Common Cover Design Mistakes: Part 2

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1106 Design

May 12, 2010

In this second post in the series,  I’ll discuss another cover design mistake often made by new publishers

Cover Design Mistake #2: Creating a cover that is too busy. This mistake happens when you try to tell your entire story on the front cover of your book. Often, the result is a mish-mash of so much “stuff” that nothing stands out to catch the buyer’s eye.

It sounds logical: Tell the buyer everything about your book, and they’re bound to be interested in something. Unfortunately, busy covers have the opposite effect…they just confuse people, and when people are confused, they buy something else.

Compare the self-published book below to the bestseller beside it. See the difference?

picture-51connelley

 

The cover at left contains too many elements: international flags, an oyster, a map, a photo, an image of  Jesus. The images are randomly scattered all over the cover, so that the eye doesn’t know where to land first. There is no style to the title or subtitle type, nor are there any strong colors to attract a buyer’s attention. The title tells us that this may be an adventure story, but unfortunately, the subtitle does not elaborate to help us learn more. Why was this pearl so important?

By contrast, the cover on the right offers immediate and strong impact. Because the author is well-known, his name is set larger than the title. Even though the title is set in a smaller size, its brighter color makes it stand out almost as much as the author’s name.  The contrast between the bright orange background and the silhouette of the bird immediately draws our eye and sets an ominous tone. Without being told, we understand that there’s something sinister about this scarecrow.

Your book cover has one job—to make people look. In just a few seconds, the cover has to stop the buyer and make him/her want to know more. To grab and hold your buyer’s attention, the cover should have very few elements…a title, an engaging graphic, the author’s name, a subtitle. Most importantly, just one of these elements should dominate and serve as a “stop sign” to catch the buyer’s eye.

In most cases, if you believe that additional information is crucial, then consider placing it on the back cover, or on the first inside pages of your book.

Part 3 of Common Cover Design Mistakes is coming soon. Stay tuned.

Is your cover free of the Top 10 Cover Design Mistakes? Find out at http://covers.1106design.com. Post your comment here or email us using the Contact Us page.

Michele DeFilippo, owner, 1106 Design

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