5 Tips for Designing Great Book Covers

While reading enthusiasts insist that we shouldn’t judge a book by its covers, publishers claim differently and offer statistics to support their statements. According to the experts, a great cover is a book’s number one asset for effective marketing. With an overcrowded market and a growing number of self-publishing writers, a captivating book cover really does make a huge difference. If opting for an independent publishing path, here’s an opportunity to learn more about how to lure readers with a dazzling, yet sophisticated cover design.


  1. Be Readable, Noticeable and Unique

Being a limitless source of inspiration, a writer’s imagination is easily translatable to the visual segment of a book. Still, don’t let your avant-garde dreams carry your focus away – instead of getting excited about elaborate artwork, try to think simple! Certainly, the book cover should represent your master piece in both a scholarly and an intriguing way, but that still doesn’t mean that it should be unreadable. Even if your publication does reach bookstore shelves, it’s more likely that people will first notice it in one of the virtual ones. For no other reason but visibility, make your book cover easily readable even in its thumbnail form. Opt for a large and striking title and use fonts that are not styled too convolutedly.

  1. Start Simple, Dream Big


To visually express the idea behind your book, focus on its main motif and use it as a base to build the symbolic presentation further on. Be a reoccurring element of the story, a place that characters dramatically reach at the end, or simply a background tone that follows them through their way, such a motif can be a convenient tool for emphasizing your ideas on the cover and suggesting them to a potential reader. Think about the genre, the subject and the ambience and try to include them all in your artwork – if your hints are easy enough to pick up, the reader will be interested in the story even before reading its synopsis.

  1. Get Creative but Stay Smart

Once you accept the technical rules, designing a book cover might be a chance to express your inner philosopher with more than just words. There are, however, a couple of artwork designs you should definitely avoid – it’s been a long time since clipart T-shirt forms and rainbow gradients began looking amateurish and tacky. Also, try not to go overboard with the color palette. In essence, the simpler and more general your initial concept is, the easier it will be to realize it. Do some research in your local bookshop to get a grip of the cover art scene and consider online libraries with quality stock photography, like iStockPhoto and Pexels.

  1. Entice Imagination


However proud of your main characters, try not to expose them too much. Even if you somehow find a stock image that matches the unique portrait of your leading star, remember that fiction is all about imagination and that most readers do prefer a bit of vagueness before they actually open their covers. Instead of revealing every little detail right away, choose a silhouette, a close-up of an enticing body detail or a symbol to ignite the mind’s eye.

  1. Find a Symbolic Hint

Just like characters, specific scenes are difficult to depict. However masterly your writing skills may be, a book scene always proposes more than meets the eye, which is why it’s important to respect your reader’s power of imagination. If you have your mind set on using a place, setting and mood in which your story culminates for cover art, try staying obscure and symbolic. A minimal design is simply the best solution for translating abstract ideas to the visual form, and the symbolism it always suggests will certainly arouse your reader’s curiosity and intrigue them to learn more about what it really represents. Intricate or not, a well-written story can always be explained with one essential notion. Contemplate the symbolism behind the camera on the cover of Orwell’s 1984 or the significance of a chess board in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black and try pinpointing the same visual metaphor for your story.

With an observant mind and a bit of creativity, a great book cover is not so hard to devise. Simply consider it as another phase of your creative process – the ingenuity and uniqueness of your storytelling should be extended and easily readable, even for the pickiest of book worms.

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