“Consider the nature of what happens when we read a book…. The book proposes, the reader questions, the book responds, the reader considers. …we are active about the process… We can skim or we can read it slowly; we can read every word, or we can skip long passages; we can read it in the order it presents itself, or we can read it in any order we please; we can look at the last page first, or decide to wait for it; we can put the book down and … we can assent or we can disagree.”

Philip Pullman


When we talk about books today, the younger generation will immediately think of e-books, while the older generation will immediately recall machine-made books with perfect bind. Both are correct; both are mass-produced and positively impact the dissemination of knowledge and improved literacy rate. It is this rapid production that allows us to access and obtain information easily. However, the appearance of books has become so similar that one book differs from another only in its content. But in fact, book design, especially physical book design, contains far more components than its content.

The design of a physical book consists of many factors, which combine to provide readers with a reading experience. Book design is to design a system so that readers can easily navigate through the book. Different systems work for different types of books, and each system has its own functions. For example, a sequential novel will guide readers to read linearly. In contrast, readers adopt a non-linear reading mode for factual or theoretical books and refer to contents page and chapters to get the information they need. On the other hand, artists use books as a medium to present a concept. Uniqueness is usually associated with the artist’s books because they are one-of-the-kind and handmade. Therefore, compared with theory books, such books are more fun to read. The question is, how can we designers make “boring” content more attractive and fun to read?

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Jesvin Yeo


Embossing refers to a method of pressing an image into paper or cardstock to create a three dimensional design. Text, logos and other images can all be formed by the embossing method. Embossing results in a raised surface, with the design higher than the surrounding paper area.

The embossing procedures involve the use of two metal dies - one has a raised surface on it and the other has a mating surface recessed into it. The two dies fit into one another. A paper sheet is placed between the two dies and then heat and pressure are applied to s queeze the raised die into the recessed die. Similar to being pressed by an iron, the paper fibers permanently reshape to take on the intended design.

It is very common for a design to be embossed without using any printing or foiling in the design. This is known as Blind Embossing. In lieu of ink or foil, the embossing process alone creates the text or design on the paper.

Textured paper is commonly used for Blind Embossing because the process not only raises the design, it also provides the option of pressing the paper smooth where it is embossed. This provides additional contrast against the textured area surrounding the embossed design.


Hot stamping is a printing method of relief printing in which pre-dried ink or foils are transferred to a surface at high temperatures. The method has diversified since its rise to prominence in the 19th century to include a variety of processes. After the 1970s, hot stamping became one of the most important methods of decoration on the surface of plastic products.

In a hot stamping machine, a die is mounted and heated, with the product to be stamped placed beneath it.

A metallized or painted roll-leaf carrier is inserted between the two, and the die presses down through it.

The dry paint or foil used is impressed into the surface of the product. The dye-stamping process itself is non-polluting because the materials involved are dry.

Pressure and heat cause the relevant sections of the foil to become detached from the carrier material and become bonded with the printing surface.