Book Cover Design Elements

Book Cover Design Elements


Book cover design

Book cover design is a book’s ultimate marketing tool. It’s like a billboard, its sole purpose being to attract the right readers to your creative masterpiece.

Indie authors are advised over and over again that they should get a professional to design their book covers. And I agree.


Sales tool

Book covers do help readers to make a buying decision because readers do in fact judge a book by its cover.  Readers very often buy a book because of how a cover looks so it’s quite obvious that the cover can make or break your book.

The cover is the first thing a reader sees.

A good cover is a marketing and sales tool because it helps capture a reader’s attention in a crowded marketplace and this can result in getting organic sales.


Attributes of good book cover design

Covers need to:

  • tempt the reader
  • arouse their curiosity
  • capture attention
  • be interesting
  • engaging
  • create an overall ‘feeling’
  • set the tone of a book so that your target audience takes notice.

Not only should a book cover design attract readers it needs to make an impact in small thumbnail size, as well.

5 key elements of book cover design


Book cover design

1.  Layout  

Book covers convey two key pieces of information — the book title (including the sub-title) and the author’s name. These core elements – the title and author’s name – together with imagery are organised in various ways on the cover. This is called layout.

The layout could simply involve the topography for the title and author name and can be the main imagery for the cover itself.  A photograph or some other illustrative material can be added to convey the theme or mood of the book.

The way that these core elements are combined, grouped and sized on the page comprises the layout.

2. Genre 

The genre has to be taken into account with book cover design. The design must be appropriate for the style of the genre.

Whatever genre you are in examine the best selling books in that genre and analyse how the covers have been done.

3. Image 

To help a prospective customer get a good idea and feeling for the book go for a strong focused image.

Create a simple, straightforward image. Avoid anything too fancy or complicated and opt for something that is more minimalist in style.

It’s important that the reader understands the message that is being communicated.

If there are too many elements in a book cover design, readers are not going to know what to focus on. And if they don’t know what to focus on, they are just going to skim over that book and move on to the next one.

When choosing an image for the book’s cover be mindful of copyright. You don’t want to fall into the trap of infringing copyright.

There are free images that you can use from sites like Pixabay, Flickr and Canva but still always check the licencing for any image that you use. Do not take images from Pinterest or Google and be aware that you might need to pay for an image.

4. Colour


Book cover design

Do not use too many colours in a book cover design. Just use two or three colours and colours that complement.

The best and most attractive covers usually only use a maximum of three different colours including black, white, or grey.

5. Font

Fonts can be design elements in themselves. The fonts you choose can be powerful elements that make your book stand out and look the best it can.

So key elements in book cover design are the layout of the core elements, genre suitability, image selection, colour, and font (or typography).


Marji Hill

Author and Coach


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