Let's Talk Book Design & Anatomy



Below is an alphabetical list of common terms related to children's book design. Click on a term to skip down!



Backmatter

Material at the end of a book (resources, educator guides, interviews, author notes, photos, etc.).


Barcode

The white box on the back of the book that contains a series of numbers and parallel black lines encoded with the book's unique data, including purchase price. Check out some beautiful barcode designs here.


Bleed

An image that extends past the edge of where the paper will be trimmed. Anything beyond the bleed will not be printed, so full-bleed images extend beyond the trimmed page/spread.


Carousel Book

Also known as a 360° book, the front and back covers touch to form a circle. Some carousel books have ribbons that tie the front and back together. See many examples and more information on carousel books here.


Casewrap

Also known as a case cover or hard case (or an “Undie” on this site!), the hard casing of the book made from printed paper wrapped around cardboard. The dust jacket covers up the casewrap on many books. See many examples, and my favorite reveals, here.


Debossing

An indented pattern on the surface of a book, like the title or another detail. The opposite of debossing is embossing. See examples here.


Die Cutting

Cutting paper, pages, and books into specific shapes. See some examples here.


Dust Jacket

The removable paper cover wrapped around a casewrap. Underneath the dust jacket is the casewrap. See many examples, and my favorite reveals, here.


Embossing

A raised pattern on the surface of a book, like the title or another detail. The opposite of embossing is debossing. See examples here.


Endpaper

Also known as an endsheet, the paper at the beginning and/or end of the book that is glued to the inside cover. See many examples here.


Fifth Color

A solid spot color ink (often neon) outside of the usual four print colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (also known as CMYK). See some examples here.


Foil Stamping

A metallic effect added to specific details and/or text. See examples here.



Fore-Edge

The edges of a book's pages. Sometimes these are treated with paint, stencils, or foil, and sometimes the treatment is only visible when the pages are slightly fanned. See some examples here.


Gatefold

A folded, oversized page in a book designed to be opened out past the book's trim size.


Gutter

The space in the middle of an open book where two facing pages meet. The binding on the outside of the book is called the spine. Take a closer look at books that are designed to emphasize the gutter here.


Leporello

An accordion-pleat, or zig-zag, book. See many examples and learn more about leporellos here.


Recto

The righthand page of a spread. The lefthand page of a spread is called the verso page.


Spine

The outside edge of the book where the pages are gathered and bound. The binding on the inside of the book is called the gutter.


Spot Gloss

A high gloss UV coating on a selective area. See examples here.


Spread

Two facing pages (verso and recto), side by side.


Trim Size

The actual size of a book (width, height, and depth, ie: 9.4 x 12.2 x 1.0 inches).

Verso

The lefthand page of a spread. The righthand page of a spread is called the recto page.