Book Cover Finishes
By Preflight Books

What are book cover finishes?

The optimal book cover finish can guarantee your audience’s attention. The choice of cover finish is all dependent on the genre of the book and what you know your audience will pick up. From varnish to embossing, the choices are endless! Endless and difficult to choose from. Here’s some help, from us to you: the top book cover finishes used world wide!


Want a luxurious and clean appearance for your book? Varnish is your best choice. It can enhance colours on covers and give them that ‘it’ factor! Varnish is also used as a ‘sealant’ as it holds the ink against the cover and prevents leaks or spillage.


Lamination is used on softcovers as a type of protection! A thin film is placed on the cover and cured, leaving a smooth finish. There are two types of lamination:

  • Gloss, found on most books. Gives a shiny and smooth appearance.
  • Matte, used to create a velvet, luxurious cover image.

Foil Stamping

First used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s for book covers, foil stamping is a decorative technique that involves the heating of a malleable metallic foil and applying it to a book cover’s surface.

Used for intricate designs as well as that much needed finishing touch. Foil is a finish with range. You can pair it with embossing in order to create a visually stunning cover image.


Debossing is when a design is depressed onto the front of a page to make the image sink/dip into the paper.

Impressing a design onto the back of a book cover leads to Embossing. The image rises on the front of the page, giving it a decorative and textured appearance.

Spot Varnish

To give an image texture or apply a focal point to the cover, Spot Varnish can be applied. For an eye-catching cover, use varnish on certain images or text. By using varnish sparingly, you can guarantee a neat and appealing cover.

Matte or Gloss? Debossing or Foil?

Knowing the types of finishes is the first step, choosing which suits your book is the next. We can help with that! Should you want to get a quote from us or if you have any general queries, feel free to contact us.

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