Board Book Printing

Imago has been involved in board book printing since the business opened over 40 years ago. Children’s books are a cornerstone of our service offering at Imago, and board books remain an ever-popular style of book that our customers choose.

We have produced countless board books across thousands of projects, and our expertise alongside our access to print suppliers in both China and Europe means that we can offer our customers high-quality and managed production for board books.

Board books are produced using card or board as opposed to paper (hence the name!) which makes them strong enough to withstand the enthusiastic use of small hands!

Board Book Types & Styles

When it comes to board book printing, we can (and always get excited to) push the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of the look and user experience with the finished product. In general terms, we print board books for the children’s book market, however, we have produced many board books for adults too. No matter who the product is intended for, board books are designed to be very engaging and versatile products that stand out on the shelf and withstand lots of use.

Variations of Board Books

Having printed board books for so many years alongside a plethora of clients for different markets, Imago has produced so many different iterations including; shaped board books, board books with lift-up flaps, board books with a cased cover, board books with feels, board books with puzzles, board books with plush, chunky board books, the list goes on.

If you have a wild idea the chances are it can be produced as a board book and the chances are that we have produced it! Start your board book printing project with us and we will be in touch to discuss as soon as possible! 

We offer a product development consultation and free quotation service.

What are the Benefits of Board Book Printing?

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The sturdy card used to make board books makes them resilient and strong enough to withstand the repeated attention of toddlers, no matter how rough!

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The board book format is incredibly versatile, not only is the size and number of spreads flexible but also the number of different finishes and materials that can be used.

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Rounded edges and chunky leaves make board books perfect for small hands. The contents and cover are usually finished with a varnish or lamination making them wipeable.

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Add some flaps, add a feel or a smell, a splash of glitter or foil, or even a plush character – the board book format lends itself to all manner of creative outpourings.

child reading board book

Board Book Safety

Often the child’s first foray into the wonderful world of books, it is important that board books are safe for their young audience. Although a ‘book’ in the sense that it has pictures and words, the board book is more likely to be chewed rather than read!

When it comes to board book printing, the product must be designed and manufactured with the full understanding of the way in which children interact with their toys and with toy safety uppermost in the mind.

Consideration has to be given to the materials being used, to the shape, size, and security of any attachments. Imago have considerable experience and expertise in identifying potential physical and chemical risks and with international standards and testing requirements.

Board Book Printing – The Technical Details

How are Board Books Made?

Board book printing takes place on a conventional litho press, and are often finished with a varnish or lamination, which helps their durability and makes them wipeable. In most cases, the board is printed on one side only and the printed sheets are cut into a series of double-page spreads which are glued together, back to back and one by one, to form a book block.

Extra bulk can be achieved with the use of board spacers which get sandwiched in between the spreads to create thicker leaves. The cover is printed on the same material used for the contents and gets wrapped and glued around the book block and scored with a hinge at the back to allow the book to lay flat when opened. The finished book is usually finished off with rounded corners which is more child friendly than having right-angled corners. 

For board books that have ‘lift-the-flaps’ or windows included, the sheets are die-cut before binding, and a stencil has to be made for the gluing. Shaped board books are punched after binding requiring a punch tool, which can be quite expensive.

It is also possible to wrap a case around the book block, so the book looks like a regular hardback book from the outside and we refer to this as a cased board book.

board book with holographic gilt edging

Top Tips for Board Book Printing

Boards for Board Books

Choosing the right board to use for your board book printing project will depend on your design and your budget. Generally, board books are made using 350gsm – 400gsm board with each leaf comprising of two layers.

There are two main types of board used in board book printing and manufacture;

  • Grey board – available in many different grammages and thicknesses, grey board is usually made from recycled materials and the core is grey in colour.The board has a white paper coating / printing surface and is less expensive than white board and a good choice if budget is the prime consideration. For very chunky board books grey board is the most cost-effective option.
  • White board – available in many different grammages and thicknesses. This is a superior quality board and is available coated one side (C1S) or both sides (C2S).If your board book has ‘lift the flaps’ functionality, you may want to print on the underside of the board so that lifting the flap reveals an image on the printed on the underside of the next leaf.

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!

Why Choose Imago for Your Board Book Printing Project?

At Imago, we have over forty years of experience in board book printing and have production staff ‘on the ground’ in the Far-East and Europe where most board books are produced.

As board book printing can often can involve complex cutting and production methods, it is important to opt for a supplier, or in the case of Imago a print management company, who can oversee and manage the entire process to ensure your project is produced to the highest quality.

Start Your Project