Book Cover Design - How to choose and use images

When starting thinking about creating a book cover design, a great place to begin is by going online and looking at covers of books from the same genre as the one you are designing for.

Amazon is an excellent place to do this. Look at the covers of the top-selling books in the categories your book will be in. what sort of fonts, images, colours, styles and moods do these covers have? Books from the same genre usually have a similar style of cover. As cover style is a major factor shoppers use in indentifying genre, it is a good idea to make your book’s cover similar in style to others in its category.

That does not mean your cover has to be unoriginal, however. Rather, it means that you don’t want your sci-fi to look like a contemporary romance, or your thriller to look like a children’s book.

Once you have identified your genre’s style and looked at its most successful and appealing covers, you can begin planning your own. Many of today’s most stylish book covers are made up of two or more different images combined together. With a fiction book, it can be good to feature some aspects of the story and/or setting on the cover. That will instantly tell readers about what they can expect to find inside.

For example, if your book is a regency romance where the hero is a navy captain, and ships and seafaring feature in the story, make your cover say that. You could have a woman in Regency dress, a handsome man in a Regency navel uniform, and behind them a sea with an 1800s sailing ship. But how are you going to find a photograph with all that in it? Without commissioning a photographer specially, you probably won’t. The much cheaper solution is to find stock images each containing one of these elements, and to merge them together using image software such as Photoshop or GIMP, which can be downloaded free online.

Dreamstime #17129136 is an excellent example of the sort of image you could use for this. The girl can easily be cut out and pasted into an image of the sea with a sailing ship. Then you could take another photograph, cut out a man in a Regency navel uniform, and either past him in so he looks like he is standing next to the girl, or use partial transparency on him, and merge him into the sky of the seascape. You now have a stylish book cover featuring all of the story’s three main elements.


Photo credits: Razzdazzstock.

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February 07, 2017


Any colour background could be used. The choice would depend on the look you were after. Think about whether you would like the figure to contrast with or blend with, the background. Also, if you are going to put text over the image, bare in mind that light-coloured text will not be very visible on a light-coloured background, and dark text will not show well on dark backgrounds. Having an image with both light and dark colours can make adding highly readable text difficult.

August 22, 2016


Thank you for the lesson! Please tell me what color the background to do better?

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