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Producing a Handbound Book

Creating handbound books and the techniques used in hand-binding remain an intricate, highly skilled, and specialist area of book production. And, working with our partner printers and binders, Imago have been producing handbound books since opening in 1980.

For oversize formats, special, and limited edition book production, hand-binding is an area of expertise that Imago can, and love to assist our clients with on their projects.

Limited & Trade Edition Handbound Books

This particular publication, ‘Judge Dredd by Brian Bolland: Apex Edition’ was produced by the team at Imago in both a limited and trade edition format. Both productions are the same size and specification and are beautiful examples of quality, handbound book production.

However, the stand-out differences between the two productions are that the limited edition book also includes a stunning, rigid slipcase and a tip-in sheet, which is bound into the book and is hand-signed and numbered by Brian Bolland himself.

Why was this Produced as a Handbound Book?

The Apex Edition is a deluxe, large-format production, with a trimmed paper size (TPS) that measures an impressive 475mm (h) x 365mm (w). As the trim page size was so large, we opted to hand-bind the book to ensure the highest possible quality finished product.

To achieve the best results on the uncoated paper used for the contents, we produced this book on a HUV press with our partner printers in Turkey.

What is a HUV Press?

HUV Technology is the latest generation of litho printing and uses a UV light source to dry the ink instantly, meaning the ink dries on contact and very little is absorbed into the paper.

For uncoated papers, which are more absorbent than coated papers, HUV printing ensures a clean and bright result and is particularly effective on jobs with heavy inking.

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Project Overview

Over the years, Imago have produced many special and limited edition books for our clients, all of which have included added embellishments, and demanded extra care and attention due to their complex production.

This limited edition handbound book ‘Judge Dredd by Brian Bolland: Apex Edition’, stands out as one of the most impressive projects Imago have produced.

Working closely with our client Rebellion Publishing and their comic imprint 2000 AD, we managed the print, production, logistics, and delivery of both the limited edition and standard edition of this incredible book.

Watch Our Video

Watch our video for an in-depth look at this beautiful limited edition handbound book.

Hand-Signed Tip-In Sheet

Limited to just 570 copies, the special edition version of this handbound book also included a 2-page tip-in sheet, which was signed and individually numbered by Brian Bolland.

Imago arranged for these tip-in sheets to be printed separately and shipped directly to Brian Bolland for signing. We were then able to collect these tip-in sheets and bind them directly into the book, which in this case was glued directly onto the page below it. This is a process that we often opt for when hand-signing is integral to the production of the item.

Having tip-in sheets sent directly to an author for signature is the safest, most cost-effective, and quickest way to handle limited edition books requiring hand-signing. Shipping final book blocks to an author for signature is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

Uncoated Paper

The production of these limited edition books includes the printing of high-resolution scans of original artwork. The artwork within this publication is a fantastic representation of its time, with densely saturated blacks and full vibrant colours and includes Bolland’s signature style of inking brushwork in intricate detail.

More often than not, facsimile comic books that include highly saturated colours and deep blacks with lots of ink coverage are printed on coated papers. The reason for this is that these paper types lend authenticity to the comic style of artwork, ensuring a true reflection of the artwork as it was originally created.

A Unique Paper Choice

On this occasion for this production, a thick uncoated paper was chosen to specifically mimic the type of paper the artist would have used originally.

In printing, this would normally result in a more matt black and colour finish. However, with the use of the HUV press and its quick-drying attributes, we managed to achieve beautifully rich and even results throughout the book whilst keeping uncoated paper as an important stylistic element.

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close up of handbound book stitching
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handbound and hand signed tip in sheet by brian bolland judge dredd
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judge dredd apex edition inside page hand bound

Apex Edition Handbound Book | A Technical Breakdown

Cover Boards

The cover boards used throughout the production are of the highest quality and sourced specifically for both the limited edition book and trade edition.

Used for both the book itself and the limited edition slipcase, we opted to use Eska greyboard, which has unique qualities that are necessary to avoid any warping of the large format cover.

Eska greyboard is more dense and sturdy than other greyboard brands, making it ideal for this large-format production, with the added benefit that the boards are produced using 100% recycled materials.

Individual Mailing Cartons

Packing, shipping, and delivery of these items were of paramount importance to ensure that no damage occurred to any of the books post-production.

Both the standard and slipcase editions were individually shrink-wrapped and placed into white-coated, 1/s printed black, corrugated cardboard mailing cartons. These cartons were produced with four inside walls to keep the books and slipcases protected during transit to the warehouse and throughout the subsequent delivery to the customer.

If you are looking to produce a limited edition book or product, reach out to the team at Imago today and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your project in more detail.

Start Your Project

Start your project

Imago would be delighted to work with you on your next print project. Get in touch with the team to discuss your ideas, no matter how out of the box they might seem!