Important Pieces to a Successful Book Jacket Design

A successful book jacket is imperative when it comes to selling your book. While everyone knows the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, everyone will (much to your chagrin) judge your book by its cover. Designing a book jacket that catches the eye, tells the reader what your book is about and entices them to read it can be a difficult task. Here we’ve outlined the basic pieces you will need to create a gorgeous cover that will help sell your book. Also be sure to check out our blog post The Cover Design Process.

Simplicity. One of the most important things to avoid when designing your book jacket is clutter. Be sure that you keep it simple, don’t over design – if there is too much going on you will lose your reader’s interest. You don’t need to tell the entire story in one picture. Give your readers a little credit, you would be surprised what they can infer from just a few images. Make it stand out with simple, contrasting elements. Make good use of the space, aware that whatever blank space you leave is there for a reason. Take this cover for The Virus, yes there is a lot empty space in the lower right corner but it isn’t dead space. The design element of the “virus” in the center of the jacket gives the reader the illusion of movement, soon the virus will “spread” to that area of the cover as well. Also note the bright, contrasting typeface color which stands out against the black background. Beautiful cover. Simple and stunning.

The cover for Manifest follows the same concept. In the end it was not chosen by the author, but is still a good example of “less is more” – enabling readers to grasp just enough of the story and catch their attention at the same time.

Typeface. Determining what typeface to use for your title is important. Do not make it an afterthought and definitely don’t use a font that is difficult to read. Selecting a wacky font can make your cover look unprofessional. As BookFuel’s own Chris Moyer says, “Half of the battle is communicating to the reader that this book is the same as the rest – that “self-published look” is a death knell. A poor aesthetic sense on the outside generally speaks to a lack of taste on the inside, too.” Chris recommends sticking with a few type styles that are staples of the publishing industry. When a reader sees these fonts on a book cover they mentally associate your book with others they’ve seen on the best sellers lists. While the above examples do a good job with their typeface, here a few other stellar examples:

Sometimes however, the best way to determine what makes a good book jacket is to peruse many good examples so you can begin to develop an “eye” for what works best. There are plenty out there (just take a quick walk through a brick-and-mortar bookstore or see what’s selling on Amazon) but here are a few by BookFuel designers that really stand out:

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