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The (entire) book as a blank canvas: Edge Printing

by Gershon Alon, Manager, HP Indigo Workflow Solutions 


As print (and readers) we spend a lot of time thinking about a book’s cover – the design, the substrate, the binding process. After all, it’s the key part of the beautiful objects that are books.  But we often fail to think of the entire book as our canvas, leveraging designs and decorations not just on the cover (on the front and back and spine of a book)  – but also the edges of the pages themselves.  




An image from The Dorothy McIlvain Scott Collection at George Peabody Library. See more 



We have all seen examples of this, but it hasn’t always been that easy to create.


The earliest fore-edge paintings, which were symbolic designs, date possibly as far back as the 

10th century. Books were hand written manuscripts, illustrated by artists. And like any artistic work, the decorations expanded to the edges of the book, resulting in personalized, high value works of art. In other worlds,  creating personalized books  was in fact the only way to create a book…


Today, luckily, there are faster ways to create Edge printing. HP Indigo users can now leverage the  Edge Printing feature in HP SmartStream Designer to create images on the edges of the book.


Think about the possibilities – names, pictures, decorations. Static or personalized.


Images that are visible when the book is closed. Or only visible when the book’s pages are fanned.


You decide. 


And think even further – with the “spine” option inside the Edge Printing feature, you can carry a design across several books. Create a sequence in which portions of one image come together to turn a series of books into a real collection.


Unique. High value. Memorable.


How do you do this?


You probably already have the software installed – Edge Printing is a new feature in HP SmartStream Designer for Adobe InDesign version 11. (if you don’t, here’s how to get it)


Customers like Torculo in Spain are already using Edge Printing capabilities. Here’s some examples of their work.


Libro 1-3.jpg



Libro 2-3.jpg


Libro 1-4.jpg



Tell us what you think - leave a comment, or contact us for more info. 

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About the Author
  • I sit at the crossroads of the HP Indigo technology development team and our customers, sharing knowledge and tools that help printing companies continue growing their business. I’ve been immersed in the world of digital printing since 2006, when I joined HP Indigo. In work and life, I’m passionate about old and new media, and the joys of raising four children.
  • I am a word addict. For both business and pleasure writing is my thing. I am a marketing and communications expert and I am here to let you, our reader, know about all things Indigo. From new product launches to how to make the most of your press and inspiring stories and applications from around the world, I'll write it all here, for you to enjoy.
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