Throughout the decade, as the trade became accustomed to the new materials and methods, gold was used with restraint. Early on, only the most visible part of a shelved book, the spine, was decorated with a gilt title, perhaps within a simple frame or decorative border. Binders ventured into cover design by making up simple borders in blind from their stock frames and corner pieces, occasionally adding a central vignette in gold on the front board. In America, publishers and binders followed the stylistic lead of the English.

New patterns of diaper, ribbed and ripple grain cloth appeared in mid-decade, as well as "ribbon embossed" cloth. Produced by the ribbon makers, these distinctive cloths with raised, usually botanical or geometric patterns, lent elegance to the simple bindings of their day. However, because they were sold at ribbon rates and demanded more attention to block well, ribbon embossed cloths were in vogue for a short time, largely disappearing by the early 1840s.

Near the decade's end, the influence of the illustrated novel could be seen as central vignettes became more pictorial. In the coming decades, the trade would begin in earnest to use a book's covers to advertise its content, often drawing scenes or characters out from the pages to meet potential readers.

These two examples of Bradley's work from 1836, one in ribbon-embossed cloth and the other in morocco grained cloth, both use the same frame stamped in blind. Stamped in the central scrolls at the bottom of the frames can be seen "Bradley" and "Binder". The Boston Book, probably intended as a keepsake, has gold and blind stamping on both covers.

These ribbon embossed cloths were probably made by a machine fitted with engraved rollers that impressed the patterns while the cloth was on the bolt.