Don’t worry: it won’t be kitschy, but it will be exciting. We will show you different effects in the area of special finishing: from thermo print and slate coating to texture and optical metallic effects.


Relief Coating

Optic combined with Haptic

Relief coating is an especially highly-applied uv-coating, that make the motifs and the lettering particularly stand out from the book cover and are noticeable to the touch. The height of the coating application can be adjusted as desired, but a minimal line thickness with the water-drop coating should be maintained. Depending on the design, objects can appear especially graphic, yes, even three-dimensional with the 3D-relief coating. The most beautiful effect with contour coating can be achieved with linear motifs or curved lettering. Not an uninteresting side effect: because of the special surface-texture characteristic, the relief coating is also used for braille products.

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See-Through Book Cover

For those who want to have a complete overview, choose a punched-out cover. That makes sense if the endleaves have a surprise: a neon-bright colour, typography or a perfectly aligned motif on the cover stamp. Strong book covers are not a problem for punching tools. For thin covers, we recommend using a laser cut instead, which can cut out significantly finer elements.. Basically, there is no reason that a book block form cannot also be stamped – but it is not really practical. The valuable writing space is also decreased. We recommend to concentrate on a beautiful effect on the book cover. Ultimately, the first impression counts.

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Print that can also be felt

This printing process equally enthuses with both the visual impression and the surface feel. Letterpress means: printing with colour and at the same time deeply debossing the printed image. Almost no one can escape the beauty of the typical, deep embossed appearing letterpress typography and illustrations. This is a must for high-quality stationary. Printing with colour and, thanks to soft and high voluminous paper quality, embossing at the same time delivers an aesthetic that is still quite new, even though it is realised with centuries old, heavy machines. Letterpress book covers inspires us again and again. We love to stroke our fingers over the deep printed result. Combined with an open thread stitch, sketchbooks are created that can be the perfect gift idea for your customers.

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Structure Coating

A Haptic Illusion

Surface structures – for example a wood grain, fabric or tire prints – can be imitated by mixing particles in the coating and can turn the feel of the paper into a real experience. The technique is simple and the effect is really exciting. Structure coatings are transparent and only start to form certain structures through hardening. A good consultation is very important to avoid stumbling blocks. The individual particles absorb light and cause the underlying colours to appear duller and less brilliant. Caution is advised with motifs that bleed-off the edge, as the coating can chip off when cut. We have had a lot of experience and are happy to advise you.

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Softtouch Cellophane Lamination

Pleasing to the Touch

Let’s assume that you have chosen a 4-colour cover for your notebook. Great! But you still need a surprising effect? We recommend: Instead of a simple cellophane lamination, choose a soft-touch cellophane lamination. It is pleasantly soft and velvety to the touch and yet the book is – as with a standard cellophane lamination – perfectly protected from dirt and moisture. A positive side effect of all cellophane laminations and foil lamination is the protection of the printed image from abrasion and mechanical damage as well as a book cover with a higher stability. The matte surface of a soft-touch-cellophane lamination is, by the way, the best basis for a spot or shiny coating. In this way, the matte/shiny effect is not only visable, but also tangible.

Transfer Print

Various Materials Combined

Graceful motifs on rough fabric? Sounds contradictory at first, but it functions without a problem through the technique of transfer printing. The solution: the desired motif isn’t printed directly onto the textile but at first on a transfer foil. These foils are cut out with the help of a computer and transferred to the textile with the help of a pneumatic press. It doesn’t matter if it is on bright or dark, rough or fine textiles, linen or wool felt – it works.

Softtouch Coating

Ultra Matte and Noticeably Soft

Softtouch coatings are applied to achieve a special surface feel. Depending on the type of coating, it can feel velvety, rubbery, or even soft. In a partial print, the matte effect of the soft-touch coating is extremely well defined from the under surface. In the automotive sector this technology is used in the design of interior surfaces. Softtouch coatings absorb the light and in doing so subdue the underlying colours, which leads to the matte appearance. The coating is applied by silk-screen or in a special coating process. The coatings are transparent, but can also be coloured with the use of colour pigments.

Fabric Label

A little Flag on the Book Cover

You have chosen a really unusual cover material that simply cannot be embossed or printed? Well, we have the solution. A little flag that flutters on the book cover embroidered with your logo. The choice of colour, size and position are all up to you. In our opinion, the fabric label is one of the most pleasant possibilities to be recognised as the sender of the book.

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Laser Engraving

Motifs that appear through Ablation

Unlike the laser cut, with a laser engraving only the top layer of the material in a μ-area is removed. The engraving appears very subtlety, tone-in-tone and yet still brings out the best of delicate motifs. Whether for texts, silhouettes, emblems, patterns or ornaments, detailed motifs can be depicted in razor sharp quality when using a laser engraving. But every cover material reacts differently to the heat or burning caused by the laser. As a rule, the engraved places appear brighter on darker material and on lighter material they appear darker. If you choose a stainless steel clip as a book closure, then, in any case, you should consider a laser engraving. Especially with rather unobtrusive book covers, a clip finished with a logo or customer name can be very effective.

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Textile Finishing Processes in Book Production

Try for a moment not to think about team tricots or baseball caps. Embroidered notebook covers are actually really a rarity – which is really too bad. Individually embroidered books have a fantastic feel and allow every logo that is not too detailed to have a haptic presence. Because fabric and textiles have diverse structures, a test phase cannot be avoided before we are able to produce your books. So far it has always been worth it.

Laser Cut

Provides interesting Perspectives

A good alternative to stamping is the laser cut – a digitally controlled cutting technique. Compared to stamping, the laser cut is able to realise considerably more delicate motifs, stencil lettering or even grid images. But even more complex, large surface motifs can be cut out of paper or thin cardboard. This type of cover becomes exciting through the interaction of the underlying endleaves that can be printed in colour over a full-surface or with a motif. Good to know: with every additional cut, the stability of the cover decreases. Traces of powder that occur when lasering can be prevented or can be applied deliberately as an effect. Please contact us for detailed information, if you want your motif to be realised with a laser cut.

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Sand Coating

The Rough Side of Print Finishing

Good that it doesn’t always have to be velvety, silky and soft to the touch: nail files, sand dunes, anti-skid coating and dirt tracks are all on our list of themes. A grainy structural method in printed coatings ensures a rough surface on the book cover and can be partially applied to the desired places. The coating is, as a rule, transparent but it can also be coloured. Alternative: an upholstery fabric with a micro fine sandy surface.


Velvet and Diligence

One usually knows flocking from sport textiles. A soft, velvety surface based on viscose fibres that are partially applied. Flocking can even be put to use on book covers and jacket covers. However, the line between kitschy and cool is really small. The use of flock on, for example, reflecting cover materials is exciting. The specific materiality of the flocking and the extraordinary depth effect ensures maximum stimulation. Flocking is suitable for almost every type of material as well as printed paper, but also most of our cover materials. The motif best used for flocking? Typo, simple patterns and monochromatic motifs.

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Relief Embossing

Sculptural Motifs and Patterns

A relief embossing is a sculptural deformation of the paper with a variety of debossing heights and levels. Lines, lettering, objects and ornamentation can be highlighted three-dimensionally and resulting in a very special surface texture effect. In accordance with the motif, a hollow space is created on the inside of the cover by the multi-staged high embossing. Especially suitable for relief embossing are envelopes out of thin paper or cardboard up to 400g/m2. In case someone asks you: the relief embossing is named after Gaufrieren.


Foil Lamination with Reflective Effects

Special Foils for the Mirror-Look

Reflective foil laminated on a cover – cool. Cooler yet: mirror foil, printed in an offset process. Book covers can be laminated with a metallized special foil and partially printed over. A simple example is a reflective surface. To achieve this effect, a corresponding reflecting foil must be laminated onto a substrate that will later be processed into a book cover. The lamination foil has a thickness between 12 and 30 μm. But be careful: the intensity of the reflective effect of a lamination foil largely depends on the substrate. If you want to be on the safe side: have a look at our innovative materials. By choosing the perfect cover material, a mega high-gloss mirror-effect is guaranteed. These materials can also be further processed through embossing or a silk-screening.

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Cold Foil Transfer

Producing Metallic Colours

The cold foil is a metallic, mostly silver shiny foil that is applied partially or full-surface with an offset plate and glue and acts as an additional colour. The possibility to print with four-colours or to overprint with a special colour produces completely new metallic colour tones. Out of experience, we know that a silver cold foil can be transformed into a gold colour by overprinting it with a yellow tone. Colours are, so to speak, “metallized“, even metallic colour gradients are possible and unproblematic. Due to the high resolution in offset printing, highly precise patterns, the finest grid elements or letterings can be depicted.

Metallic Book Edges

Gold Edges, Silver Edges & Co.

This type of decoration for book edges has been used for centuries to protect the book block from dust and staining. Bibles, hymnbooks, encyclopedias or first editions have been finished with gold edges partially in combination with a hallmarking or a type of embossing. Today, there is a wide range of different metal foils from copper to metallic blue, violet and red tones that can be applied to book blocks. As each of the three pages of a book block requires an extra work process and produces therefore extra costs, the foil can also just be applied to the top edge on the front side that is particularly stressed or used a lot. Currently, this type of book cut is once again very popular, especially among designers. The effect of this metallic book cut in combination with a modern design seems anything but out-dated. Metallic foils are available in 42 colours – in addition, the metallic of gold, silver, bronze and copper tones are available in different matte, shiny and colour variations.


Multi-Coloured Book Edges

The Book Edge as a Design Surface

For those who want to include the book block edges into the design of the book – for example “wrapping” a motif completely around the book, we can offer them a very special four-coloured inkjet printing process. In three work steps, a specially developed machine prints each page of the book edges. In this way, objects are developed such as our nuuna graphic books or notebooks that we had the pleasure to produce for the MoMA San Francisco.

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Fluorescent Colours

Pantone 800+

Neon is back! Or was it gone at all? The luminance in printing is especially powerful with Pantone Neon colours 801 to 807. To achieve the ideal colour effect, printing twice might be necessary. But we are sure that the efforts will definitely be worth it!

Iriodin Coating

How does One Print Metallic Blue?

Iriodin coating contains transparent, silver white shiny pigments with a white brilliance that is characteristic of pearls and mother-of-pearls. That is why it is called pearl shine pigment. The basic substance of the effect pigment is a naturally occurring mineral glimmer that is ground and mixed with the print coating as a colourless powder. The thicker the pigment layer is, the greater the changeability or iridescent effect and the more intense the pigment concentration of the iriodins. With the high number of the most different pigments and the possible combinations with pantone or CMYK colours, the design opportunities are endless.

Secret Special Effects

Fancy Layouts

Some effects don’t need complex technique and are all the same impressing. Please feel free to contact us so we can show you possibilities to achieve extraordinary results with little efforts.

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Button on the Cover

3D-Domings always consist of two components: a substrate material that is printed with one or more coloured motifs before it is sealed with a synthetic resin coating and thereby obtaining the glossy 3D-effect. The doming is affixed to the cover by means of an adhesive surface. Normally, the surface below the adhesive gel label is initially deep embossed, so that the logo-doming can be embedded with a perfect fit into the book cover. Motifs with simple geometric outer contours such as circles or squares are ideal. Themes such as technology, sportswear and automobile are suitable. Good to know: domings can also be created with more complex outer forms up to format-filling graphics. Please contact us, if you have any ideas about this.

Lenticular (Shifting Image)

Moving Images on the Cover

For those that want to move something, they should consider this technique for the cover design. Through a lenticular printing image movement and motion sequence are able to be shown. Depending on the incidental light and handling of the viewer, when he moves the book back and forth, left and right, the most diverse motifs will appear. The lenticular foil can, for example, be laminated full-surface on the book title or be embedded and custom-fit in a predetermined, debossed place on the book cover. Whatever effect your lenticular image should have, you can determine it yourself: tilt-effect, zoom-effect, morphing, 3D-images or animation in up to 19 phases are possible. The idea is crucial: before and after effects, film sequences or a metamorphosis are fitting themes for a shifting image on the cover.

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Thermo Coating

Magical Mystery: Upon Contact an Image appears

What happens here? Through touch or rubbing, a warming effect, the colour on the cover disappears and the underlying motif appears. What before seems to be a black surface, acts as a curtain in a theatre: the dark thermo reactive colour becomes transparent thereby revealing the printed motif underneath. The effect can be repeated any number of times, because when the coating cools off the temperature-colour covers up the underlying motif up again. A tip from the experts: the thermo-chromatic colour be adjusted or set to a certain temperature; we recommend 27°C. Application ideas: a Polaroid image develops itself, books with themes such as weather and temperature, holidays and summer sun, censored/uncensored, etc.

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Luminous Colours

Glow-in-the-Dark Effect

With luminous or glow-in-the-dark colours, motifs literally glow in the dark. How does that happen? Afterglow effects are applied with a green-yellow or bluish phosphorescent coating in a silk-screen process. Similar to a battery, these phosphorescent colours save incidental light as energy and emit it again in the dark. The phosphorescent effect can last up to 30 minutes and depends upon the strength of the application and the amount of pigmentation. “Recharging” which is responsible for the intensity of the illumination is also important to the radiance of the luminous colour. Artificial light can function just as well as daylight as a recharger. This is ideal for everyone who wants to note down nightly flashes of inspiration or lamp and lighting manufacturers (light on – off) or outdoor companies (books don’t even get lost in the darkness of tents).

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Slate Coating

Our Recommendation of the Day

A book cover that is printed with slate colour, can be written on and washed-off again. Which motifs are better suited than a restaurant menu, a film clapperboard or a double fold-out school slate with white graphic lines? Slate coatings are available in matte anthracite and deep dark green colours. They can be realised brilliantly in silk-screen and are actually water-proof. The cover of the notebooks, sketchbooks or film diaries can be written on and labelled with fine chalk or white pencils. brandbook was happy to produce a sketchbook in film clapperboard optic for the Zurich Film Festival. The project was a success – It’s a wrap, on to the next one!

Aroma Coating

Smells like orange

In a notebook for a motorsport event, the use of an aroma coating can make sense: it smells like motor oil. For a Spanish tourist agency, we produced books that give off an orange aroma when opened. An aroma coating on book covers wake emotions, memories or can be surprising. The technology is simple: aroma coatings contain microcapsules of aroma oils, the effects of which can only unfold when rubbed by one’s finger. These coatings are usually applied in a classical silk-screen process, less seldom in offset printing. As only a small number of aroma capsules are destroyed by every rubbing, the effect can be repeated many times. There is a large palette of standard aromas available, but for those who would prefer something more exclusive and can plan in somewhat more time and budget, they can create their own, completely individual aroma and have it encapsulated.

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Glitter Coating


The glitter coating is the indisputable star among the coating effects: the sparkling particles can be partially applied to the book cover and reflect the light depending on the colour, amount and size. Silver, gold, multi-coloured and iris glitter are mainly used. In order to achieve a certain thickness to the coatings and an even application of the particles, the glitter coating is applied in a silk-screen process. The more delicate the motif, the finer the glitter particles should be. The effect of the glitter coating depends upon the coloured substrate of the cover: on a brighter surface the particles appear as dark spots, on a dark surface they appear as bright spots.

Rub-Off Coating

Yes, the effect isn´t new, an old hat: standardly used for lottery tickets or mailings with sweepstakes, rub-off coatings can´t arise much attention. Time for a change! What about partially covering the cover of your notebooks with the matt-silverish varnish and letting every one of your clients reveal his very own unique copy by rubbing off the surface? The Grafic Design Magazine novum used this effect and caused great attention. There are a few technical aspects that should be considered: User-friendly easy removability is reached rather by silk screen printing than by offset printing. Rub-off varnish is very susceptible to damages, so safe packaging is a must. After printing, the rub-off coating is usable for approximately one year.

UV-Sensitive Colours

Magic? When the Sun shines, an Image appears

In the sun an image appears practically out of nothing. What happens here? A printed image, for example, a 4-colour offset print is printed with a uv-sensitive colour – which is optically similar to a white cover colour. In direct sunlight, the colour becomes transparent and reveals the underlying motif. The photo chromatic print can be applied to the full surface, screened or only partially. Also only individual parts of images can be covered up and the effect can be repeated any number of times A few application ideas: a snowy landscape transforms into sun, beach and ocean or a secret scripture appears from nowhere, sun lotion on holidays, etc.

Holographic Foil Lamination and Diffraction Foils

Real Eye Catchers

Effect foils are used when the desired effect cannot be obtained with conventional printing processes. Optical effect foils are real eye catchers with, for example, holographic or metallic mirrored effects. It doesn’t have to be kitschy or look like cosmetic packaging. When used correctly, these foils can give books a wonderful effect. A side effect of the foil lamination is a higher mechanical stability and resilience of the book cover when compared with printed covers. It is also important to mention that the foil lamination sheet can also be printed in a silk-screen or an offset process. The selection of special effect foils, also called diffraction foils, is surprisingly large and is always a highlight, even for bookbinders: metal-effects, carbon-effects, hologram-effects, mirrored-effects, gloss and glitter-effects are exciting. They have very promising foil names such as Confetti, Galactic, Ocean, Crystal, Arrows, Magma or Crosslight.

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Holographic Book Edges

A Book Block made of Glass?

One always recognises a book by the white pages of the book block. Just imagine that these pages look like a glass surface or a mirror. That way, a book very quickly becomes an unusual object. A transfer foil that is mechanically transferred onto the three open sides of the book block makes this possible. On rounded book corners, the foil has to be applied in a second round on the corner radius. (Attention: this doesn’t function with patterned foils). Holographic foils are available with patterns, 3D-effect or simply as a surface with diffuse reflecting characteristics. The latter has especially impressed us as they produce a subtle depth-effect and beautiful colour reflections. Here is a selection of our favorite holographic foils for the book cut decoration.

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