The traditional techniques behind your cover image

Everything you need to know about cover images.

At MILK, we offer a range of cover design options—you can choose between a simple text cover, an elegant Designer Cover, a 3/4 image wrap or a custom cover image. A custom cover image is a great way to introduce your story. It sets the tone from the first glance and is a great opportunity to showcase one of your favorite photos from your book. For those who opt for a cover image, we’ve put together everything you need to know about how we craft them.


How we craft your custom cover image.

Large square photo book with an image of Wanaka, New Zealand on the cover.

1. First, we digitally print your cover image using top-grade inks.

Every cover image is printed onto 200gsm art card. It is then matt laminated to provide an extra layer of protection. If you’re creating from our Classic range, your image will be printed in 4-color. If you’re creating from our Premium or Moleskine ranges, it will be printed in 6-color.
Note: The matt lamination can subtly “soften” the look of the colors in the image. This means that the same image printed inside the book will have a noticeably different print result.

2. Next, we deboss your hardcover and inlay your image.

The hardcover of your photo book or album is stamped to create a slightly recessed area. This age-old bookmaking technique is more formally known as debossing. Your cover image is then fixed within this debossed area using highly durable, industrial-strength glue. This is to ensure that your cover image will never lift from the fabric. It is positioned to sit flush with the cover fabric for a seamless finish.
Note: The edge of the deboss does not align with the edge of the cover image. Rather, the deboss is slightly larger, bordering the edges of the cover image by 1.5mm on each side. This gives the impression of a slight frame and adds dimension to your cover.

Why we've chosen this method.

When adding an image to your cover, we prefer this method to the other options brands offer like cover windows or printing directly onto the cover. It’s a more premium approach that showcases the handcrafted nature of our range and the traditional techniques used to bring them to life. Simply, we feel it produces a cleaner finish and a better print result.

Our products are crafted individually by hand. This means that your cover image is lovingly set into your memento by a skilled bookmaker. As with everything that is created not by machine but by hand, this process takes time and great care. And we are susceptible to human error. If you feel your cover image has any issues, please contact our Customer Care team and we’ll do what we can to make it right. See our Satisfaction Promise.


Tips to getting the most out of your cover image.

Two photo books with cover images  of a girl at a beach that have a soft focus in the foreground

As seen in the examples above, images with soft focus in the foreground are noticeably grainy in print.

1. Avoid cover images that have soft focus in the foreground.

Be mindful of using images on the cover that are soft in focus in the foreground, or that have a shallow depth of field. Significantly blurred areas are difficult to replicate in print, and will result in a grainier looking finish with noticeable print dots.

When selecting a cover image for a small or medium MILK format, we recommend using photos taken in a close-up, extreme close-up, or medium scale. At these scales, our print machinery can best replicate the finer details in the image and produce a cover with a sharp print result. Images should be clear when viewed at 200% zoom.

2. Use a photo that you love.

A cover image isn’t the first page in your story, it’s the hook – the image that pulls you in and makes you want to open the book. Cover images are a beautiful way to introduce and present your photo book or album so they should be reserved for your favorite moment.

3. Choose a fabric that will make your image pop.

When choosing your cover fabric, select a color that that also features in your image. This will make your cover image pop and bring the whole book together.

Inspiration from our community

See the latest books our customers are making (generously shared with their consent).

Explore our formats

Square black leather photo album with a wedding portrait on the cover

Leather Photo Albums

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Premium landscape leather photo album with a travel photo on the cover

Premium Photo Albums

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Two classic landscape photo books, one with a cover image of a young child outside, the other with a child sitting on his father's shoulders

Classic Photo Books

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One landscape Moleskine photo book, one portrait Moleskine photo book

Moleskine Photo Books

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