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How to design a front cover for a book

Updated March 23, 2017

Being that the front cover is the first impression that a potential buyer has of your book, you should spend some time thinking about how to design it properly. It's also important for drawing the attention of reviewers and distributors. Some reviewers may reject the book based on a poorly designed cover alone. If you're completely unfamiliar with the process of designing a book cover, leave it to a professional. But if you have some design experience, keep a few key concepts and ideas in mind as you create a front cover for a book.

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  1. Select a graphic design program to start laying out your book cover. Popular layout programs used for this purpose include Quark Xpress, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. You can download a trial version online for some graphic design layout programs.

  2. Choose either a very light colour or a very dark colour for the background of your front book cover. Select the exact opposite for the title text. For instance, if you decide on a white background, stick with a dark navy or black text colour for optimal readability.

  3. Set the size of your title text on the front cover at about 30 points or higher (may vary depending on the font type). When printed, you should be able to read the title from at least 10 feet away. Choose a font type that is bold and simple to read --- avoid cursive fonts, which can be a challenge to read.

  4. Position the title at the top or middle of the book cover. Place the author name at the very top or very bottom of the cover (depending on where you position the title). Use a standard font face, such as Arial or Times New Roman, that is about one-third to one-half the size of the title text for the author's name. You can use the same text colour as the title or a slightly different colour for the author's name as long as it contrasts and shows clearly against the background of the book cover.

  5. Insert an expressive yet simple high-resolution royalty-free image for the front cover that matches the concept of your book. For instance, if you've written a book about Mustang cars, choose a picture of one of the finest Mustangs you can find. Position the image in the background behind, under or to the right of the title.

  6. Type one or two lines to supplement the book title in a free area of the book cover if you have room. For instance, you can include a quote from a reviewer or a short line describing what the book is about. Use a font slightly smaller than the author name.

  7. Tip

    Some online book production services offer template designs that you can start from when designing your front book cover.

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Things You'll Need

  • Graphic design layout program

About the Author

Louise Balle

Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.

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