Book Cover Design

Qualities of a Good Book Cover

An eye-catching book cover is crucial to successfully marketing your book. Here are several factors that determine what makes a book cover stand out and look professional.


The typeface plays an important role in communicating the book’s genre. If a cover is designed well, a reader will be able to know the genre just by glancing at it. Flowing script fonts paired with clean serif fonts are primarily used for romance; Roman-style fonts are common on fantasy covers; and bold sans-serif fonts in large type are common with thriller. It is best to use at most two typefaces on a cover, as more than this can result in a cluttered look. Commonly, one typeface is used for the title while another is used for the author name, usually in complementary styles.

It is important to consider that typography is part of the whole composition, rather than something that is tacked on when the rest of the design is already finished. Typography should interact with elements of the cover design, incorporating things such as light reflections and texture. It should also stand out and be easy to read.

Quality of the images used

High-resolution stock photos with sharp detail will always result in a more professional-looking book cover than poor quality photos. Since the fine details are often what make for a good cover, it’s important that the source photos already have this high degree of quality from the start. Stock photos must also be large enough so that they don’t require being enlarged, since trying to resize a photo to make it larger almost always results in a blurrier, degraded image.


The colors indicate the book’s genre and overall tone. Dark and muted colors are often used to convey a mystery or thriller book, with the occasional pop of bright color to invoke a sense of energy. Vibrant colors find their home in urban fantasy and certain young adult books, while warm colors are commonly used for romance.

The overall composition

Good book covers are intriguing and create a sense of mystery, making readers so curious that they can’t help but pick up the book. The subject of the design, whether that’s a person or object, should be obvious, with no ambiguity as to what is being shown. The design itself needs to have a hierarchy, with any secondary design elements receiving less focus than the main subject.

Thumbnail size

Since most readers will be browsing for books online, your cover image will need to look good at thumbnail size. The design should still stand out, with the title and author name as readable as possible. Fonts and images should have enough contrast so that they don’t muddy together and give an unclear image. With that said, when the cover is viewed at a large size, this is when all the small details will stand out. The cover needs to work at every size.

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