All About Book Cover Design
Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover – or Do You?
When it comes to your book, the front cover will be the first thing any potential readers (buyers) will see. This can easily be the first impression your book will have on them. Sometimes our personal style or lack of experience can lead us to make poor choices in the matter. What do you do? How to do you create the best impression?
Designing book covers can be a challenging task. Finding a way to capture the reader’s attention in a moment’s glance, while giving a glimpse into the stories and ideas within the book, is a process that is not quickly learned. We can use drawings, photos and graphics to create covers that, for a moment appeal to us, but commonly these images will not represent the author’s work in a professional manner. It is like wearing comfortable sneakers to a job interview. You may feel comfortable in them, but it’s not going to create the best impression. Sometimes our best bet is to trust the professionals to help us with our vision, and to guide us into new ways of approaching the design.
Graphic Designers study design, color and layout. They also have a good grasp on the software and industry standards for printing your book cover. These designers have access to stock images, fonts and tools that enable them to create a professional looking design for your book. Remember, your book cover is not only displayed on just your book. It will be used in all of your marketing materials such as: posters, web banners, billboards, etc.
How to Submit Your Best Idea to Cover Designers
Our designers have a lot of experience creating covers from scratch and can design a cover to closely represent your ideas. Here at Xulon Press we use stock photography as our resource for images and graphics for your cover. This limits some of the types of images we are able to use. However, you may submit your own images as long as the images submitted are the property of the author or explicit permission for use has been given. Your input is critical to the design of your cover, therefore it is advisable that some idea is submitted from the start.Here are five tips to remember when sending cover design ideas.
- Write 2-3 sentences describing your book.
- Explain the audience you would like to market your book towards. (Age, Race, Gender, ect.)
- Describe briefly the types of images you would like to use. (photo, Illustration or submitted images)
- Set the mood, light? mysterious? inspirational?
- Send images to represent your ideas.
Tips to Submitting Your Own Book Cover
Submitting your own book cover? No problem! We’ve got a few tips for you to keep in mind.
Color Mode RGB vs. CMYK
RGB (red, green & blue) is an additive color system where light is used to mix colors. This mode is great for your computer monitor and at home inkjet printer. Commercial printers, however, do not use this color mode when printing, and the colors will look drastically different.
CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow & black (key)) is a subtractive color system where inks are mixed to create a range of different hues. This mode is used for commercial printing of your book cover. A variation of these inks will be mixed together to create the colors on your book cover.
Resolution 300dpi vs. 72dpi
The resolution of your image will have a direct effect on how sharp your book cover image will appear when printed. While using 72dpi for your computer screen may look nice and keeps your file size small, it is not ideal for commercial printing. The result will be a pixelated blurry image. In contrast, creating an actual file size at 300dpi will result in sharp image that will look professional. A resolution of 300dpi is the industry standard for commercial printing.
Bleed and Borders
A bleed is the “extra” area added to your design to create a borderless image on your cover. A bleed is used in commercial printing in order to give room for cutting. Your cover is not printed in the same way as your printer at home. We don’t recommend using borders in your cover design due to variations when the printed sheet is trimmed to size; it can leave the border looking uneven.
Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop
Though Microsoft Word is great for your manuscript, it wasn’t created for designing book covers or graphics. You can use this software to work out an idea for possible designs, but you will likely create something that cannot be used as your final book cover. We do not recommend sending your cover file as a word document. Adobe’s Photoshop, on the other hand, was created for commercial design and will provide you with all the tools you need to create a file using the correct color mode, resolution and layout.