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How to Design a Book Cover

In the past we’ve had a real tendency to stick to general or otherwise broadly-based design topics. This is because it’s typically much harder to nail down specific projects, as most of us graphic designers tend to a variety of different fields during any given month. However, now we’re going to focus on a bit more concrete of an example – designing a book cover. This realm is full of potential, and a very lucrative venture if you’re searching for new avenues to explore.

  1. Use the Plot: When we teach cover design, one of the best examples we know to use is Ethan Frome. We’re going to give the book away, but away now, but we might as well since you’re not likely to read it any time soon. You see, at the end of the novel two of the characters run into a tree on a sled. And out of purely ingenious inspiration, the designer who made the cover patterned it with bark. This is sheer brilliance, and something we should all aspire to. By using elements from the plot in the cover you give the reader an “Aha!” moment once they’ve finished with the novel. They can look at the front of the book in silent reflection, and be immediately rewarded with a point from the storyline. This is a clever way to be cheeky, and also to show some artistic muscle.
  2. Use Your Creativity: Nailing the feel, tone, and meaning of a book is a difficult process. In fact, it may take you several hundred sketches and several read throughs to get the project just right. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to flex some of that art school muscle you’ve not used in a decade. Try out some entertaining designs, and where possible, go outside of your own box to pursue a direction that’s not typically your style. The end results we guarantee will be better, brighter, and more focused than if you were to simply huck out a basic but not excellent design. If you can, talk to the author to have a nice artsy discussion about the tone of the book. Authors are bright people, and can usually help you along with the art.

Posted on May 7, 2012

Category: Designing, General

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