How To Design an Effective Book Cover by Brian Jens (Romance Author University)
Today, when publishing houses and independent authors produce hundreds and even thousands of books each year, the hardest task is to stand out in this endless stream. Cover can turn things upside down and define whether the book will generate profit or will be placed in bargain basement publications. Book cover designers work using different techniques – collage, photography, typography, illustration – trying to find a way to attract reader's attention. And they try to respect the basic rules of effective design, which we’re going to discuss further.
So how should an effective cover of a book look?
Book is the Most Important
Don’t put your own interests above the needs of a book. It should always be at the first place. You have to allow the book to determine the design by its concept and content. If the cover supports and reflects the essence of the book in some graphic images, then you can consider the main task performed.
Beyond the Conventional Scope
There are a lot of different ideas of perfect cover, but the one must be treated with caution is the idea of selling design, since it can lead to permanent variations on the same topic. A really great cover not just represents the book but also becomes a kind of work of art. It pushes the boundaries of ideas about how the cover should look.
A Synthesis of Art and Commerce
In terms of graphic design, a truly successful book should be both commercially successful and beautifully decorated. Apart from the fact that the cover has to be attractive, it is obliged to perform more important tasks. The design should not be just a good design that does not help to sell the book. Therefore, your main task is to find a balance.
Let the Photo do the Job
Compared to visually detailed book cover, where designers can use their imagination, the use of a single photo for a book cover is much more complex and interesting challenge. Sometimes there is a desire to add something else to the photo, but it could be dangerous since the cover can become visually noisy and less impressive. The use of one photo only will probably teach you to put more restrictions to the idea to make it work. So stop taking extra efforts and allow the photo to do all the work.
Set Your Goals
Decide what you want to achieve when using a photo.
If you want to use a single visual image for the cover, you have to decide what goal you are pursuing. You can’t start work without a well-articulated idea. This rule is particularly important if you need to take pictures for a cover design.
Budgets of publishing houses are often modest, so designers rarely experiment. To implement your plan for cover design with limited resources, decide for yourself what is this book/what is it about /what is its essence and then try to find this essence in photography.
Strong Semantic Links
You can try to create images by means of typography. This approach allows you to create so-called spaces of misunderstanding, which in they turn create a certain distance between the book and a reader. It sounds like you have to mislead the reader a little bit; however, this method works the opposite way.
Typography can create strong semantic links. You do not deprive people of the opportunity to come up with their images, you just offer them to consider your visual idea and connect it to the text. Perhaps this form of communication with the audience is the best that a book cover can make.
And don’t be afraid of typography! Many young designers are wary of typography, because some teacher told them that the use of more than one font the inheritance of bad designers. Actually, it's just nonsense! Play, stretch and break the typography, and then re-assemble it to create the perfect design. Nobody says you have to forget the rules of typography, just do not be bound by these rules.
Remember that typography can set mood and style, depending on what sense you put into and how skillfully you use it.
Breathe New Life to Old Images
Using old materials like archival photographs, you can give images a new meaning. If you take the historical images and view them as symbols or metaphors, you can retrieve them from the historical context. Therefore, designers can create unexpected and intriguing covers, which cause the interest of readers and at the same time convey the idea of the book.
The most important thing is to limit the choice of different options. By doing this, you will feel much freer. For example, being incompetent or at least non-confident in some areas of design, you can use typography to create images. By defining graphic means, you immediately remove thousands of other potential solutions and become much more concentrated.
It is achieved by combining the two ideas that have nothing in common and finding points of intersection between them. But the collage is not created by an arbitrary combination of two images – the right way to create is to ask yourself questions like what story are you presenting to the audience by inserting a small piece of this image; will it be too much here; how the two objects located nearby affect the eyes of a viewer.
Well, finding the right balance is the key.
The design of a book cover is an art which can be mastered empirically only. It is important not forget about the general rules of design that are used in the design of any publication. The book should visually attract potential readers, being no just a carrier of information but also a piece of art, since it is the ancestor of printed products.
Brian Jens is a man of modern. He adores the latest trends, whether they are connected to design, technique or anything else. He’ll teach you to be modern and in trend. At the time Brian is working at www.designcontest.com/logo-design department of DesignContest.