As the cover of a book communicates to the potential reader what lies within, many conventions have emerged to highlight certain genres, such as an old photograph that promises a memoir, or a shirtless muscular man that promises a romance novel. To investigate further, we’ll look at four popular books sold in both the US and the UK and see what each cover has to say about the same story.
I’ve been pursuing book cover design in the past year because in a small publishing house like Ooligan Press, book covers play more significant roles than in large publishing houses that hold big name authors and titles. I am interested in the effects of book cover design on consumers who do not know the author or content, and what information a book cover should include in order to attract consumers.
We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but let’s be honest—everybody does. While the cover design on a book doesn’t necessarily make-or-break the sales of every individual book, it is the first thing a reader notices. Before reading the back-cover blurb or looking up reviews online, the reader’s first instinct comes from their impressions of the cover design.
One of the most important aspects of design is knowing if it will be presented digitally or in print. Knowing how a design will be presented affects several design elements, so it is crucial to be aware of your options. In today’s digital world, a lot of designs are created to be displayed on a screen. Those who like to create digital art and manipulate images for online use tend to be more familiar with things such as aspect ratios, RGB (Red, Green, Blue), and pixels. These are concepts that are useful in the computer world, but they have different counterparts in the printed world. When designing for printed projects, designers need to be familiar with bleeds, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black), and trim size. While it is possible to create a design without deciding whether it will be used online or in print, it will save a lot of time and energy if this decision is made before beginning a design project.