Book Design and Imaging

black background - worth it?

I’ve created my book with black backgrounds but I’ve read several comments about pages with blackgrounds printing with white flecks or spots all over them.

I think black looks the best and makes the pictures stand out the most but I’m not sure if it’s worth it if it’s going to end up looking amateur (i.e. more amateur than it already looks). 

I’m hoping that many people will assure me that they’ve seen hundreds of black pages without any specks.  Any takers?

 

 ps – I didn’t mean to write "blackgrounds" but thought I’d keep it in b/c it seemed fitting

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Posted by
hillkd
Jun 16, 2009 4:28pm PDT
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hillkd
 

I agree black, or very dark, backgrounds help photos and colours stand out. I’ve done three books using black for photo pages, white for full text pages, white text with black background for captions on photo pages. Also full colour background for Index pages. No specks on the black or colour on any copies I’m aware of though it would only take a speck of dust at printing.

 http://www.blurb.com/user/store/peteshep

 

Posted by
peteshep
Jun 16, 2009 4:43pm PDT
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peteshep
 

I’ve done several books with black backgrounds and I also agree that black really makes the pictures stand out because you’re eye’s are always drawn to the light - so the photograph never fades into the background.  I know some people have indicated problems with white specs – but so far (knock on wood) I have not had any problems.  The only problem I have had with a black background was on the cover so I would not do another black background cover again – at least not until Blurb provides a different cover finish.

Posted by
Bebensee
Jun 16, 2009 10:03pm PDT
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Bebensee
 

Here’s a third vote for black backgrounds!

I have, over a period of about 6 months, printed 7 copies of my 13" x 11" using the darkroom theme with no problems at all. If you did get a book with white spots and flecks that would be recognised by Blurb as a manufacturing defect and they woould reprint the book for you at no additional cost to you.

http://www.blurb.com/books/336006

.........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jun 16, 2009 11:35pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

I did an all-black-pages book and had no problem with white specks.

Posted by
jshook
Jun 17, 2009 7:11am PDT
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jshook
 

Tony, your book is gorgeous. Really wish Blurb previewed more pgs.

Posted by
loricherokee
Jun 17, 2009 7:25am PDT
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loricherokee
 

Okay, thanks everyone you’ve put my mind to ease – black it is.

Posted by
hillkd
Jun 17, 2009 9:32am PDT
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hillkd
 

@hillkd,

It is matter of personal’s perference, desire, or want to include black background. Or not at all. There is no right or wrong, it is just that – that of personal perference.

Believe me, there has been always some years, if you will, years of wrangling over a controversial issue around black background on photo book. I also think, in some aspect, it depends on the book project. No one book project is same as other book project. So it varies from book ‘a’, to ‘b’, to ‘xyz’, to ‘mno’ book. Whatever you want to chose, you decide what’s best for you and for your book.

After all, it is YOUR book

—Brian {a passionately Blurbarian}

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jun 17, 2009 10:23pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Hi Lori!

Thanks for that, it is appreciated. Now if you want to see the rest have a look here. I’m still working on this approach and am having a number of problems, the text is really soft and not that readable, but at least you can see the rest of my photos.

When I’ve cracked how to do this (the book was created totaly in BookSmart, not using apps such as InDesign) I’ll post my approach in the forums.

Thanks again!

.........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jun 19, 2009 7:09am PDT
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tfrankland
 

I’m ThisClose of ordering a book that has a black cover until I read Bebensee’s comment on how it doesn’t look nice- any reason???

Thanks!

Jess

Posted by
jessica09
Jun 19, 2009 8:23am PDT
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jessica09
 

My black-covered book looks fine. The only problem is that it tends to retain finger marks.

(Copy and paste entire URL)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30752530@N02/3590201454/

Posted by
jshook
Jun 19, 2009 10:05am PDT
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jshook
 

IMHO it depends on the type of photography and your taste. I had the same photobook printed in two versions, with black and with white backgrounds. At first sight the black works better, especially with darker pictures (nightshots, dark tones etc.). But for other pictures like winter landscapes or those with more subdued color I usually prefer a white of light grey background.

I also did a small book where all backgrounds where matched to the colors in the pictures, and that can look very nice as well.

In my first books I had issues with white dust on the first/last pages; with later books the only problem with black backgronds was – as mentioned above – that finger marks are far more visible, and tiny white lettering on black can be a problem (on premium paper I find the fingermarks are less of a problem).

Some people have complained on the forum about white lines in the middle when using black background, but I haven’t seen this problem myself (at least not more than in a normal book).

People with a publishing background tell me that it is not a good idea to mix white and black backgrounds in one book (but why not if you like it yourself?).

Posted by
teknik
Jun 25, 2009 1:09am PDT
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teknik
 

Thanks for the continued input everyone.  I actually just went through the book and changed the remaining few white pages to black since I thought that consistency was better than mixing some black with white.  Most of my fonts are 12 or larger so hopefully the white print will be okay. 

Posted by
hillkd
Jun 26, 2009 10:42am PDT
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hillkd
 

I’ve only made one book, but I chose to use black backgrounds on many pages.  I did not have any problems with specks.  The images look clean and crisp against the black background.  I took Blurb’s advice and used a shade a bit lighter than black on most pages to soften the look and was very pleased with the results.  (Most people would not have been able to distinguish the difference in the shade, but it made a big difference to the trained eye).

Anyway….I loved the black….and my book was the largest size and on many pages the black made up a very large frame size.  

 

Posted by
kathymn
Jul 6, 2009 9:54am PDT
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kathymn
 

I just received my book yesterday.

 I opted to do a black background on all pages.  After reading some of the reviews on here about specs, etc, I was a little concerned.  However, after going through the book page by page I am so pleased with the final product.  There are no specs and the images are clear and the colours jump off the page.

Posted by
Tweedy
Jul 7, 2009 6:48am PDT
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Tweedy
 

That’s encouraging—hopefully I can say the same in a couple of weeks…

Posted by
hillkd
Jul 7, 2009 7:30pm PDT
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hillkd
 

...the black background works great with photos of my stuff.  However, when I was using white text on the blackground I discovered, when I got my book, that black text on black background, although invisible on proof print and preview is visible on the final product  What showed up on the book page were artifacts of deleted(I thought)  text that had, for some unknown reaosn, been designated black….   I would suggest to those using black background and white text to change the black background to white, temporarily, to check for any editing artifacts..

Posted by
llhote
Jul 15, 2009 6:44am PDT
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llhote
 

Update: my black background book arrived today and it looks great.  I would definitely go black again.  There were a couple of tiny specks on a couple of pages (out of 100, on premium paper), which I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if I wasn’t so paranoid about it. 

 I would say if you prefer black—go for it.

Posted by
hillkd
Jul 17, 2009 8:14am PDT
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hillkd