New Cover Design Choices: An Introduction to Affordable Special Effects

January 2005
by Jeff Burg

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Both in stores and online, book-cover design has an important effect on sales. Covers convey the first impression of a book, and they create emotion and desire, often with the help of special effects such as lamination, foil stamping, or embossing and unusual materials.


Keying In on Costs


Unfortunately, most special effects require a significant upfront investment in make-ready or setup. Large publishers that order big printings can spread the upfront costs out over many units, making them insignificant book by book. Smaller publishers usually can’t. But there’s an affordable way for smaller houses to produce similarly striking covers—by taking advantage of what we call in-line special effects, such as specialized inks, varnishes, and coatings, which have minimal make-ready or setup costs.


Specialty cover printers are now able to achieve many special effects during the normal printing process. Instead of dies, special orders, and separate equipment, we use standard plates and the specific ink, varnish, or coating chosen, which can reduce costs by as much as 90 percent for print runs of less than 10,000 copies. The facts that the special effects are created on the fastest piece of equipment in the process (the press), and that creating them requires only a small amount of material, contribute to lowering costs.


A Brief Intro to Options


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