Frankly Speaking: 9 Ideas for Making Print Pop
In the 1980s, many mass market paperback books were published with multiple cover "versions" using different colors. These were not different versions of the entire book cover; they were the same books with the same imagery on the cover, but with different dominant colors. Red, gold and blue were common, and the decision was not capricious; the objective was to attract potential buyers based on their color preferences. At the same time, embossing and even foil stamping also were used to enhance the "curb appeal" (to borrow a real-estate term) of the printed book.
These were the days when books had to catch your attention at the bookstore. They had to beckon you silently. They had to be visually interesting—even striking. Ink alone was not enough.
There is more to printing than just ink on paper. While all printing companies claim to be "quality" printing companies, it's hard to tell exactly what level of "quality" they're printing. If you review most of the winners of printing competitions, you will find that the winning pieces usually involved a finishing element.
Finishing adds cost, but it also adds value. As print fights for its place in a digital world, we must find ways to make print more interesting and attractive. Print has a tactile advantage over books on screens: Print moves you without moving.
Some finishing techniques include:
Spot and flood UV (ultraviolet) and other coatings are now commonplace. Coatings provide a feeling of richness. Most offset presses have a coating unit inline. An optional fifth print station on the Xerox 800/1000 for clear dry ink expands the creative capabilities and impact of prints with the addition of clear effects (spot and addressable). Digital printers/presses from Kodak have coating built-in, and others have near-line coating. MGI has a stand-alone digital coating system. Matte or gloss coatings instantly add value to a printed sheet. Lamination is also a form of coating. The application of UV coatings to both enhance and protect a press sheet has become very popular in recent years. The dazzling sheen of a coated printed piece justifies the relative low cost of this operation. UV gloss coating is the most used additional feature of today's book covers.