In book publishing and design, a kiss die-cut is often seen on covers or pages of books made using die-cutting technology. Die cutting involves using a sharp steel blade to cut a specific shape or pattern from paper or cardboard.
A kiss die cut makes it look like something has been partially removed from the paper – when the die-cutting machine only had some pressure applied. These partial cuts are known as ‘kisses’ because they lightly touch the surface without going completely through it.
Windows can be created so readers can see part of what’s inside before opening the book entirely. It adds physical engagement to visual engagement, and intrigue too.
Publishers and designers use Kiss die cuts to add another dimension to books – fiction or non-fiction titles, children’s picture books, or adult cookbooks – alongside images, color choices, and typography that influence how people feel about them.
There are many ways to incorporate Kiss dies into designs:
On covers: A cover might include an illustration that continues onto one of its flaps (a panel that folds over partway across), creating anticipation for what’s inside.
Inside: On certain spreads, there may be a bigger image framed within the illustration surrounding it; hidden messages might be revealed via small windows at various points in chapters.
These clever little touches help create excitement around new releases by providing glimpses of content and acting as teasers.
They also present opportunities for eye-catching cover designs and for including endorsements on them. It is not possible to guess from the outside what a book that has them might be like inside: best of all, they’re relatively inexpensive to create.
Kiss die cuts are used in many types of books, such as children’s, art, graphic novels, and special editions. They allow publishers and authors to show off their creativity and make a book stand out.
In the book world, a kiss die cut is a design feature created by making a part cut into the pages or cover of a book using die-cutting techniques. Whether it’s being used to reveal hidden illustrations or imagery – or create unique marketing opportunities – this little design trick is about enhancing a book’s overall impact.