string.
Multipart books are great for delineating time periods and differentiating different types of content. For instance, you might create books for early versus late work or stories versus visuals.
You could also use a multibook to reinforce the message of your book. For example, if you photograph trees at different stages of life, you could use book elements to highlight the difference between young and old. You might create a miniature book with photos of seedlings on thin paper to reinforce the vulnerability of trees as they grow. To provide contrast, the book for the old oaks photographs may use thick paper, be oversized and have a wooden cover.
This set of 18 books documents the hundreds of pieces of art created during a word-of-mouth art event in New York City.
Enclosures Too Good to Keep Under Wraps
A great book is a gift to the world. So, it makes sense that many come with their own wrappings, such as a dusk jacket, slipcase, or other enclosure.
A dust jacket wraps around the outside cover of the book, offering protection and an additional opportunity to level up your design. Dust jackets can cover the entire cover or part of it – for example, you may want to have a wrap that covers only the lower half of the book.
You can also play with paper stock. A translucent material such as vellum can provide a softer, dreamy appearance while allowing a peek of the actual cover underneath. A dust jacket design with die-cut shapes or letters is another way to create interest.
A wooden enclosure for an artbook about hand-carved carved spoons reinforced the beauty of natural wood.
Slipcases and Enclosures
While the primary purpose of a book enclosure is to protect the contents, they’re often as creatively designed as the books themselves. You can create a book enclosure from various materials, including cardboard, leather, metal, plastic, and wood.
Learn More About the Art of Book Design
If you’ve got designs to create the best book, contact us. With superior support and unparalleled printing options, we have all the characteristics of a fine art book publisher. We’ll help make sure your book is perfect for you and your audience.
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