Book Cover Design Exploring the Professional Artistry

Book Cover Design: Exploring the Professional Artistry

In the competitive world of publishing, captivating readers from the very first glance is essential

While the saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover,” the reality is that an enticing cover plays a pivotal role in drawing readers towards its content. 

Beyond mere aesthetics, the cover has the power to convey the essence of the story, generate intrigue, and create an emotional connection. It is an art of its own, requiring careful consideration of design elements, typography, and imagery. 

In this article, we delve into the significance of book covers and unravel the secrets behind crafting covers that leave a lasting impression. 

I trained as a designer, and based on the knowledge I’ve acquired, I’m going to talk to you about the importance of the design on your book cover.

Here’s the thing, it takes a lot of effort to write a 60,000-word story—an approximate number of words in a novel—only to finish it and, when you want to publish it, make the mistake of creating a book cover on your own without having the appropriate knowledge for it.

Let’s talk about graphic design before talking about the fundamentals of a good book cover design.

Graphic design is not an art as many people think. I’m tired of hearing people referring to Graphic Designers as “artists.”

Graphic design is a means of visual communication through which a message is conveyed using images.

You can read more about graphic design here.

Unlike artists, designers don’t work with emotions or, rather, according to our mood. Because in design, there’s no such thing as beautiful or ugly; there’s only what works and what doesn’t.

As designers, we have to rely on elements, techniques, and concepts that convey a message in an image and are understood by every person who sees it.

It’s not something that can be interpreted in various ways, like a piece of art.

Nowadays, with so much progress and design tools at the click of a button, authors tend to think they can create book covers on their own. And, hey, I’m not saying there aren’t people who understand a bit about harmony in elements, the balance of spaces, the weight they should have according to the role they play in the image, and who know a bit about the proper combination of colors along with a good blend of typography. 

There are people who have the ability to see those things; but the truth is that not everyone does it well. I also have the ability to cut my own hair and bleach it, but it’s obvious that the cut will never be straight or the bleaching without spots.

Because, as my grandmother would say, “Let the cobbler stick to his task.”

That’s it.

You can be self-taught, but you must understand that the cover of your book will truly look professional if you entrust it to a design professional.

However, if you want to keep trying to create covers on your own, here are some recommendations from a design professional.

Your book cover is the “Face” of your work and deserves special attention and care. It will be the first impression the reader takes away and what could catch their attention—or not.

In Design, less is more.

This means that the simpler the image, the easier it will be to understand the message you want to convey with it.

In a 6×9-inch rectangle, you won’t be able to place multiple images to convey what the story is about. I mean, technically, you can, but you need knowledge to integrate those images and create a collage that makes sense for your story.

Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words, and you need to give the reader some clues with the image on your book cover.

So, be careful not to send the wrong message or one that isn’t clear.

Pay attention to the alignment the image should have with the genre of the work, the quality of the image, and special effects.

Here we are talking about the genre in which your work fits. If it’s a romantic novel, it’s of no use to create a mystery-themed cover or vice versa. 

Your book cover should give the reader some clues; hence, it’s important to have a bit of knowledge about color psychology and use appropriate images for the theme.

It is crucial that you take great care in selecting the images you plan to use. The images should be high resolution to avoid those dreaded pixels, especially if your work will also be available in print. And if the quality of the image is crucial, I don’t want to emphasize how SUPER IMPORTANT it is not to overuse special effects in Photoshop.

This is something delicate. Yes, it’s true that there are interesting effects, but be careful; not all of them are appropriate for your cover.

Remember, too many special effects will break what I mentioned before: less is more.

  • Copyright applies to every image. Therefore, take great care to ensure that the photos you use for your book’s cover are not protected by copyright! There are many image banks that specify this in their information; you can find both paid and free options.
  • With paid options, you can select from a large selection of high-quality images. You might have to spend more time looking for the right image in free options, or it might not be of the right quality.
  • It is illegal to use any famous person’s likeness (eyes, mouth, body, etc.) that motivated you to create the physical representation of a character; this includes actors, models, and other public figures.
  • Likewise, do not use images that are marked as being for personal or editorial use only. This means that since your book will be sold, it is a commercial activity and you are not allowed to put the photo on the cover.
  • Make sure the images are allowed for COMMERCIAL USE.
  • If you’re using an illustration created by someone you know, even if you’re not paying for it, remember to credit the illustrator’s name in the work, as well as the name of the designer who created the cover and back cover.

Be cautious about this as well, especially with completely white or black backgrounds.

Remember that in that space, the title of the work and the author’s name will also go. There are colors that simply don’t go well together, and even if combined, they are not functional for the book cover of a specific work.

Regarding typography…

It carries as much weight as the image. Why?

Because it will display the author’s name and the title of the work.

Typography should be legible even from a distance. Your book cover could be displayed in a bookstore’s showcase, and potential buyers are pedestrians passing by on that street. Some will have time to stop and look at the cover; others won’t.

So, the typography should stand out and be easily readable for the human eye to capture quickly.

Spaces within the book cover

  • In this case, the first thing to establish is what we want to emphasize: the author’s name or the title of the work? If we observe the book covers of bestselling authors, the author’s name is larger in size than the title of the work. This isn’t a rule, but it’s what is commonly done because they are promoting a new work by an author who sells whatever due to the fame created by previous works.
  • The author’s first and last names should be together.It’s not advisable to place the name right on the top edge, the last name on the bottom edge, and the title in the center. That doesn’t work. Although I’ve seen books by bestselling authors with this characteristic, it’s not ideal. It’s better not to do it.

It shouldn’t be underestimated because it’s the place where your book’s synopsis will be. With digital books, you don’t have to worry about the back cover, but with printed books, you do.

As a general rule, a reader is initially drawn in by the book cover, and then they pick up the book and turn it around to read the synopsis.

The back cover should be well laid out to coordinate with its counterpart. Preferably, it should have a background that matches or continues from the front cover, and the synopsis should be justified with appropriate line spacing and font size.

The typography should be easy to read, and special care should be taken not to place it on a background that makes reading impossible.

To sum up, the artistry of book cover design plays a pivotal role in captivating readers and igniting their curiosity. With careful consideration of color schemes, typography, and imagery, book cover designers create visual masterpieces that tantalize our senses and evoke a sense of intrigue.

Thus, the expertise and imagination behind book cover design exemplify the artistry that enhances the reading experience. 

Follow this link to see my Custom Book Covers portfolio-ASCStudio Design.

Follow this link to see my Premade Book Covers Store-ASCStudio Design.

Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences with me; I always love to hear from you.

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