There is this common saying – Don’t always judge a book by its cover, people accept the saying but do otherwise consciously, unconsciously and subconsciously. Yes, the title of a book plays an important role in attracting readers but the cover design plays a more important role.
When designing the cover of your book, you need to bear in mind that it will be among several other books in the bookstore. It could be among hundreds of books in the same genre. So, you need to design your book cover in such a way that it will stand out and attract attention. It is after a prospective buyer picks it that he or she will now see the title. The exception to this rule is when a buyer already has a particular book in mind.
When you stumble on a book, only two things will make you decide to read it or ignore it – The cover design and the title. Here are a few tips that would make your book cover design the “bomb”.
- Genre matters
When designing a book cover, you need to start by considering the genre. The cover image used for a novel should be different from the one used for educational material. For example, for a book on mathematics, a little play of figures will be appropriate cover image.
- Have your target audience in mind
In designing the cover of your book, you should think about the likely readers. For a book meant for kids between 3 and 7 years, you need to make use of a combination of several bright and catchy colors with colorful images. These will make the book very attractive. Suffice to say this will be a ridiculous idea if the book is meant for teenagers or full grown adults. Secondly, ladies find pink irresistible. If the book is strictly for ladies, feminine colors like pink should be used. On the other hand, if it is for men, avoid making use of a combination of colors. One or two is okay. And dark colors should be the best. Since a dark color gives a touch of masculinity. You can’t go wrong with either an all black cover or white cover.
- Easily legible title
The title of the book should be bold and clear. It should be legible from a distance. To achieve this, there should be a good contrast between the color of font and the background color of the book cover. Not only that, if the book is meant for adults, you should avoid fanciful fonts. It depicts lack of seriousness to adults. Examples of fonts to avoid are Papyrus and Comic Sans. Also another suggestion would be to not use of more than two fonts on the whole book cover.
- The design has to be unique
To avoid legal issues, stay away from using copyrighted symbols and images. Your image has to be as unique as possible. To this end, it is not advisable to even use design found on any Microsoft application image templates or clip arts. Really, nothing is wrong with it. In fact, that is what the clip arts are meant for. The problem is that it could be seen as lack of creativity.
- Use proper illustration
Wherever necessary, you can make use of illustrated photos or images on the cover of the book. It often attracts attention to a book more than the title itself. In fact you could make your illustrative image incorporate the message and the title so it will merely call maximum attention to the illustration.
- Try to avoid clichés in your title
Sometimes you may think using common words will attract readers more. It is true to an extent. But that is if you can draw the line between a common word and a cliché. If not, it is better to completely avoid using common words as it has a way of sending a wrong signal to prospective readers that idea and message in the book will likely be something they have come across several times before.
- Compare several design ideas
The more cover designs you come across the more ideas you have. So, you need to do a quick research on cover designs of books that belong to the same genre as yours. Select best-sellers within your genre and look at the kind of designs they have. Needless to say cover design would have played an enormous role in the success of the books.
- Create more than one design
To get one good design, you need to create three to four designs that are suitable for your book and select the best thereafter. This is much better than just creating one design. When it comes to situations like this, individual differences will definitely come into play. The design that appears to be the best in your own opinion may not really be the best generally. This is why you should select a few people to judge. Thereafter, you can make use of the design with the highest number of votes.
- Subject your design to constructive criticism
You also need a handful of publishing professionals to critique your design before you make use of it. Sometimes you may not be able to see the faults in your own work. This is why you should allow experienced individuals to point them out for you. Definitely, working on their critiques (if any) will make your design a fantastic one.
- Outsource it if you can
Finally, if you can afford it, you should outsource the design of you book cover to an expert. No matter how hard you try, you can’t outperform someone who does it as a profession.
I love to go places I’ve never been, try things I’ve never done, and get better at the things I love doing everyday. Striving to expanding my knowledge, awareness, and experience remains my focus and when I’m not on the computer chipping away at this brick of ice my time is spent reading, cooking, hiking, traveling, learning, being with family, brainstorming, listening to music, researching, the list goes on …
I attended school at Central Michigan University in 2013 but after 2 months I decided to drop out and pursue book cover design full-time. Currently I operate out of Grand Rapids, Michigan and have been living here for the past 20 years.