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We’re all guilty of it. You’re in a bookstore browsing and a beautiful and intriguing cover can’t help but catch your eye. You just can’t resist picking it up.

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but sight is one of our main senses, and it’s impossible to ignore the pull of an enticing design.

Keep reading to learn nine of the most important tips about how to design a book cover. 

1. Research Your Genre

The cover for a romantic drama won’t look the same as an informational guidebook, nor should it! The best way to figure out how to design a book cover to fit your genre is to look at successful books already published in the genre.

It’s also important to research the pricepoint of books within your genre and to remember that certain genres sell better as paperbacks while others are more successful in hardback. Do your research and create your cover accordingly.

2. Where Will Your Book Be Sold and Who Will Be Buying It?

Think about where your book will be sold. If you’re considering a design that will work as either an eBook or a printed version, you’ll need bold text that catches the eye as people quickly scroll.

However, if you’re going to be selling a print book, a smaller title with a more artful cover could do the trick. Additionally, think about who your book is aimed at. Older readers will prefer books that emphasize text size, while a younger crowd might be more enticed by a certain color palette. 

3. Understand the Elements of a Cover

Don’t forget – a cover has at least three mandatory parts! It’s not just the front of the book that needs to catch the eye, the spine and the back cover need to pull in the reader. 

You also need to consider what sort of graphic, photograph, or solid color will be used on your cover design. Fun and colorful graphics will convey a very different message than a black and white photograph with white text. 

Whatever you choose, make sure it looks professionally done. Check out Tip 7 to understand what your design tool options are.

4. What Do You Want Your Book Cover to Convey

Is your book a mystery? Then you want your book cover to ask a question of a reader, not to answer it. Is it a self-help book? Large and friendly letters will make the reader feel more comfortable.

Your book cover is the essence of your book in visual form.

If you had to pick one word or phrase to describe your book, what would it be? Then the challenge is to turn this into a visual message by creating some deeper imagery.

5. Fonts Convey Meaning

Now that you have an idea about the meaning that you want your cover to convey, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. 

Different fonts convey different meanings. There’s a lot of psychological research done for marketing purposes about what reactions different fonts evoke in the reader. Modern Serif conveys an air of luxuriousness while Italicizing something implies motion. Depending on the subject and message of your book, one font will work better than another. 

You can also manipulate the font to match your message. The book, The Girl on the Train is a great example of a book cover that uses typography to convey a message. The font has a motion blur effect which gives the reader a sense of being on a train, making the book seem even more thrilling when the message on the cover reads, “You don’t know her. But she knows you.”

Keep researching your favorite book covers and look at the individual elements to inspire your own designs and make them stand out.

6. Colors Convey Meaning

Color theory is a well-studied area of psychology and although you might think that it’s only something marketers use, you are marketing your book, so it’s vital to do your own color theory research.

In doing research on your genre, you likely already have an idea of what colors are generally used. You don’t have to match the genre exactly, but you want to stand out without looking like your book is in the wrong section. 

Be sure to keep up to date on book cover trends. Simply a quick google of “book cover trends 2020” will show you some of the current and most popular designs. It’s great to include some trendy elements, but a timeless look can also last well throughout the years and you won’t have to worry about a complete redesign for some time.

7. Understand Your Design Tools

If you really want to make sure that your design is the best it can be, look into hiring a designer. There are many freelancers and companies that can help walk you through the book cover designing process.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of free and affordable tools that can also help. Canva is a resource with easy to use design tools, although your book cover might end up looking a bit similar to others if you stick with the design templates. 

Adobe’s Indesign and Photoshop are used by professionals, but you could always try the free trial and get your design done quickly.

8. Get Feedback

You’ve spent weeks if not months working on creating the perfect cover. But sometimes staring at something a little too long can skew our vision. Get feedback on your work by asking friends and family who are part of the audience to which you intend to sell.

9. Check Printing Requirements

When you begin the process to get your book printed and bound, be sure to do research on design aspects, such as page bleeds and crop marks, that your printer needs in order to turn your dream book cover into a reality.

Now That You Know How to Design a Book…

It’s time to get excited! You’ve created your design and written your masterpiece, all that remains is to get it into a beautifully bound book, without costing an arm and a leg.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our printing services. Happy designing!