Four Requirements for an Effective Book Cover

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1106 Design

February 05, 2010

Staying on track is important when evaluating concepts presented by your cover designer. Chances are, when you show the concepts around to your circle of acquaintances, everyone will suggest changes—partly because they want to help, and partly because it’s just plain fun to participate.

To ensure that your cover design is not destroyed in the process, here are a few objective elements that every cover must have.

1. The title should generally be large and easily readable (with a few exceptions).
2. There should be good contrast between the title and the background. Simply put, this means a light title against a dark background, or a dark or colorful title against a light background.
3. The simpler the design, the better. Covers that are too “busy” or that contain overly ornate fonts or too many elements will confuse the buyer. The cover must tell the story in one quick glance.
4. The title should be readable when the cover is used in very small sizes and/or in black and white, as it may appear online or in catalogs. Print out the cover about an inch tall in both color and black and white to test its effectiveness.

While these four “rules” aren’t the only considerations to be kept in mind when creating a successful cover, they do form the basis upon which a solid cover design is built. So when your Aunt Matilda, who graduated from art school in 1940 insists that the background should be purple because it’s her favorite color, you’ll be able to explain why this isn’t a good idea.

What do you want to know? What topics should we explore together? How can we help you along your publishing journey? Everyone here at 1106 Design wants to help. Post your comment here or email us using the Contact Us page.

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