Although most people don’t think of it in this way, a book cover design is an advertisement for your book. Just as with a good ad campaign, a cover design should include the proper use of color, shapes, and copy (text) to be successful. To begin to understand how to make your own book cover, we should first look at what a book cover design should be, and what it should not be. Keep in mind the rules can change depending on what type of book it is you have written. This information is specifically designed for books which are to be marketed, and not for books such as family histories, or memoirs meant only for limited distribution.
A book cover design should not be a collage of every character, item, or location mentioned in the book. It should not use a specific color only because that color is a personal favorite. It should not consist of a title of more than 5 words.
A cover design should be a representation of the overall point of the book. It should be interesting. It should consist of a short title (5 words or fewer), and a subtitle only when the title is not descriptive enough. It should be a simple design with careful use of color and imagery to draw the reader in.
When properly designed, your book cover should convey the overall theme of your book in a clear and concise way. Studies show prospective buyers will form an opinion of a book in as little as 2 - 3 seconds. If the front cover design is effective, the would-be buyer will then look at the back cover. If the back cover is properly designed, studies show your book will have an 80% chance of being purchased based on the cover design alone. Sometimes a purchase is made without the book even being opened.
Simplicity - Almost all best selling books have one thing in common; a book cover design based on simplicity. With only a few seconds to make an impression, the cover design must be clear and concise. A busy or confusing cover design will result in your book being overlooked.
Selecting the proper title for your book can be a challenge. It should properly sum up the point of the book. Your title should be no longer than 5 words (not including words such as and, the, and or) and should only contain words which are commonly used. If you are having difficulty describing your book in five words or fewer, a subtitle may be used.
Much has been written on the use of color in marketing, and how the proper use of color in your cover design results in increased sales. For example, since the color blue is widely regarded to be the color of trust, a self-help book would benefit from the use of the color blue on it’s cover. If your book is to be marketed specifically to women, the color purple may be a consideration as this is the second most popular color among women (it is not popular at all among men). The following is a summary of the most popular colors, and what they represent:
As with color, the use of shapes can play an important role in the making of an effective cover design. The use of squares or rectangle convey order, stability and trust, while circles convey an idea of completeness. Men strongly prefer the use of squares and rectangles, while women tend to prefer the use of circles and ovals.
It is important to resist the urge to choose a font style because it is your favorite. Font styles each have a personality which can compliment, or be detrimental to your cover design. If you have decided to use two different font styles on your cover, the two fonts should contrast. Using fonts that are only slightly different from each other will be distracting, and take away from the overall design. As well, font sizes should contrast. A subtitle should not be the same size as the main title of your book. An interesting trick which is used is to use a large font size for the author’s name (sometimes larger than the title). This can convey a sense of importance which can lead people to believe you are a well known author. This can improve book sales.
Novelty fonts should not be used as these fonts tend to be difficult to read, and are thought of as unprofessional. Script fonts should be used sparingly in your design as they tend to be difficult to read, although books targeted to women can use script fonts effectively. Some common font styles used in book cover design are:
The common components found on the front cover are the book title, subtitle, author’s name, images (photographic or illustrated) and a background color. A colored banner area is often used to display the title and / or author’s name. A children’s book will often include the name of the illustrator in the lower area of the front cover. Your publishing company logo can also be placed on the front cover as well as the spine of the book if the available area permits.
The back cover usually (but not necessarily always) repeats the colors and theme of the front cover. Other components found on the back cover of a book are as follows:
We provide cover measurements to ensure your cover design is ready for printing. Please contact us to request the proper measurements for your cover.