Guest Post by Joshua Jadon
Your book cover is the very first thing your readers will connect with. Long before they read your synopsis or peruse the first chapters, readers connect first and foremost with the imagery that adorns your front cover. A good book cover design will make the difference between your book being picked up by passersby in a store or being overlooked in favor of more popular titles.
Is there a secret formula to creating an eye-catching book cover design?
Not really. The principles of design will go a long way towards making your book land in the hands of readers, but you can make a great design out of almost anything. There are no magic formulas that say that a certain amount of text versus imagery will work better.
But there are a few things you can do to tweak your book cover in under an hour. If you already have the basics of your design, take a look at these five ways to improve your book cover design quickly and easily.
1. Use contrasting colors. You don’t necessarily want to make your book look like a Christmas card with splashes of red and green all over the front, but a pop of contrasting colors can go a long way. Colors that contrast are famous for capturing the eye and drawing attention quickly and easily. Perhaps the most popular contrasting color combination is yellow and black.
You may be able to make this combination work with your book cover design by adding a shadow behind typography or modifying the shades in an existing image. Both of these should be fairly quick modifications in a photo editing program.
2. Add a little movement.
If your cover features a heavy amount of text, consider adding a little movement to capture the eye. Consider reshaping your text with an arch or a fun swirly pattern to force the eye to move around your book cover design. When the eye has something to keep it interested, readers are more apt to take a deeper look at both the book cover and the contents within.
If the primary focal point of your cover is typography, considering varying the spacing and sizing of each word to add variety and visual interest. You can even create movement through the use of varying fonts between words. More important or significant words might have a larger, bolder font style while articles and prepositions might have a thinner italicized font.
If you have a picture or image on your book cover, the words should nicely frame any images to direct the eye downward (or upward) to view the rest of the book cover. The highest point of the arc should be opposite of where your image is.
3. Don’t overwhelm them with details.
If the imagery on your cover has a lot of fine details that are starting to look overwhelming, it might be time to find a new way to present your images to the masses. If it doesn’t make your design indistinguishable, a good idea might be to simply blur the details. This allows you to keep the colors and some of the detail with some softer edges and a less busy appearance.
Photo editing programs allow you to control the amount that you want to blur specified areas. Start with a lighter blur and work your way up to a heavier one depending on the level of detail, amount of color involved, and the overall size of your book cover design.
Alternatively, if the background of your book cover design was only a flat color, consider adding splashes of other colors and blurring them together. This will create a beautiful complementary color scheme that is visually interesting while still appearing fresh and clean.
4. Less is more.
Have too many things going on with your book cover to blur out a few details? It might be time to pare it down to a much simpler structure. Sure, you spent hours painstakingly crafting that intricate ink drawing, but if it has 100 pieces to it, there may be too much going on.
Make a few sacrificial cuts on the imagery and text located on your front cover and then rearrange things. Do you need a review on the front cover if you already have a lengthy title and subtitle? If your image is significantly larger and more noticeable than your title, it might be time to make a few modifications or cuts. See if simplifying the cover works better for your overall design. It may allow readers to focus more on the content of the story than on the detailed artwork that adorns it.
5. Make sure your text is clear.
The internet offers an abundance of font options for your book cover, not all of which are the best choice. Just because the font looks beautiful and intricate doesn’t mean that your readers will want to spend the time trying to interpret it.
Change the text on your book cover to a very clear, easy-to-read font. Readers should not have to pause to be able to read it or guess at what the words are saying. Simple fonts with clean, straight lines and wide lettering are often best. Try exchanging scripted fonts for clearer ones to give yourself a bolder title and better book cover design that will be more easily accessible to your readers.
Making a few alterations to your book cover doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be done in less than an hour if you have the know-how and the programs at your disposal. There is no magic answer for how to create a phenomenal book cover, and it isn’t rocket science either. You can improve your book cover design in just 60 minutes for a stunning and improved visual that is sure to draw in your readers!