New tools help you select the best paper for your art book printing project

You are not alone in feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the options and technical aspects encountered in producing an art book, especially if this is the first time you set out on this journey! With the second edition of The Art of Producing and Art Book (expected in inventory 9-1-2015), we are including some wonderful tools to make the entire process much easier to understand AND to make sure you select the paper that best fits your art and presentation. One of my favorites is the Paper Selection Guide. It is a set of 8” x 8” swatches of all our standard art papers, each printed with the identical image, using the same printing plates and press. It is an excellent tool to demonstrate how color reproduction is affected by the paper we print on.

 Printing art book in full color requires especially formulated paper

Art Book offers a fine but purposely limited selection of papers. Each selection is thoroughly tested and proven to excel for ultra high quality coffee table book printing. Recommended paper for an art book about your art or photography will meet archival quality standards* and will not yellow over time. These papers are considered Number 1  grade.

By limiting our selection, we have considerably more buying power and that translates into a distinct cost-reducing benefit for all clients we serve.

Why we use matte or gloss coatings on the paper

Nine out of ten books we print use coated text papers. Coating (with matte or gloss finish) is a clay-based material that seals the paper fibers. It does not make the paper “whiter” (in fact, the opposite is true), but it does provide a smooth surface with improved opacity and luster. It also reduces ink absorption: droplets of ink maintain their intended shape because the coating prevents them to spread into the paper. Colors appear brighter and richer.

 What is the best paper for printing a book featuring YOUR art reproductions?

Before we print, we make sure our clients completely understand the thickness, brightness and reproduction quality of the paper we intend to use for their book.

 Testing your art images on multiple papers for printing

Some clients want to test their own images on one or more of our papers. Our standard proofs are very accurate to the color we may ultimately expect on the printed pages. However, they use toners, not inks, on a specialty surface. So-called “wet proofing” is printing with offset inks on a printing press, not a proofing machine. Needless to say it is not inexpensive, but a most valuable tool for the most judicious clients.**

The end papers (they are at the very beginning and end of the book that hinge the book block to the cover) have to be uncoated. Here we do want glue to absorb into the paper for proper adhesion. The thickness of the paper depends on the size of the book and the number of interior pages.

A note about paper and preservation the environment

This is a big topic I will address in a separate article, but let me say at least this: All our papers are made from FSC Certified sources. Please visit their website here to learn about sustainable and responsible forest management

In every respect we want to create a book that lasts a lifetime… and maybe a lot longer!


*To read more about archival papers, please visit: