Between the Pages Edu Series: Metallic Foiling & Spotgloss

2 weeks ago by

We popped by our Friends at Bookprint to see how they make and print books right here in Aotearoa NZ. In this week’s series, David shares with us some different examples of how you can use metallic foiling and spotgloss in your cover designs.

Hot foiling is a great way to embellish book covers for extra attention, or for special effects. Here are a few points to help with selecting effective usage and specification:

  • Resolution – when preparing artwork note that hot foiling has a thickness limit of about 0.2mm – artwork content thinner than this will likely not show.
  • Artwork – The artwork for the printer will need the page to be printed without the foiling showing in any way, and another copy of the same page with the foiling material shown as say 100 Magenta, and 100 Black artwork for the foiled material in vector or high resolution. 
  • Coverage – Hot foiling across the book hinge area and around the spine is not recommended, but can be applied to the front cover, down the spine surface, and on the back cover too if required.
  • Surface – a gloss foil applied to a scuff resistant matt laminate works well. (gloss silver only works with gloss lam)
  • Availability – there are a wide range of foils available in metallic and non metallic, fluorescent colours such as yellow and pink etc, and also holographic detail for security foiling. 
  • Registration – if the book covers are being printed digitally, the registration of the foil to the printed design needs to allow for some possible movement of the covers in the batch.  If the covers are being offset printed, then tighter tolerance is available.
  • Economic –  Hot foiling requires the manufacture of an alloy foiling plate with the areas to be foiled elevated on its surface.  So foiling cost is related to surface area being covered by the foiling.  Foiling detail close to the full perimeter of a book front cover for instance is significantly more expensive than foiling the typical title letters. 
  • Proof – foiling work is typically carried out without seeing a printed proof first.  This is because the alloy block needs to be made and the foiling job runup just to make a proof, and this is much of the cost of the overall foiling job.  Clients typically look at other foiled work by the printer to see the expected effect. 

Spot Gloss is another way to enhance book covers, or for special effects. Here are a few points to help with selecting effective usage and specification:

  • Resolution – when preparing artwork note that hot foiling has a thickness limit of about 0.2mm – artwork content thinner than this will likely not show.
  • Artwork – The artwork for the printer will need the page to be printed without the spot gloss showing in any way, and another copy of the same page with the spot gloss shown as say 100 Magenta, and 100 Black artwork for the spot gloss in vector or high resolution. 
  • Coverage – spot gloss can be used anywhere across the book front, spine and back cover.
  • Surface – a spot gloss applied to a scuff-resistant matt laminate works well.  Spot Gloss can be used without print underneath for a subtle graphic or text effect on either black or white background, or with light through heavy print underneath
  • Availability – spot gloss comes in a standard thickness, or a high build which should not be used over hinges or around spine edges.  A digital spot gloss is also available with its own set of requirements. 
  • Registration – if the book covers are being printed digitally, the registration of the spot gloss to the printed design needs to allow for some possible movement of the covers in the batch.  If the covers are being offset printed, then tighter tolerance is available.
  • Economic –  Hot foiling requires a photographic master sheet to be made which is always full size.  Cost is not dependent on how much of the book covers’ face is covered, but note that the more surface covered the more difficult it is to achieve precise alignment. 
  • Proof – spot gloss work is typically carried out without seeing a printed proof first.  This is because the photographic master sheet needs to be made and the spot gloss runup just to make a proof, and this is much of the cost of the overall spot gloss job.  Clients typically look at other foiled work by the printer to see the expected effect. 

In summary:

  • Metallic foiling
    • Adds a pop to your cover design and can be done in almost any colour
    • Has a limit to how fine the detail can be so you’ll want to check whether it’s suitable for your design.
    • Unlike spotgloss, the more foiling coverage used in the design the more it increases the overall cost of the book.
  • Spot gloss
    • Adds a subtle highlight to either a section or your entire.
    • With spotgloss, you can cover as much or as little of the front & back page as you like and there isn’t a difference in cost.
    • Get creative on how you can incorporate this technique. One example David shares is how to create a fleeting almost ghost-like look to your cover with an example of a book done on a matte background where the lettering is applied just through the gloss.

Keen for more book printing tips?

Check out our previous articles and videos in this series:

Video: Top tips & common mistakes of setting up your book files for print.

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