What Makes an Ideal Book Cover?


“Book cover art is the literature that wraps your literature”, says Author, designer Dave Bricker. It is the cover that binds together the narrative of the book and intelligently displays what lays inside. Evidently, the book cover plays the role of impressing readers and impressing them enough to purchase the book.

An attractive book cover works as one of the most important marketing tools of the entire publishing process. The interest that covers generate in readers encourages them to pick the book off the stands and investigate further.

The book cover isn’t expected to give away the entire story or provide the illustrator’s editorial viewpoint with a single look at it. However, the positive impact that it imparts via a unique perspective results in a significant rise in sales.

Thus, a good book cover is expected to meet readers’ expectations while leading to higher sales. However, if that does not happen, then even the most exceptionally stunning designs have failed to serve their purpose.

This brings us to the question of what the “ideal” book cover looks like. Or what is required from a well-designed book cover?

Defining the Book Cover

Picture showing elements of a book cover

Designing a book cover consists of merging together pictures and text to create a visually appealing representation. The layout and body of the basic book cover follow a similar pattern, which can be further changed according to subjective requirements.

According to designer Karla Lant, to achieve the perfect layout, “You need to think about the single message you want your cover design to communicate.” This idea, when conveyed perfectly sets the tone for an attractive book cover.

The basic structure of a book cover includes the following:

•    Front Cover – imagery, typography, title, subtitle, etc.

•    Back Cover – Description of the book.

•    Book reviews and endorsements – The author biography.

•    Spine.

What Makes a Good Book Cover?

A book cover assures the reader that the book is indeed worth their time. While it may be said that the cover has nothing to with a reader’s choice, this is a myth. It is the uniqueness of a cover that draws the reader to the book. This relies on the book cover designer’s ability to capture the book’s image on the cover in “some fundamental and perhaps unforeseen way”, says renowned book cover artist Peter Mendelsund.

There are certain elements that differentiate an average book cover from a good one. These elements help recognize the selling capacity of the book based on the response to its cover.

Important Elements of a Book Cover

  • Stock Image – When choosing a relevant stock image for a book cover, the designer must understand what pictures would work and what wouldn’t. Readers want covers that give them a taste of what awaits them inside the book before even turning open the first page. All this has to be done while not revealing anything about the plot. The reader thus expects an intriguing cover.
  • Genre Specific – One important element involves designing the book cover in accordance with the requirements of the genre. When selecting a book in a particular genre category, the reader comes with certain expectations. And in order to make a particular book stand out, the book cover design must strive for uniqueness and relevance to the genre on hand.
  • Professionalism – The imagery of the cover needs to convey professionalism to the reader. It needs to maintain a certain standard since amateurish covers can put readers off and hence, reduce the chances of the book selling well.
  • Flow – It is important to maintain flow while designing the cover. It gives a sense of balanced synchronization and prevents the dominance of certain elements over the others.

Frequently Overlooked Elements

Certain technical elements important to the layout of a book cover, are often left out or simply overlooked by designers. However, they add to the overall presentation of the book cover’s design and are hence significant. These elements include:

  • Title – The title of a book often evokes the curiosity of potential readers and hence must stand out, to attract them.
  • Typography – The cover must bear typography that complements the stock images used and the remaining elements. This is one of the most difficult challenges for designers since fonts can often be inappropriate and only the right ones set the book’s tone.
  • Flow – The author’s name and the title should never be in conflict with each other and must contribute to maintaining the flow on the cover.

Things to Avoid While Designing a Book Cover

While a good book cover is easily identifiable, professional designers might make some mistakes that need to be recognized while designing the layout of a cover. These are:

  • Overdoing – Especially with the rise of indie publishing, it has become necessary to make sure that the cover has not been overdone.
  • Minor Yet Significant Errors – Problems such as highlighting the author’s name more than what’s required and using amateurish fonts negatively impact sales.
  • It is important to maintain the professional standard and look of the cover without having to give away the suspense of the story.
  • Readers appreciate being challenged by the cover of the book and that’s what adds to their fascination with it. Thus the reader’s opinions and requirements must be respected while trying something extraordinary on the book cover.

In conclusion, with the rise of options like self-publishing available to the author it becomes important for them to be aware of the choices available to them that can make their work stand out.

The ever-growing designing industry offers indie authors support to gain readers through covers and thus increase sales. Since professionalism is an essential aspect of book covers, it is advisable to consult professional designers, such as Killerbookcovers.com (https://killerbookcovers.com/) who can help impress readers and get them hooked instantly.

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