Last updated on October 24th, 2018
Books are the source of knowledge. But they should also be treated as products that need to be sold through a marketing strategy. Therefore, a book cover should be attractive, unique, and purposeful. A memorable book cover design catches the buyers’ attention and helps the book stand out from the many titles in a bookstore.
One of the concerns of many authors when publishing their books is about its design. They are worried whether or not the cover looks attractive and unique. Publishers also share the same concern. Therefore, they all pay attention to the ways to create unique covers of a book. Right from the title to the other elements of the book, every minute detail is taken into account before sending a book to the market.
Your book is among one of the millions of books already available in a market. In the U.S alone, the book publishing industry is worth around 113 billion dollars. According to Wikipedia, the U.S publishes more than 304,912 new titles and re-editions each year.
These stats can overwhelm any author. A new author may have doubts about his/her identity and recognition going through such intimidating statistics. But do not worry. If the content of a book is extraordinary, well-written and presented, and relevant and useful, it will be eventually be noticed. But most importantly, cover design of a book must stand out. The design must catch the attention of the buyers from a distance when he/she visits a bookstore.
We all know that readers scan a product through their eyes to gauge its quality and other features. They look for some surprises and yarn for it. They want to purchase a book that they can proudly hold in hands. For many of the readers, a book is also a way to show off their personality.
So, they want to have a book that looks great in their hands when holding it on the subway. Plenty of books are published each year. Your book cover, therefore, should look unique and it must stand out if you want it to be noticed immediately in a bookstore.
Here Are Some Key Tips To Make A Perfect Book Cover Design
Table of Contents
01. Ask Relevant Questions
First and foremost, before starting the design work, you should be getting right answers to some key questions. Ask who is the author and know more about his or her background. What is the author’s brand. Find out if the book is first from the author or he/she is an established and trusted writer.
Has the author published books in his or her name earlier? What is the genre? Is it a science fiction, romance, thriller, horror, fantasy, etc. All such genre have different styles of book cover design. Similarly, literary books have different styles of cover design that define high-quality writing.
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02. Know About The Target Market Of The Book
It is very important to know the target customers and market of the book. For example, the author may intend to sell the book to e-readers only and want to avoid print format completely. In that case, the book cover design will be different in style and purpose.
A professional book cover design for selling on the web is created for visibility as the book will be sold on the platforms like Amazon as a thumbnail. An online reader or consumer will scroll down hundreds of titles on a computer screen. On the other hand, a print book sits on a shelf of a bookstore where consumers can physically pick the book, feel it in hands and flip through it.
03. Pay Attention To Graphics
Another tip on how to design a book cover is to make sure that you do not forget the graphics. A book cover contains a large amount of graphic information, which includes a logo of the publishing company and barcodes that help in selling a book from the stores.
04. Decide On The Format And Copy
Choose the book format. These formats include hardback, paperback or casebound. When designing for hardbacks, cover images are printed on the boards. Keep the size of the book in mind. Books come in a wide range of sizes. The copy includes back cover copy, front copy, author bio/photo, endorsements, and blurbs.
05. Consider Budget
A graphic designer must first know the budget for publishing a book. If a book cover design cost is not kept under the budget, additional costs can increase the financial burden. Remember that the design costs include purchasing the font licenses, ISBN identifier and barcode, stock images, and other costs.
06. Know The Author’s Vision
Before designing book cover, talk to the author to know what he/she has in mind about the design. Most authors have a certain image of their book cover design. This is because they know the content inside very well. As you talk to them, you get some design direction. So, instead of copying the book design ideas from other book covers, consider taking inputs from the author.
You should also visit a local bookstore. Handle some books there and feel them in your hands to know what paper thickness and material works better for a book. What cover designs suit to what types of books and get such tips. Make notes and consider them when designing your book cover.
07. Lay Emphasis On A Particular Element
What should be the main element of the story you want to depict through your book cover design? Once you have decided on the story, you need to pick an element of it to lay it over the design predominantly. This is done to catch the attention of the buyer. The buyer can instantly know the content of the book this way. So, pick the most important element of your story and emphasize on it in the cover design. But do not make the design look like a cheap copy.
Keep in mind that the author may be looking forward to writing a sequel or continuing with the title in more such stories in the future. So, in that case, the cover design should be able to accommodate and hold the future titles. This means that there should not be a need to change the cover design drastically.
Similarly, if the author is a brand name in the market, the emphasis might be on designing the letters of the name itself. But make sure that whichever design you choose to create, it must stand out amongst a host of titles on a bookshelf.
08. Pick Right Fonts And Graphics
Another thing to consider about book covers is, it should be designed with great fonts and graphics. The designer should create a cover that is in line with the writer’s wild imagination. Many book covers feature abstract design. Others have illustrations. Some of the covers have a photograph. In fact, modern cover design features a wide range of things including cartoons and typography.
Consider a graphic style that is unique, expresses the book’s content, and is memorable as well. What message does your graphic design intends to send to the buyer? A soft typography should be used in natural settings. A mismatch of fonts and the book content will confuse the buyers. So, if your book is about women, use soft fonts. If the book is on some machines, use strong and bold typeface.
09. Meet The Printer’s Requirement
When sending your book cover design to a printer, you need to consider sending a large file. The file would be containing the entire gamut of graphic design along with text details. The file should have the design of the front and back covers. It should also have the design of the spine and flaps.
Many printers prefer files such as .eps or .ai. But others like to have the graphic designs in PDFs of high-quality. You may also be required to send the cover design file that is in full bleed. This implies that the images and other elements you used in the design should be extending beyond the trim line. In other words, there should not be any white margin left. Since every printer is different and there are many industry standards in this regard, it is better to first consult your printer before sending the file.
10. Feedback Matters
After you have created your ideal and great book cover design, do not take it as a final thing. That egoist approach may not contribute much to the design. Instead, move out and approach the author first. Know his/her views about the cover design. If you find the author’s suggestions worth considering then go ahead and do the design or tweak it. Take the design to the outsiders also. Take the design to your followers on social media page and ask them to give their opinion.
So, these are the key book cover design tips you should consider. If you are a book cover designer or even an author, a way to source many cover design ideas is to crowdsource the work. Crowdsourcing platforms like Designhill will let you have dozens of new design concepts from many graphic designers.
An ideal book cover design is the one based on research. Know about the author and his/her vision of the design. You should have some insight on who are the buyers and where will the book be sold. A cover design for physical book will be different than a ebook cover. The design should tell the story and its one element should be emphasised across the front and back cover. Choose perfect fonts and graphics. Pay heed to the printer’s requirement as well. Do not forget to get feedback from experts and your peers.