Book Jackets

IT IS NOT likely that the oldest trade books, published at the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century by Anton Koberger and Aldus Manutius, were given jackets. […] Their purpose was to protect the valuable binding, at least for a time. Different from the cover, the jacket bore the title of the book and often further particulars also on the front panel. At times this was merely a straightforward copy of the title page with, perhaps, a border drawn around it. In the first decades of our century it was the cover itself that, to its detriment, became the carrier of a marketing tool: the title.

In time, a separation evolved again between the book cover as the permanent integument, and the protective jacket as the carrier of advertising. It is regrettable that over the past thirty years the quality of book covers has declined; at the same time the design and form of the jacket, which lures the buyer, has been further and further refined.
A jacket is not an actual part of the book. The essential portion is the inner book, the block of pages. […] The true garment of the book is its cover; the jacket is merely the raincoat. (Tschichold, 1991 : 178)

Capa: Parte exterior de um documento, seja de que matéria for, destinada a protegê-lo; pode conter o título da obra, o nome do autor e do editor, a data, etc. cobertura. Página de cobertura • folha de papel sobre a qual se imprime o título da obra e que a envolve, enquanto brochura; nos livros modernos é usualmente feita em papel colorido, com desenhos mais ou menos vivos e atraentes.

Sobrecapa: Folha impressa, de papel forte ou de qualquer outro material, que envolve a capa de um livro quando da sua publicação. Capa de protecção. Cobrecapa. Sobrecoberta. Guarda-pó. Jaqueta. Dust jacket. Camisa. Não faz parte dele e é facilmente separável; muito usada nos últimos anos, o seu emprego generalizou-se tanto para livros brochados como para livros encadernados; tem a vantagem de tornar o livro mais atraente servindo, deste modo, fins de propaganda comercial, além de que o resguarda e protege, especialmente se se trata de uma edição de luxo. (Faria e Pericão, 2008 : 197, 1145)

All book jackets must display certain information; the title, the author’s name, and the name of the publisher must appear whether the design is treated in an abstract, symbolic or pictorial manner. […] The book jacket is a three-dimensional design, a wrapper for a three-dimensional book. […] A book jacket fails if it attracts attention by a striking arrangement of form and color but does not also convey the titles author name clearly and unmistakable. (Curl, 1956 : 19, 22, 29)

The stories need to look like something, they all need a face. Why? To give you a first impression. Chip Kidd

A book is written: ideas are set down on paper in the form of words – although pictures my be important too. To turn a written book into a printed book is to take a series of decisions which, when the final words ‘passed for press’ are written on the proofs, cannot be rescinded. The book goes out into the world looking like ‘that’. […]
The book must also be designed to be attractive, because before books can be read they have to be bought, usually in a book shop, in competition with other – often many other – similar books. (McLean,1996 : 120/121)

Books are not sold on the merits of their jackets but, since these are a link between the author and the publisher on one hand and the bookseller and reader on the other, they have an important place in advertising set-up. (Curl, 1956 : 40)

The purpose of the jacket today is not so much to protect as to sell. It is a special kind of poster.
Ruari McLean


Encadernação: operação de juntar as folhas de um livro, costurando os cadernos e cobrindo ou “vestindo” o corpo do volume com uma capa mais grossa e sólida que a folha vulgar; o termo grego está ligado à palavra vestir e envolver; a encadernação visa dar ao livro uma unidade material que facilite a sua leitura e o preserve da destruição e perda • […] • a capa do livro encadernado. Ligatura • a acção de encadernar. Actualmente existem três tipos de encadernação: a corrente, a industrial e a artística ou de bibliofilia, todas bem distintas e levadas a cabo em diferentes tipos de oficinas, por especialistas bem diferenciados. (port. bras.) capeamento • Oficina onde se encadernam livros. (Faria e Pericão, 2008 : 451)

Bookbinding: involves a variety of processes to produce a finished book. The various sections that form a book block are either stitched or glued to hold them together. The book block may then be shaped or curved.

Binding: is a process through which the various pages that comprise a job are gathered and securely held together so that they function as a publication. The binding method chosen for a publication can add to the narrative of the information it contains. For example, a case binding lends a more formal tone to a work while a perfect binding is more informal and disposable.

Case or edition binding: A common cover bookbinding method that sews signature together, flattens the spine, applies ensheets and head and tailwinds to the spine. Hard covers are attached, the spine is usually rounded and grooves along the cover edge act as hinges. (Ambrose and Harris, 2008 : 165, 166)

Tschichold, Jan. (1991). The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks.
Chip Kidd. (2012). TEDTalk: Designing books is no laughing matter. Ok, it is. Design. [Consult. 2015-10-06]. Disponível em:
McLean, Ruari. (1996). The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography. Singapore: C.S Graphics.
Curl, Peter. (1965). Designing a book jacket. London: The Studio Limited.
Faria, Maria Isabel, e Pericão, Maria da Graça. (2008). Dicionário do Livro: da escrita ao livro electrónico. Coimbra: Almedina.
Ambrose, Gavin, and Harris, Paul. (2008). The Production Manual: A Graphic Design Handbook. Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.