Dust Jacket Book Design Tips

Dust Jacket Book Design Tips

Designing a dust jacket to wrap around a hard cover edition can allow several benefits and value, if designed properly. You can have a dust jacket with a cloth or leather bound book typically or coffee table, art and photo editions, and also with a printed hard cover (such as a high end children’s book).

Many possibilities arise with personalization and versioning when it comes to dust jackets. As short run digital book printing specialists, we at Marathon have seen and deployed many variations.

A couple of terms should be addressed.

Spine board width: The width of the hard cover book which includes text bulk + board thickness.
Flaps: The wings that fold over into your the front and back cover. Typical flap width is 3.5″ but can vary depending on design considerations and print capabilities.
Board Allowance: The width of the actual binders board on a hard cover book

Dust Jacket Template

What are the Outer Size Dimensions of a hardcover book compared to the “page size?

As book printers, we normally measure a book based on the INTERIOR PAGE SIZE , but it is sometimes asked, what is the size of a hard cover?
In other words, what are the “outer dimensions”?

Typically we will answer this question back to you through a HARDCOVER TEMPLATE DIAGRAM, however, to gain an understanding, here is an example for an 8.5”w x 11” h page size.

Outer Dimensions of a hard cover

The last physical component to dust cover layout design involves spine width.
It all originates from the weight of the interior text paper. The minimum spine board width is normally 0.3125″ (5/16″) for up to 48 pages of 100 lb coated text. After that, there is a somewhat arbitrary formula we have come up with that is generally if under 1/2″ thickness total text bulk= [text bulk + 0.0625 “] . For books 1/2″text bulk or greater, the formula is: [text bulk + 0.125”].

The below attachment is a cheat sheet of many of our standard text weights. To calcluate the text bulk, just take the number of pages divided by 2. Then multiply by the caliper (paper thickness) and add .125”

sheets per 1000 (1)

Questions? Of course, please email or call!