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The Basics of What Makes a Great Book Cover

what makes a great book cover

They say that you should never judge a book by its cover. While that saying has honest and honorable intentions, it's important for those in the industry of writing and producing literature to know that it doesn't really apply to the actual process of creating a desirable book. When a consumer passes by your book on the search screen of Amazon, you have a very short window of time to convince them that your content is worth reading. How can you make the most of that limited opportunity? Here are some of the basics of what makes a great book cover - and how to apply them to your next project.


The images you adorn your book cover with will help your reader gain insight into what is inside. Today's books don't always have photos or artwork; some use text or even empty space to create visual appeal. Balance is important in determining how much imagery is enough - and when you've gone over the limit.

Color also plays a key role in the aesthetic appeal of your book’s cover. Too bright, and your viewer will be put off. Not striking enough, and they might pass your book right by. Choose pleasant color palettes or pops of bright hues to create interest without overpowering.


An often-overlooked element of design success in the world of book covers is typography. Graphic designers can tell you that typography can make or break a project. This is extremely relevant when it comes to book cover designs; the text should be clearly readable, as well as eye-catching and interesting. Relevance to the story or content’s theme can earn you extra points toward a great cover design.


The way your book cover is laid out will determine the way your viewer's eye consumes it. What does this mean? Your design should create a natural flow of attention that begins with the most important information or images and radiates toward those that are supplementary. Choose a single striking image or a pattern of smaller ones, or use varied text to create this dynamic flow.

If you are creating a paperback cover design, don't forget your book’s spine! Your cover will wrap around an actual, tangible book, and the spine will be the first thing many readers see on the shelf. Don't neglect the key elements of design in this important location.


Your book’s cover does more than simply hold the pages together and look nice on the Kindle screen. It provides information for the potential buyer or reader - something to whet their appetite for more of what's inside. What is actually included on the cover of your book is largely dependent on the genre and the author preferences, but in general there are several common elements present on most books:

  • Description. Nothing is worse than thinking you're picking up a perfect novel, only to find out you've mistakenly grabbed one that doesn't suit your preferences at all. Prevent this disaster for readers by including a brief summary of your story or content.

  • A teaser. Want to really stoke the flames of interest in your text? Include a thrilling excerpt from the story, a gripping piece of dialogue, or an enthralling quote - and then leave it at that. Your reader will be left dying to find out more.

  • Praise. Yes, you're allowed to shine a spotlight on yourself on your book cover - or at least show off the lights shone by others on your behalf. Include great pieces of praise for your story or overall work if there is room on your cover and give readers even more reasons to choose your book.

Ready to see what makes a great book cover come to life? Contact the experts at Original Book Cover Designs for more information on creating the cover that will get your content in more hands this year.

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