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12 Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover

12 Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover
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June 30, 2021

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Books have a very popular proverb associated with them and their cover pages. But in today’s world, it is highly impossible to prevent the audience from judging the book by its cover page. Be it an online store or offline shop, readers first look at the cover page and then decide to read. A book’s cover page is also an essential factor in attracting more readers, along with reviews and references.

If you are a self-publisher and designing your own cover page, then you have to understand many elements of designing. And if you are a professional designer who is required to deliver the best cover page design, then also you need to start with proper study and guidance. To help in this regard, we are here discussing 12 things not to do when designing a book cover.

These tips can help you to avoid some unintentional mistakes in cover page designs. So let’s understand them in detail and improve your book cover page designs.

1. Font Selection Without Proper Typography Knowledge:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Font SelectionPin

With book cover designs, typography holds immense importance along with images and graphics. The title of the book and the genre of the content need your attention while you are selecting font style for the cover page. There can be any focal point of your design as per your designing perspective or author’s choice.

Be it the title of the book or the author’s name; you need to select an appropriate and striking font style that expresses the importance of words and doesn’t overshadow the background image. You can customize fonts or get creative fonts from the online market, and you can add some objects and effects as well to make it more convincing. But never use too dull or too stylish fonts because that might work against your design and lose the reader’s attention.

2. Use of Poor Designing Tools:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Poor ToolsPin

An ideal design can be achieved through many tools and techniques. But there is a massive difference in results when you compare professional designing tools and amateur tools. If you want your book to achieve success, you must focus on quality design rather than achievable design.

Try not to use paint or such outdated software, common photo editing tools, or online designing platforms. With Adobe software range for designing, you can achieve any quality design if you have complete expertise and knowledge. Additionally, nowadays, there are various options available to expand creativity and develop something impressive. So if you are a self-published author who is designing his cover page or a beginner-level designer, always pick the best tools with an easy process to achieve your desired design.

3. No Proper Image Selection:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Image SelectionPin

When you are using a base image or graphical illustration to build your cover page, you need to focus on specific details. Many cover pages are out there with poor images and inappropriate background elements, which certainly not quality with quality standards.

So always select original images and with good quality to set a solid base for the design. Using familiar stock images or pictures with possible copyright issues can damage your cover page and might introduce you to huge concerns.

Furthermore, images should also be enough compelling and favorable for the book, as they are the prime object of the attraction. So, in that case, it would be best if you invest smartly enough in your images and illustration selection for a perfect and secure cover page design.

4. Avoid Genre Miscommunication From Every Aspect:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Genre MisconceptionPin

One of the primary purposes of a cover page is to communicate what readers can expect from the book. It’s imperative that your cover page design reflects the genre of the book. You can include some plot details as well if you like but don’t overshare and break the line of story and concept in your design.

If your cover page fails to communicate the genre of the book, then this can turn down your whole book and the author’s career. Every element of your cover page, be it font style, colors, images, graphics, or others, should represent the genre of the book in complete synchronicity. A wrong genre representation is also equally harmful so try to keep these things in mind and choose elements wisely for your cover page.

5. Avoid Too Busy Design:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Busy DesignPin

The book has enough pages to convey what the author wants to say. So the cover page of the book doesn’t necessarily have to include too many things in a single design. You need to understand the fine line between a properly packed design and a cluttered design.

When the cover page has too many unnecessary elements or mismanaged components, the overall design becomes imbalanced. Thus, it becomes a poorly designed cover page with low readability and conviction. That is something that can never benefit the book.

That’s why always understand your book, genre, and audience and then decide the minimum required elements on the cover page. The too-busy design has no power to attract more audiences, so always keep it under that tricky line.

6. Don’t Forget About the Intriguing Essence Of Design:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Essence of DesignPin

The ideal responsibility of a cover page is to give the audience reasons to read the book. And therefore, designing a cover page is a very responsible task. If, in the end, your cover page design is not creating curiosity and attraction in readers’ minds, then the whole book and design can face downhill.

According to the genre, your design must include suitable components to create that intrigue and attraction successfully. Never use bland colors and trivial design concepts with inappropriate plot communication. Try to be clear and straightforward with your design.

You just need to add depth and layers to your beautiful design. And do proper study before the design and after as well to understand the audience’s mind and your design performance.

7.  Avoid Using Outdated Design Concept:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Outdate Design ConceptsPin

Trends and audiences change with time, and that every designer needs to understand from every field. Books, modern content, and unconventional stories demand unique cover page design. So whenever you are dealing with different genres or contemporary content, you need to understand the expected cover page design criteria.

Using standard design concepts and widely used elements is not favorable for any creative cover page design. If the book is from some famous author, then you should try to follow certain planning, resourcing, designing, and testing process. Outdated layout and design theme is a sign of poor designing skill, and it can harm the book and designer as well. So be cautious and check out various inspirational online sources before delivering the cover page.

8. Never Skip The Target Audience Study:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Target AudiencePin

Readers are the target audience for books, and you have to understand who your readers are. The book’s author can surely provide that information, but you may need more details on that as a designer.

If you are a professional designer working for an author’s book, then it’s best to ask directly to that author about the target audience and their social and behavioral aspects. Along with that, you can also do your own study and gather information as much as possible.

Primary data of the target audience is fine, but the more information you have better the design you can create. That’s why don’t just start with basic information on the target audience; try to include some of your input as well to give the most professional and personalized design.

9. No Professional Color Scheme:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: No Set Color SchemePin

Every element that you put in your cover page needs to follow a proper color scheme. Now, this is a susceptible and analytical subject. When you add fonts, focal images, and other elements, you have to think and experiment with placing them perfectly on a systematic color scheme to get the ideal finishing.

With bland colors, too harsh color combinations, or imbalance colors, the cover page can miss the charm even after having all the perfect components. So as per the audience and genre, you need to create an attractive and suitable color palette that can highlight the essential part and support the background elements in the best possible way.

Simple and indistinct colors on the cover page might not let the other elements shine, as colors play a significant role in catching the viewer’s attention. So pay the highest attention to this subject.

10. Not Following Information Hierarchy:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Information FlowPin

While designing a cover page, you have to decide what you want your audience to understand through the content. This can be the author’s decision or the designer’s, which must be discussed before design execution. Information hierarchy means a proper flow of information displayed through design to make the audience understand what exactly you want to explain.

On the cover page, which content should be bold or with bigger fonts, which part should come first, or where to place other details on the design are some of the related questions for information hierarchy.

If you want your audience to see the author’s name as the main headline of the book, then you have to place that in dominating format than any other content part. So if your design has no particular information hierarchy, then your audience would not be able to read and perceive things as they should.

11. Obvious DIY Looking Cover:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: DIY DesignPin

Be it an author or designer, their easy DIY cover page design can not create impact as much as professionally developed cover page design. If the editing and finishing are not appropriately done, then DIY designs can look very absurd and unattractive.

But at the same time, smartly created DIY designs can make a fantastic impression and save a lot of time and energy as well. It is a beautiful designing skill, and it can help many books with good quality cover pages. However, it does require excellent software skills and designing knowledge.

So make sure all the components, color technicalities, emerging lines, and overall seamlessness work amazingly in your DIY design. In the end, it must look natural and professional and not abrupt and noticeable DIY cover page.

12. Do Not Have Prominent Focus On Unique Cover Page Design:

Things Not To Do When Designing a Book Cover: Out Of FocusPin

Lastly, one of the crucial things you should avoid is the unrealistic expectation of a unique cover page design. Usually, every designer works for a creative and unique design. But with cover pages, you can lose the grip a little bit.

As stated before, a book’s success is highly related to the author’s work and not the designer’s. The cover page design can help a little to attract fresh readers, but it can not take it further than that. Definitely, the book’s cover page should be attractive and genre-specific but not necessarily unique and astonishing every time.

With the pressure of a unique cover page, you might ruin your design and make things harder. That’s why keep it accurate, audience-oriented, and attractive enough to get readers for the book. Simple, minimalistic, and decent cover pages can also do the job, and that you have to understand according to the book and author.

With the help of the tips mentioned above, you can avoid predictable mistakes and focus on things that you must include on your cover page. The cover page of the book is an intelligent art. Now e-commerce accessibility and technological upgradations have enabled many exciting features in cover page designs.

Your book’s cover page doesn’t necessarily have to go over the top in design. Because in the end success of your book is in your content’s hands. And that’s why a cover page can help you gain the attention of your potential readers, but it can’t hold your readers without committed content.

Don’t pressurize your cover page design with some unrealistic standards. You just need to focus on your audience’s nature, genre, readability, and valuable information. So, work with smart creativity and avoid above discussed things to deliver the best and quick output.

Written by Harsh Raval

Harsh is a skilled graphic designer, digital marketing consultant, web developer, and content creator. With more than 10 years of experience in content creation, Harsh is dedicated to contributing engaging and thorough graphic and web design articles to Line25.

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