Sending a book to press is a lot like putting together the perfect outfit for a big event. Every piece of the ensemble must work together and complement each other nicely, and it's the little details that make it really dynamite. If you want to be the hottest, baddest lady in the room, er, book on the shelf, think about these final touches before you head out to strut your stuff:
Headbands (those little strips of fabric at the top and bottom of the spine): I've been accused of being a purist, and it's true that I often prefer my headbands to be solid, neutral colors and to do what they are meant to--cover the glue that holds the binding together. But sometimes it's appropriate--or just plain fun--to jazz up the headbands with stripes or an accent color.
TIP: Fancy headbands rarely cost more than white or black ones, so feel free to be adventurous.
Case Covering (paper or cloth that covers the cardboard front and back covers and spine): Neutral colors are usually best for the case covering. Black, white, creme, and blue are safe bets. Consider the colors on the cover and determine whether you want the case to match or to contrast with the jacket's dominant color.
TIP: If you plan to match the case cover with the jacket, remember to choose the case cover color first. Color options are more limited for case covers than they are for jackets, so it's easier to match a jacket to case cover than vice versa.
Endsheets (inside front cover and facing page, and the inside back cover and facing page): A paper other than white or creme for endsheets can really make a book look finished. Black endsheets immediately add gravitas, bright accent colors from the cover ensure design continuity, and embossing endsheets with texture can create a polished look. Sometimes the best option is to use the same paper for the endsheets as for the case. Printed endsheets are great if you want to match a specific color or present a unique pattern or image. Of course--here's the purist again--there are times when the perfect endsheet is white or creme—the same color as your pages.
TIP: Don't forget to consider how the jacket flaps will contrast with the endsheets.
Spine Stamp (foil stamp on the spine of the case): The spine stamp is usually the last decision a designer makes before sending a project to press. It's the extra blot of lip gloss, the last swipe of bronzer on the cheeks. Choose a foil that will contrast nicely with the chosen case covering. (My favorite case so far is white with bright magenta foil on the spine. Not appropriate for your general business book, but for girly relationship handbooks it's perfect!)
TIP: Small type that can be printed perfectly on the jacket may bleed when it's presented in a foil stamp on a textured case. If you're not sure, ask your printer.
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"Hot pink is the navy blue of India."
Color is beautiful, but she is much more than mere decoration. Color communicates. If you treat her right, she can support and add impact to your book's message. Treat her wrong, and she will undermine your message and confound your audience. Do not make the mistake of choosing a color scheme solely on personal preferences--color can profoundly influence the impression your book makes on potential buyers.
Color Wheels are Useless
Most of us learned a little color theory in school. Wavelength, primary and secondary, cool and warm, saturated or subdued. These terms are specific and informative, sure, but I'd guess they did little good when it came time to choose a wall color for your first home. Don't let color theory convince you that there are absolutes and rules to which you must adhere. In the field of graphic design, confounding expectation is the best form of innovation. Color doesn't fit purely in the realm of science or completely in the realm of art: She lives in the mysterious cultural territory between the two. To understand whether a color "works" or not, you must understand the emotion it evokes, its symbolism, and--most importantly--its context.
How Color Makes you Feel
Color affects us on a subconscious and emotional level. Certain colors have the ability to raise blood pressure, speed up breathing, and increase pulse rate and adrenaline. Our visceral reaction to various shades can even be measured by Galvanic skin response. Reds, oranges, and yellows have been shown to promote appetite, since they tend to be positively associated with food. Not coincidentally, most chain restaurants use these colors for their logos, signage, and décor. Greens have a calming effect, which is why concert halls and theaters have "green rooms" to relax performers before showtime. For a fun, animated look at mood and color, check out this site by graphic designer Maria Claudia Cortes.
More Than Meets the Eye
Colors also have symbolic meaning. Culturally-rooted color associations can vary widely from country to country, or even region to region. In American culture, white signifies the concepts of peace and purity. In China, however, white plays a very different role as the traditional color of mourning. We often don't realize the deep messages basic colors communicate to us on a daily basis, and how much certain connections have been ingrained in us. Diana Vreeland, fashion columnist and longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue, is famous for noting that even the neutrality of colors is a cultural construct. And there are many distinct cultures--youth culture, corporate culture, gender culture, professional culture--each of which abides by its own constructed color symbolism. This table from Grantastic Designs illustrates the concepts colors convey in company websites and is a good example of how context can drastically alter a color's meaning. (Not a lot of positive color associations in the medical field...)
|Red||Loss||Hot, danger||Danger, emergency OR healthy, oxygenated|
|Yellow||Important, substantial||Caution, warning||Jaundice|
|Blue||Reliable, corporate||Water, cold, cool||Death, poison|
|Cyan||Cool, subdued||Steam||Poison, lack of oxygen<|
So... What Color Should My Book Be?
When choosing a color scheme, you and your designer must consider the target audience of your book, the mood you want to evoke, and the symbols that best connect to your book's content. Then capitalize on the power of color to send your audience cues about how perfect this book is for them. The covers below show how color, paired with compatible symbolism, serve as emotional triggers and help support a book's primary message.
The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval
Target Audience: general business readers
Symbolism: the happy face
Predominant Color Scheme: canary yellow
Dying Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me by William Hablitzel
Target Audience: self-help/inspirational, gender neutral
Mood: hopeful, peaceful, introspective, tranquil, spiritual
Symbolism: cycle of life, death and rebirth
Predominant Color Scheme: pale green and yellow
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Target Audience: general fiction readers, predominantly female, parents of children with Down syndrome, book club members
Mood: somber, nostalgic, distant, detached
Symbolism: x-ray imagery, memory, regret
Predominant Color Scheme: black with ghostly blues
Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin
Target Audience: corporate managers, gender neutral
Mood: upbeat, fun, child-like, playful
Symbolism: childhood, simplicity, water
Predominant Color Scheme: white with bright orange, yellow, and blue
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The color experts at Pantone, the company that defines and provides exact colors to the world of visual art, just named Pantone 19-1557, Chili Pepper, as the Color of the Year for 2007—according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Whether expressing danger, celebration, love, or passion, red will not be ignored.” Now that’s the kind of attitude I like to see in a color.
How do Pantone's experts choose the perfect shades for the coming season?
They scope out the hottest designs at Fashion Week, of course. To find out what the color trends for 2007 will be, check out Pantone’s Fashion Color Report (I’m truly in love with 12-1206 Silver Peony, and I think I NEED a tote in 19-2924 Hollyhock). Is it just me, or do the colors from Fall 2006 already look so six months ago?
The reason Pantone gets to forecast color trends is that its matching system is vital to designers, printers, and coloristas worldwide. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) ensures that the colors we choose for printed pieces are the same colors that come off press. Pantone has been the color authority for decades, and recently the matching system has moved off the page.
I’m talking about Pantone Paints and Interiors, a partnership between Pantone and Fine Paints of Europe. Now you can paint your bedroom in your favorite Pantone color. Their Pantone Universe signature is specifically for consumer products not related to the graphics or printing industries, like notebooks and handbags.
Pantone just keeps getting more fun. What does your birthday color say about you? Find out at www.colorstrology.com. (Personally, I’m an artist, communicator, and storyteller—you know, all that good stuff.)
Maybe it’s because I do this for a living. Maybe it’s because I want things in real life to look as bright and vibrant as they do in my head. Maybe I just love color. But whatever the reason, I’m sold. For 2007, color me PMS 19-1557.
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"It’s all pounds, shillings, and pence to me, darling." —Absolutely Fabulous
Just like most industries, book publishing has its own peculiar jargon—a language that may be confusing to first-time authors. To minimize confusion and miscommunication during your book’s production, here's a list of some of the more common terms you might come across:
- Back matter: The text that occurs after the last chapter in the book (or the main body of text). Back matter often comprises such parts as the index, endnotes, author biography, bibliography, etc. The pages are numbered with Arabic numerals.
- CIP: Cataloging in Publication information is the bibliographic information supplied by the Library of Congress and printed on the copyright page. Librarians use this information when adding new titles to their collections.
- Galley/ARC: Often used interchangeably, these two terms refer to advance printed copies of a book that are used for review and publicity purposes before publication. (ARC stands for “Advance Readers’ Copy.”) These advance editions typically come out four months before the publication date.
- Front matter: The text that occurs before the first chapter in the book (or the main body of text). Front matter often comprises such parts as the dedication, acknowledgments, table of contents, etc. The pages are numbered with Roman numerals.
- Imprint: The company name under which your book is being published (e.g., Greenleaf Book Group Press, Penguin Classics, etc.).
- ISBN: The International Standard Book Number is a unique thirteen-digit number assigned to every book and obtained from the R. R. Bowker company. This is the number most often used to order a book or keep track of it in the supply chain.
- LCCN: The Library of Congress Control Number is the Library of Congress’s system of uniquely numbering books. Librarians use this information to access the book’s correct cataloging data.
- Trim: This is the physical dimension (measured in width and length) of your book after the printer has cut it to the desired size. Common trim sizes include 8.5 x 11, 5.5 x 8.5, and 6 x 9—in the United States, they're always measured in inches.
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Rushing a book to market without understanding all the consequences of your decision is about as bright as marrying someone you meet in Las Vegas after a fifteen-hour drinking binge. Even if the reasons behind the rush seem legitimate, beware of the beer-goggle effect—your book won’t look nearly as attractive when it comes off the press as it does in your head when you’re deciding to skip vital steps in the publication process. There are three areas where rushing will come back to haunt you with particular vengeance:
Your content has to deliver the goods. Editing isn’t just about making sure your book is free of typos and grammatical errors—it’s the part of the process that focuses on sharpening the reading experience for your customers. If you don’t invest the time and money to have experienced book editors work with your book, success in this industry will be an uphill battle. Don’t try to justify your rush by duping yourself into believing that you can save time-consuming editorial work for the second edition or the next printing. Crappy books don’t go into multiple print runs or second editions. It’s like not showering before a first date and thinking that you can always wash up for the second date—unless you’re meeting the Vegas drunk from the scenario above, there’s no way you’re getting the second date, stinky. It’s worth the delay in your book launch to work with an editor who can help you develop a rock-solid title, unique hooks, a smart structure, and a compelling voice. If you rush the editorial process, you’ll compromise the integrity of your work for short-term gains. Is a goal like having books in time for one event really worth that?
Design and Printing
While powerful marketing, a strong author platform, and compelling content are essential for a book to succeed, production quality is equally important. And yet there are countless articles that downplay the importance of quality, often making the obtuse argument that anyone with Photoshop or InDesign can throw a book together in no time, or that the difference between top quality and bottom quality is negligible due to advances in technology. Both assertions are appalling fallacies. The quality of your design and printing determines what kind of first impression your book will make. Retail buyers, book reviewers, and consumer make gut decisions based on this first impression, so while good quality costs money and takes time, this is not an area in which it is okay to be either cheap or hasty.
Sales and Publicity
Sometimes, we’re at the mercy of others. Pitching your book to retail buyers and media outlets is one of those times. If you want to sell your books in bookstores or other trade outlets like Costco and Wal-Mart, know that it takes almost twelve months to get your books ready for distribution. This time is spent setting up the title in wholesale and retail systems, presenting to buyers, and preparing the logistics for an on-time launch. And there’s similar time sensitivity inherent in a proper publicity campaign. You only have one book launch, and if you don’t get advance review copies to reviewers at least four months prior to publication, your print campaign has virtually no shot at success.
Deciding to produce a book on an abbreviated timeframe may be possible from a purely logistical standpoint, but you shouldn’t rush your book launch unless you’re prepared to have a product that isn’t set up to reach its full potential. So take a breath and slow down. The book of your dreams will wait for you. If you follow the rules and wait too, the launch will be much more special. If you know what I mean.
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Images can add a lot to a book, or any printed material. But if you want to jazz up your pages with graphics (figures, drawings, cartoons, illustrations, etc.) and you’re printing professionally, you’ll need these tips:
All images destined for print must be high resolution, which is to say 300 pixels per inch (ppi, sometimes also called dpi) or greater. Sometimes people try to fake the size of an image—an image is not high resolution if it was originally low resolution and then resized to force the resolution to 300 ppi, or if the resolution was simply changed. Using either technique does not improve the quality of the image and may make it worse. If you print a low-resolution image, the difference will show.
The most widely accepted kinds of digital image files are:
- .psd (Adobe Photoshop native file)
- .pdf (Adobe Acrobat file)
- .ai (Adobe Illustrator native file)
Here are some popular stock image sources:
- www.shutterstock.com (a subscription stock house)
- www.gettyimages.com (also sells news, sports, and historical photos)
- www.veer.com (also has hip and interesting illustrations)
Obtaining Image Rights
Images are copyrighted, just like any other form of intellectual property. You can’t use an image unless you get permission. Make sure you have the proper permission and the image will look right when it’s printed with the following guidelines.
- Don’t use images downloaded from websites. Not only will they probably be low-res, you don’t have the right to use them. If you have found the perfect image online, try to contact the owner and get permission to use it. (Your lawyer and publisher will probably require that the release be in writing!) Also, don’t forget to ask for the high-resolution version.
- Don’t scan images from other publications without getting the rights to use the images from the copyright holders. This can cause big headaches.
- If an image is in the public domain (such as images from government publications), you can use the image without getting permission, but you must credit the original source of the image in a source line.
- Once you purchase a “royalty free” photo, you can pretty much do whatever you want with it. “Rights managed” photos are another animal. Not only are they significantly more expensive to purchase, they often come with strict usage rules and restrictions. Make sure to notice which category your candidates belong to while you are shopping. Falling in love with a $2,000 image can leave you brokenhearted, or just broke.
- Provide your publisher with all the information you received regarding use of the photo when you obtained permission.
- If you own images that only exist in hardcopy and are scanning them before submission, it is critical that the images be scanned in at 1200 dpi. If you are unsure of your scanning capabilities, submit the original hard copy to your publisher and they will scan it in.
Creating Original Images
If you are creating original images (vector or raster images) using imaging software, it is important that you provide:
- the original native editable file (fonts NOT outlined, layers NOT flattened)
- all supporting files, including fonts and linked or embedded images
- a high-resolution flattened version of the image with fonts outlined (for example, an .eps or .tiff file)
- a printout of each image submitted with your manuscript
- a document that explains the format of the images provided, the software and version used to create the images, and the operating system.
Image Credits and Source Lines
It is important that any image you obtain the right to use is appropriately credited or sourced in the book. One way to do this is to include a credits section at the back of the book listing the images by page and the corresponding credit information. Another possible method is including a source line for each image near the presentation of the image in the text (for example, a line just below a graph). When you obtain the rights to use an image, the rights holder will tell you how to credit the image.
With these guidelines, you’ll end up with beautiful printed images—and a printer and publisher that love you. Happy hunting!
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According to a federal judge, the U.S. Treasury Department is breaking the law by failing to design and distribute currency that helps the blind and visually impaired distinguish denominations.
It is odd to me that this oops is just now coming up. Currency designers did it right with coins: I can feel the difference between a dime, nickel, penny, and quarter, and when I'm fishing for laundry money, any coin that's not large and ridged just won't do. An obvious solution to this ancient oversight is to create paper money of different sizes according to denomination.
Ah, hindsight . . .
Reconciling art with logistics is an issue that comes up often for designers. We are focused on the idea, the creative concept behind the project—whether it's a book cover, a marketing campaign, or an island wrapped in plastic. Part of our reality is inside Photoshop (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that CS3 will have the ability to make REAL breakfast tacos).
That can cause problems when it's time to carry out the design in the real world. The last thing on my mind when I'm running with a new idea is what the shipping will cost, or if the holiday card with the eye-catching trim size will fit inside the box it's supposed to be mailed in. This isn't always a bad thing. It allows for unimpeded creativity. But the shape of things is important, and so is coming up for air near the beginning of the design process to make sure that all of your great ideas will work in real life.
Real life also has a habit of introducing new hiccups to work around. Beginning in spring 2007, there will be a 3-cent price hike on first-class stamps and the shape of your mail will have a bigger impact on the cost of shipping. If you're designing an oversized, butterfly-shaped invitation for a garden party, remember, if it's not “machinable” (it can't be sorted automatically) it may cost more to mail. Make sure to think about shape—and everything it can affect—early in the project, so you don't have to cut corners later.
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Who Moved My Cheese?, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Chicken Soup for the Soul—their covers make self-respecting graphic designers cringe, yet they have astronomical sales. It’s common sense that attractive covers invite book shoppers and ugly covers repel them— so why do these unsightly titles consistently outsell their better-looking shelfmates? (And why do their creators keep producing similar-looking books?)
The simple answer is that, in a hypercompetitive, overcrowded market, branding trumps beauty.
What Is a Branded Book?
What exactly is a “branded” book? Well, a successful brand must be
- easily recognizable,
- and distinct from its competition.
But branding is more than a look based on a typeface, a color combination, or a trim size. These are merely symbols of a solid brand. In essence, branding is a perception. A branded book is perceived as having something special that nothing else can offer. When someone who knows the Chicken Soup brand walks into a bookstore to purchase an inspirational book for her teenager, she doesn't say, "Can you tell me where I might find an inspirational book for my teenager?" She says, "Do you have a Chicken Soup book for teenagers?"
A brand is an implied promise to the consumer that they'll consistently receive a particular experience. This is why publishers don't like authors to change their writing styles or cover designs too much, because change might upset the consumer who feels that the author’s brand hasn't delivered. This is especially true for nonfiction and genre fiction. Think of Sue Grafton’s A Is for Alibi series—even if you only saw R Is for Ricochet, you’d immediately know B through Q were also available, all with the same suspense trademarks. And you’d know what you’d expect them to look like.
A consistent look tells the consumer that your new book has the same or more merit than your previous book. But that still leaves us with the question of why so many successfully branded books look so bad.
How Ugly Books Are Born
The typical scenario goes like this: Author writes book. Book becomes huge seller. Book goes into reprint many, many times, keeping the same cover for recognizability’s sake. Author writes second book. To capitalize on the success of her first book, she and her designer develop a similar cover. By this time, trends have changed, and the original cover and title are out of date.
But that doesn’t really matter. Or, more accurately, it doesn’t matter as much as the brand equity the first book has gained over the ensuing years. The look and title may not be attractive by the day’s standards, but they are familiar and capitalize on consumer loyalty. The publishers aren’t relying on the cover to attract a consumer—they’re using it to remind the consumer.
That’s why so many “ugly” books are installments in powerful, consistent series—because the customer remembers and recommends the first book and associates it with the following books. If the first book doesn’t build a significant base, the design is much less likely to be repeated, and there’s little danger of it going out of date.
Why Their Brands Won’t Work for You
Many people see the ways brands work for well-known series and decide that’s the look they want for their books, too. But your book’s content is original, and it deserves a cover tailor-made to market its unique message. Imitation is not branding. Nor is it a sound strategy for marketing a book in an overcrowded industry. A copycat cover may do more harm than good by making a book indistinguishable from its competition.
Do what the bestsellers did: Take a great book, give it a unique look, and never disappoint your customers. Take the lead and soon enough others will want to copy you.
How to Brand Your Book
STEP 1: Create a great product.
STEP 2: Figure out what makes your brand unique and stick to it.
STEP 3: Be consistent in marketing your brand. All aspects of your brand need to communicate one core message. Your book’s content and visuals need to back that message up.
STEP 4: Deliver on the brand. Consumers are fickle. If you disappoint them, you'll lose them. Whatever your brand image, make sure that it signifies quality.
STEP 5: Continue to evaluate, build, and refine your brand. The only way you'll know you're doing it right is by the success you achieve. Trends come and go. Amend your look only when what you have in the bookstore is inconsistent with your brand.
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Remember what it was like when you had to have your picture taken for the school yearbook? Did you get nervous? Wear dorky clothes? Panic and blink at the wrong moment? What if the whole world was going to see your yearbook photo? Well, that’s kind of what it’s like when you’re putting an author photo in your book. Except now, you’re completely in control.
Here are the three things to remember to get a photo that stops traffic:
1. Leave photography to the pros and schedule a professional photo shoot. Amateur photos—and trust me, you can tell—make the book and the author look sloppy and may hurt your credibility. If you ask around, chances are good you can get a recommendation for an excellent photographer at a reasonable price. Some photographers will take the time to get to know you and photograph you in your environment, or in a way that brings out subtleties in your personality. The lighting, color, and composition also make a big difference.
2. Use a current photo. You don't want your readers to be shocked if they show up to a book signing and find out what you really look like. Older photos also tend to look dated. If you’re wearing a piano key necktie in your photo, you will make your readers wonder if anything you have to say is timely or relevant. If you still wear piano key neckties, you may want to ask for a few honest opinions on hair, clothes, and presentation before heading to the studio.
3. Match the tone of your photo to the tone of your book. If your book is a tragic love story, no jazz hands in the author photo. If you’ve written an anthology of jokes, try not to cry while they’re taking your picture.
On the other hand, you do not need to prove you know what you’re doing by displaying an image in the back of your cookbook of you smiling in front of a wok. Likewise, for the business genre, a photo of the author sitting at a desk, at a computer, or leading a meeting is not appropriate. Everyone sits at desks and uses computers these days. In this situation, a simple, professional head shot is best. Let the pages of your book prove your skill.
Now that you’ve got a great photo, make sure it looks great in print. A high-resolution digital file is the preferred method of file submission. If you only have a physical copy of your photo, make sure it is fairly large and of very high quality. It is best to submit a color photo. Your designer can convert it to black and white or duotone if you so desire, but it is very difficult to add color to a grayscale image.
As for where the picture goes, author photos are very rarely appropriate on the cover of your book. Unless you are a celebrity, putting your face on your cover will not increase sales. For hardcovers, author photos should go on the inside back flap along with the bio. On paperbacks it is acceptable on the back cover or on the last page of text.
Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll have a photo—and a book—you wouldn’t mind your mom giving to all your relatives. Say cheese!
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You turn and look, and there she is—beautiful, mysterious, seductive in the midst of her drab sisters. Your breath catches in your throat. More than anything, you want to pick her up—caress the soft, smooth texture of the cover, trace the line of the emboss, smell that new-paper perfume. The outlines of the die-cut are a little rough to touch, teasing you with a glimpse of the case beneath her dust jacket. Before you know it, you’re lost in her flap copy, still stroking the silken front cover as you fall deeper and deeper under her spell.
It’s called Feel Appeal—the textures, colors, and effects that make you want to touch what you see. A book with strong feel appeal gets noticed, admired—and taken home, far more often than her plain siblings. A bookstore browser looks at a book’s cover for only a few seconds, but if that cover entices a reader to pick the book up, it’s far more likely to go home with him tonight. Feel Appeal is a powerful allure—if a book looks interesting to touch, it’s going to be picked up.
The Feel Appeal Index measures four categories of a book’s attractiveness and rates its overall seductive qualities—a perfect 10 on the FAI is that beauty in the first paragraph; a 1 is a piece of dirty Xerox paper on the floor. What does the FAI measure?
The trim, the spine, the weight, the shape—an uncommon figure catches more attention in a crowd or on a shelf. Some books increase their Feel Appeal with a smaller trim size—5 x 7 is shorter, smaller, thicker than you’d expect, petite, compact, intriguing. But even 9.5 or 10 x 6 presents a significantly different silhouette than the typical 9 x 6—taller, slimmer-seeming, exotic. Even in a line spine-out on a bookshelf, an unusual trim size breaks the line of the ordinary, expected 5 x 8’s and 9 x 6’s to present something different—maybe something extraordinary.
2. Visual texture
Shiny metallics and foils gleam in the pale fluorescent light and add flash and sizzle to the shelf. Elkote and spot varnish make slick reflective surfaces to contrast with soft, sophisticated mattes. Every so often, you even see a book that’s not afraid to show off a lot of bling, like ink on foil or glitter. If it’s classy, it’s hot.
3. Tactile texture
The ultimate touch appeal is texture you can feel—rough Rainbow paper; soft ribbed cotton blends; smooth, cool linens. Little ridges of embossing, valleys of debossing. Die-cut shapes, the cut edge of the paper palpable and some small piece of the unseen case visible beneath, like peeking through a keyhole. When a book's design incorporates these elements, it’s flirting with every customer in the store.
You can’t feel color. But a luscious, vivid red, a wicked, mischievious green, or a rich, serene blue can capture the eyes with the sort of siren beauty that lures the hands to follow. Color emphasizes the book’s other feel appeal attributes, giving foil stamping a background with contrast and allure, heightening the effect of a die cut or emboss, and making sure no one can overlook that unusual trim size.
Of course, like any measure of attraction, the Feel Appeal Index is subjective. One reader’s Venus is another’s Medusa, but in the world of books, no one beauty rules the others. Take home as many young lovelies as you want. If you face any interrogation from a suspicious spouse, just tell the truth—you were seduced.