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Coloring Book Printing: Ten Ways to Add Appeal to your Adult Coloring Book

Adult Coloring Book

Coloring books for children have been around for ages, but Adult Coloring Books have gained mainstream popularity in recent years. As a book printer, I can personally attest to this tremendous surge in adult coloring books. At the time of this writing, it is my most requested type of project.

Why are adult coloring books so immensely popular? Well, not only is coloring intricate patterns a fun activity for many adults, it is a widely praised method for relaxation and stress relief.

Furthermore, adults that enjoy this hobby seem to be enticed by coloring books that focus on a particular topic…one with content that fits well with their interests and personality. This is why the more successful coloring books have a central theme, such as flowers, butterflies, landmarks, holidays, Celtic designs and so on. A compilation of random, unrelated drawings rarely makes for a sought-after coloring book.

If you are planning to create and market an adult coloring book, you may be wondering how to set your book apart. Perhaps you've already chosen an exciting theme and planned great content. But, with so many titles competing for attention, you are probably wondering what else you can do to make your coloring book stand out.

Fortunately, there are a variety of features you can incorporate into your coloring book to make it more appealing and user-friendly. Here are ten simple suggestions I have gathered from experience…

1) Consider Unique Dimensions - One of the benefits of creating a custom coloring book is that the dimensions are entirely up to you. True, an 8.5" x 11" portrait orientation is one of the more economical book sizes to produce, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't explore additional options. A landscape orientation, a square shape, or an oversized book might just be the factor that differentiates your coloring book from the others.

2) Create Clean Designs - If you are creating a coloring book for resale, the line art must appear smooth and uniform, with good contrast and high resolution. Using design software is a huge plus in this regard. But, if you are drawing on paper, make sure to remove any smudges or eraser marks. Also, try to limit the number of times a paper drawing is copied or scanned as it will lose resolution with each reproduction.

3) Use a Consistent Page Orientation - This may not be an issue for certain symmetrical patterns, but if your designs have a clear "direction", try to keep them consistent throughout the book. If possible, avoid intermixing pages of vertically-oriented designs with pages that contain horizontally-oriented designs. Having to rotate the coloring book back and forth can be an annoyance to some users.

4) Print Designs on One Side of the Sheet - There are a couple benefits to printing a design on only one side of the sheets within a coloring book. First, it helps to keep any artwork from showing through to the other side of the sheet. Second, if the user opts to remove a page from the book in order to display it, there is no image on the reverse side to become wasted or go unused. By the way, when relaying the page count to your printer for a quote, be sure not to confuse sheets with pages. Basically, every sheet within the book represents two pages. Even if a sheet in the coloring book is blank on one side, your printer will count it as two pages. Thus, there will always be twice as many pages as there are sheets within a book. For example, if you have 40 designs in your coloring book and each prints on one side of a sheet, the page count of the coloring book is 80, not 40.

5) Plan for the Gutter - If you choose the perfect binding method (adhesive binding), make sure the inner page margins are not too narrow at the gutter (the gutter is the channel formed by the inner margins of two facing pages when the book is opened). Extra margin width is needed at the gutter to help "push" the designs out from the spine of a perfect bound book, otherwise some of the line art may get buried too deep into the spinal crease and will be difficult to color.

6) Upgrade to Thicker Paper - The thickness of printing paper is generally referred to as its pound weight, which is designated as #…such as 70# or 100#. Generally, the higher the # number, the thicker the paper. If you want to project a quality image for your coloring book, you should select a heavier grade of paper. In addition to having a much richer feel, a thicker paper will also help prevent any of your line art, or the user's coloring medium, from showing through to the other side.

7) Perforate the Pages - adding page perforations near the coloring book's spine allows each individual page to be easily detached from the rest of the book, if the user so desires. This option permits a page to be taken to a separate work surface for coloring, and/or to be individually displayed once it has been colored. Perforated pages work well with any binding style.

8) Enhance the Cover - Your coloring book's cover is the first thing a potential buyer will see, either in person or as part of your marketing. So it absolutely has to make a stunning visual impression. Full color on the front cover is highly recommended. The back cover should also contain some color, such as showing one of the book's interior pages partially colored in. In addition to vibrant colors, foil-stamping and embossing are two other techniques used to add distinction to a book's cover.

9) Add a Laminate - Another great way to enhance the appearance and add value to a coloring book is to bond a clear plastic film onto the book's cover. Whether you choose a gloss, matte or "soft touch" finish, a laminate will add a protective barrier to increase stain resistance and durability. A gloss laminate also adds depth and vibrancy to the underlying ink colors, which helps attract attention and stimulate interest.

10) Opt for Spiral Coil or Wire-O Binding - The spiral coil and wire-o binding methods are very user-friendly because they allow a coloring book to open a full 360 degrees (cover to cover). This feature offers a huge advantage in that it enables the book to lie perfectly flat while in the open position…thus eliminating the need to continually hold the book open in order to color in it. Bear in mind that if you use the spiral coil or wire-o binding method, you'll want to make sure that the inner page margins are ample enough to accommodate the holes drilled for the coil or wire. Otherwise you risk having some of the holes bored through, or uncomfortably close to, the designs to be colored.

In summary, custom-printed coloring books can be created with just about any feature you choose. If you have any questions about an upcoming Coloring Book project, just give Formax a call at 866-367-6221. Or, if you already know your specifications, simply click here to access our easy quote request form. We look forward to assisting with your coloring book project!

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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