Book Cover Design: All the Tips You Need to Know

We’ve all heard the classic saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” right? But let’s be honest. Even though we use this phrase to emphasize not basing our opinion on people or things solely by their appearance, the truth is, people do judge books by their covers, and it’s hard not to.

Years ago, publishing a book was much more challenging than it is today. Self-publishing did not exist, and authors had to rely on publishers in hopes of getting a deal. For that reason, getting a deal with a publisher was a requirement for most authors.

However, in today’s digital age, there are numerous websites where authors can post their stories, even for free. With the vast number of books available, it has become crucial to stand out from the rest. In a world that moves faster than ever, the average reader often won’t even read the synopsis of a book if they don’t like its cover.

But don’t despair! Designing a good book cover is not as difficult as it may sound. Still, it requires creativity, understanding of the target audience, and attention to detail. In this article, I will provide you with some valuable tips to help you create the best possible book cover. So, let’s get started!

Why is Book Cover Design Important?

Book cover design encompasses everything that a reader sees on your book cover. It’s more than just an image; it includes vital information such as the author’s name and the book’s title. All this information needs to be both understandable and visually appealing to the public.

One of the most crucial aspects of your book cover design is its ability to engage the reader. This may seem simple, but it requires careful consideration. For example, if your book is about space cowboys, your cover should convey that idea. Otherwise, you may attract an audience that isn’t necessarily interested in your story.

Tips to Make a Good Book Cover:

Designing a good book cover depends on several factors. Throughout this article, I will provide tips from designers and authors. However, keep in mind that these are not set rules but rather recommendations that have worked for others and may work for you too. Let’s dive in!

1. Make Your Title Stand Out:

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many book covers I’ve seen where the title is barely visible. As a rule of thumb, designers recommend making the title larger than the author’s name. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If you are a well-known author like J.R.R. Tolkien, for example, the designer may choose to emphasize your name above the title.

Moreover, there should be a focal point on your cover that grabs the reader’s attention. Ideally, this focal point should be the title, displayed in large, easily readable letters. It’s also important to ensure that the title looks good even when viewed on a small screen, such as a phone.


2. Be Careful with Colors and Fonts:

In addition to making the title more prominent, consider using colors and fonts that make it stand out from the background image. The title should be easy to distinguish and read. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask, “What do I feel when I see the cover of my book? Would I be compelled to read it based on its appearance?” Thinking like your audience is helpful not only when writing but also when designing.

Similarly, make sure the overall visual experience of your cover is pleasant, ensuring easy readability and recognition. Limit your use of fonts to two or three to maintain a cohesive design.

Another tip regarding the font color? To ensure legibility, the color of the title should stand out from the background image.

3. Give Your Audience What It Wants:

Almost as important as a well-designed title is an image on your cover that appeals to your target audience. As a writer, you should have a good understanding of what your audience likes. If you’re uncertain, research other successful books in your genre and analyze their covers. What elements make them appealing? Find ways to incorporate similar ideas while maintaining your unique touch.

Keep in mind, while it’s crucial to consider the preferences of your target audience, it’s also essential to balance that with your storytelling and creativity.

4. Search for Book Covers in Your Genre:

While it’s essential to find inspiration and understand the trends in your genre, it’s crucial not to directly copy other book covers. Instead, analyze successful covers to identify elements that resonate with your readers. This will give you a sense of what works and help you create a unique cover that captures the essence of your story.

5. Think of Your Book Cover as a Whole:

A book cover is not just a collection of elements slapped together. It’s a composition that should work harmoniously to create an enticing visual. Consider how the image, title, and author name interact with each other. Experiment with different arrangements until you find the one that best represents your book and catches the reader’s eye.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Keep It Simple:

Sometimes, less is more. A clean and simple design can be just as effective as an elaborate one. Minimalist covers with subtle hints about the story can spark curiosity and intrigue readers. Remember, the goal is to entice readers to pick up your book, not to tell the entire story on the cover.


7. Learn About Visual Design Composition:

While hiring a professional designer is advisable, having a basic understanding of design principles is essential. It will help you effectively communicate with the designer and provide valuable feedback. Familiarize yourself with concepts like balance, color theory, and typography. This knowledge will elevate your collaboration with the designer and result in a better book cover.

8. Accept Suggestions:

Creating a book cover is a collaborative process between the writer and the designer. Both parties bring their expertise to the table. Don’t shy away from suggestions and feedback from your designer. Their insights can lead to significant improvements. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create a cover that appeals to readers and represents your book accurately.


Designing an effective book cover is crucial in today’s competitive literary market. By implementing the tips outlined in this article, you can create a visually appealing cover that captivates your target audience. Remember to make your title stand out, be careful with colors and fonts, understand your audience, search for inspiration within your genre, think of your cover as a whole, consider simplicity, learn about visual design composition, and be open to suggestions. With these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to creating an exceptional book cover that entices readers to dive into your story.

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Happy writing, fellow writers!

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