How do I design a cover for a book so that it is the correct size and print ready?

For the purpose of this exercise, we will presume that the final size of your book will be A5 (148 x 210 mm).

The other factor that determines the size of your book cover, will be the thickness of the spine and that depends on two things: the number of pages in the book and the type of paper it will be printed on.

Generally we use either 80gsm White Bond or 70gsm Book Bond (also called Bulky Beige) to print the inside of novels and study books.

So let us take your A5 book (148 x 210 mm) and start determining the size of the cover:

1.         When you open the cover so that it lays flat, it becomes A4 size (297 x 210 mm).

2.         Determine the spine width like this:

            Take the number of pages in the book (let’s say 216). Decide what paper the book is going to be printed on. If it is 80gsm Bond divide 216 by 20 = 10,8  if it is going to be printed on Book Bond, divide the number of pages by 14,28 = 15,12.

            80gsm Bond – make your spine 11 mm wide

            Book Bond – make your spine 15,5 mm wide

3.         Add the spine width to the width of the cover: 297+11 = 308 mm (printed on 80gsm Bond). Now your cover size is 308 x 210 mm.

4.         Now add 6 mm to the width and 6 mm to the height of the cover.

            (308+6) x (210+6) – the final size of your cover will be

            314       x    216 mm

5.         Only now you can start your design.

IMPORTANT – Keep all text and logo’s 13 mm from the edge of the design to ensure a professional looking end result.

We recommend that if a spine is less than 6 mm wide, no text be placed on the spine since we need 1,5 – 2mm leeway on either side of the spine during the binding process; again to ensure a neat looking end product.