Book cover design is the final creative stage While publishing a book. This is because the final edited version of the book controls almost everything related to the structure of a book cover: the number of pages, trim size, and paper color; all determine the dimensions of a book cover. There is no point in designing a book cover before completing the concluding draft. Doing so will make you do everything again.
No matter if you are an author who does publishing on your own or if you are a self-reliant publisher, before designing a book cover, you need to know about your potential readers. Research at least twenty books that fall in your category and analyze each element in the design – fonts, front cover, picture, back cover, layout, etc. Make notes on every cover. Once you are done with your research, you are all set to start your book cover design.
Tips to Create Successful Book Cover Design
- Cover Design and Layout:
The cover of the book consists of images and texts. To get the correct layout, you need to consider what message, idea, or feeling you want your book cover designs to convey. Whatever message you choose to display, make sure that it is supported by every aspect – from colors and images to fonts and text. For instance, if you want to depict romanticism, the key design element can probably be an image with dual meaning. If genre revolves around mystery, you may like a clever title to rule and shadowy and vague image to support. Or, if you are a well-known author, you might want your audience to know that this is your book. Make your byline the largest one then.
- Front Cover:
They say an image is worth a thousand words. But when it comes to front covers, it is worth more than a thousand words! The front cover gives a chance to exemplify the whole story and prepare readers to get the greatest impact out of a story. It is basically clean marketing. It provides a great opportunity to catch the attention of readers. Title, subtitle, author’s name, pictures, and background images are some of the crucial elements of a front cover.
Out of all the elements, images are debatably the most significant element in a book cover design. For your cover, choose illustrations, graphics, and pictures that attract the attention of the audience by perfectly conveying what a book is all about. You can make a statement with plain colors as well.
In every type of design, typography plays a crucial role. It has the power to communicate more than a plain text. If a font is not good, it can turn off the potential customers. Therefore, you need to choose the typography that matches your content. For instance, if your book is based on a romantic theme, you may choose to go with a flowy font. If your book is based on adventure or drama, you may choose to go with bold fonts. Before finalizing the typography, make sure you do not choose fonts that are too fancy as they can have an impact on readers’ emotions.
Step into your reader’s shoes and think like them. The title of a book is the foremost and sometimes the only thing that people read. Therefore, aim for clarity not cleverness.
Subtitles are used only when authors want to elaborate more about what the book is all about. If you want to add a subtitle, make sure it complements the title and adds further descriptive detail appropriately. If you are going for e-publishing, try to add the most searched keywords that are not included in your title.
- Back Cover:
Now that your front cover has convinced readers that your book is indeed worth looking into, keep them hooked with the back cover. Try to capture their attention with a compelling design, persuading them to finally buy your book. Typically, potential buyers check out the back cover of a book for at least a minute. If they feel satisfied, they will quickly flip the pages of the book and walk towards the cashier counter to purchase it.
- Description or panel copy:
The most crucial part of the back cover is the description of the book. Therefore, it should briefly encapsulate and highlight the main features of your book; just like the trailer of a movie. It should explain to readers what they can expect from your book and why they should read it.
- Your author bio:
Your author bio matters! For some, it may look like a few lines or just a self-promotional copy, but it’s more than that. A lot of thought processes go into writing an author bio as it can make or break the overall appearance in front of the readers. While writing your author bio, try to keep it short. If, for instance, your book is based on a fictional story, communicate your personality and define your latest achievements. If your book is based on a non-fictional story, then set credentials to define yourself and your latest work.
Often treated as an afterthought, the spine is basically a kind of concentrated book cover. A lot of physical bookstores don’t have the space to display books cover-side forward. This is where the spine plays an important role. The spine can be used to display the book title and author’s name. While designing the spine, avoid using fonts that are difficult to read. Take care of the size of the font as well. Don’t make it too big or too small. If you want to make your book stand out on retailers’ shelves, design your spine interesting and colorful. Again, while choosing the color, understand the color psychology as different colors have different meanings, and just like typography, colors too impact the emotions and behavior of people.
- Cover Types:
Book covers are usually divided into two categories: hardcover (casebound) and softcover (paperbound). Hardcovers sometimes come with paper covers, which are usually known as case wraps or dust jackets. Paperbound books are typically covered in printed heavyweight paper. Both these cover types serve common purposes: act as an advertisement, identify the book, build a mood or feeling for potential customers, and communicate other USP to potential buyers.
In a world where the competition is increasing every single day, people have no choice but to judge a book by its cover. Therefore, nailing the perfect cover is more critical now than ever before. So follow these tips, create a cover that does justice to your book, and encourage readers to pick up yours among hundreds of other books. To explore designs for your book cover, you can visit Designhill – a prominent marketplace that has thousands of freelance professional graphic designers globally.
Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplaces. She has authored several blogs, articles, and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing, and e-commerce.