Using Wax-Free Inks Under Book-Cover Laminates
When you plan to coat the cover and
spine of a book with liquid laminate or film laminate, tell
your printer early. He will have to use wax-free inks to
ensure that the laminate properly adheres to the printed
Laminates Vs. UV Coatings for Book Covers
If you plan to "paint the sheet,"
that is, coat the cover of a book with heavy ink coverage,
consider requesting UV coating for cover protection. It
adheres better to solid ink coverage than a liquid or film
If, on the other hand, your cover design
involves minimal ink coverage, consider requesting a liquid
or film laminate, since laminates are more durable than
I recently asked several printers which
process is more expensive: UV coating or film lamination.
One said the following: For coating
the covers on 5,000 books it's probably a wash. For very
short run books (under 1,000) it's actually cheaper to film
laminate a book cover than varnish or aqueous coat it. Under
5,000, it's probably cheaper for film laminate. Over 5,000
it's cheaper for UV.
Another printer said UV coating is
cheaper than film or liquid laminate (approximately 30 percent
of the cost of a laminate on a run of 5,000).
From this little survey, this is what
I gleaned. Different printers have different equipment,
so not all printers can provide both coating options (either
at all, in some cases, or economically, in other cases).
The relative pricing of one or the other process also varies
depending on the quantity. To be safe, discuss cover coating
options with your print provider early in the printing process.
In addition, the previous discussion
assumes your book is perfect bound or saddle stitched (soft-cover).
Nevertheless, some hard-cover books (case-bound books) do
not have removable dust jackets loosely wrapped around binder
boards. Rather, these books have a printed, heavy paper
stock attached directly to the binder boards. These hard-cover
books can also be coated with a liquid or film laminate
or UV coating.
Picking a PMS Color for Type
Your eye perceives color within context.
If you choose a PMS color for type, your eye will respond
to the color of the type based on the color surrounding
In the simplest case, this might mean
choosing a color for type that is significantly darker than
the paper stock on which it is printed. You might choose
black or a dark blue, brown, or green, for printing on a
cream or white stock. Conversely, you might avoid printing
text in a light brown ink on a medium brown stock. The difference
in the value of the type and the surrounding paper would
not be great enough to make reading an easy and pleasurable
For the same reason, you might not
choose a blue type color for an orange (or anywhere near
orange) paper because complementary colors, such as blue
and orange, vibrate when placed side by side, minimizing
readability. This is also true of the following pairs of
colors: red and green, and yellow and purple.
All of this makes sense and seems rather
simple. What complicates matters is the degree of contrast
between the type and the surrounding paper. If, for instance,
you pick a green swatch in your PMS book for the type color
and then print it on a cream stock, the type printed in
the green color will appear lighter (as words on a page)
on the paper than the solid swatch appeared in the PMS book.
Why is this? Because the thin strokes
of the typeface take up a minimal amount of space compared
to the solid swatch of color in the PMS book. There is less
surface area of the type color surrounded by more of the
background color. This will make the words on the page appear
lighter than you had imagined and may therefore impair readability.
So what can you do about this? Personally,
I would pick a color that I think would be appropriate and
then choose a slightly darker hue of my initial color on
the same page of the PMS book. I would compensate slightly,
knowing that the hue would be different from the initial
choice but that the type would be more readable.
The exact opposite is true when picking
a color for a solid or screen. If you pick a color you like
from a PMS book, the swatch is usually about 2” wide
by ¾” high. This is very small. If you paint
an entire sheet, or a large portion of a sheet, with this
color, it will seem much darker than you had initially envisioned,
because there will be significantly more ink on your 8.5”
x 11” page than on the 2” wide by ¾”
swatch. In this case, it’s often wise to pick a slightly
lighter color than your first choice would dictate or screen
back the color to less than 100 percent.
If you want to see sample hues on many
sample backgrounds so you can be more confident of your
choices, visit a graphic design supply store and look through
the various Pantone Matching System (PMS) books (or other
graphic design books). Books of this kind display sample
type of various colors on solid and screened background
colors. In some cases, the books even show type surprinted
over halftones. It would be too expensive for your offset
printer to provide actual printed samples of your job, because
he would have to set up the press for an actual print run.
(That is, he would provide a press proof.) However, ink-jet
proofers today are usually an adequate representation of
your final printed piece, so when in doubt, proof early
[Steven Waxman is a printing consultant. He teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.]