Cover Design: Why It Matters.

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Mon. April 15, 2013 Update: I saw this article from New York Times “T” Magazine, with “an illuminating cross section of 83 years of book design” for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”  


We DO judge a book by its cover. 

Sad, but true.

The cover is an invitation to “enter” the publication.

The most important sales tool at your disposal is the cover of your book (ebook, white paper, presentation, annual report). Make it noteworthy! 

Your cover design should be approached with the same mindset used by product marketing and creative teams. Product packaging drives purchasing decisions for the thousands of products on the market. A book is a product. The cover will be judged as an indication of the quality of the content.

Good, think GREAT, cover design will make you linger, soaking up the imagery, type and layout. You may even run you hand slowly across the cover. Even in our digital world, pausing ever so slightly to enjoy a cover design and when interactivity is added… it’s still tactile. 

While cover design varies from business-to-business (B2B) versus consumer (B2C); the end result is still the same. It MOTIVATES.

Check out Chip Kidd’s TED Talk “Designing books is no laughing matter. OK. It is.”

Below are a few guidelines that can help differentiate your cover.

  • Kindle Interest: The cover is the reaction to “tell me more.” It’s the invitation to enter, learn more, travel to new places, explore ideas, etc. Good cover design requires research and study. Testing structure, placement of elements, image selections, fonts and color palette. 
  • Identifies With Your Audience: Understanding your target audience and sharing that profile with your designer is imperative. Your designer will develop concepts that should appeal to your audience.
  • Visual Overview: Is the cover a reflection of the theme? It doesn’t matter if we’re selling our company’s features and/or benefits or telling a fictional story; the cover of the publication should be a visual overview.
  • Convey An Idea (Emotion): The cover should be more than an afterthought to package the contents. It should be the forethought. Sparking the motivation to turn the cover is how we get to the “tell me more” motivation.
  • Make It “Top Drawer”: The accessibility to do-it-yourself is everywhere and we recognize the work of a true professional. As a minimum, invest in a professionally designed cover. After all… it will be your primary marketing tool for your book or publication.

Reference links:

Creative Blog 10 Imaginative Annual Report Designs

New York Times Favorite Cover Design of 2012