Throw yourself back to the last time you were in a bookstore (albeit this may have been a while ago due to circumstances around COVID-19 and the rise of online bookstores). What was it that made you pick up a book to consider reading? Was it due to impactful book cover design?

We bet you anything it was the cover design.
It’s well known that readers mostly shop with their eyes. The cover is ultimately a sales tool and this blog will give you some guidance on how to create a cover that also makes you sales, whilst still capturing the amazing work inside of the book.

Here are a few cover design examples that show how contrast and consideration of typography style allow the title to be easily read.

Good imagery choices

With self-publishing becoming a rising method, you’d be surprised with the amount of authors who use images from websites such as Google without paying for them. Although it may seem like the easiest option, it’s illegal and you don’t want to get caught in the mess of having to pay for damages.

There are plenty of free options like Pexels or Pixabay that offer high-quality, free of use stock images. If you are looking for more specific or a wider choice of imagery, you could use websites such as Alamy, Shutterstock or Getty images. These offer affordable, high quality stock imagery that doesn’t break the bank. Plus they have millions of images to choose from, so it would be a hard push to find something you don’t like!

Software choices

Book cover designs can be created in any medium you like, however when it comes to self-publishing you’re going to need to convert the cover into digital format one way or another. You can essentially use any graphic software to do this, but more free or online software is usually limited to template layouts. This could be a negative as your cover may come out looking like somebody elses, or rather generic. Professional tools like the Adobe Suite would be a great software to use, but this requires training and a much steeper learning curve.

Good typography

As your book cover design will be a combination of elements that makes it the pièce de résistance, you need to make sure every little detail is perfect. This is why the typography you use matters – not only does it give detail into what your book’s genre is or what it entails, but it also gives off a sense of professionalism above other covers who have not considered typography well. When choosing your font, go for one that brings excitement to your cover or adds to the feel of it as opposed to choosing one which is boring in terms of style and the only real purpose its serving is to be legible.

When the elements complement each other

When you look at a book cover and take time to discover its properties, you’ll realise that there’s more to it than text and a background image.

It’s a composition. There’s harmony between the elements that complement each other in multiple ways. There isn’t just a front cover (unless you’re designing for just an eBook, that is) to be taken into consideration; there’s also the back cover and spine to think about too.

Pick up your favourite read and take a good look at its cover. Do you see how all of the elements were designed to complement and work together? Take a look at a few more covers for research.

Here’s a few examples we’ve chosen to highlight the use of bad typography, which makes it hard to read against the busier backgrounds.

When the cover design is clear and concise

The majority of the book covers online are also viewed at thumbnail size so it’s important to keep this in mind. A cover that is too crowded with detail, or has a title too small may not stand out. Also ensure that both the cover typography and imagery work together in harmony, as sometimes the typography can get lost if the background is too busy. Choose a typeface that contrasts against the background, and doesn’t require a drop shadow to ensure it’s legible.

Leaving it to the professionals

Another beneficial factor of choosing to go for a custom book cover design is the quality of service that you get with doing so. Being able to choose every single detail on your book cover through communicating with your designer means everything can be done your way. A designer will be happy to work alongside you, giving your cover that attention to detail that might be missed when using a self-service or pre-made book cover. Having a custom book cover designed means that you’ve always got a designer who is there on standby to ensure your book cover design is provided in the correct file format and is art-worked to meet strict requirements.