Most probably, while browsing a display of books on Amazon, you have noticed that some of the book covers stand-out while others don’t. The design of these book covers somehow grab your attention and spur interest. Most likely, it is because they have strong and effective focal points.
In simple words, the focal point is an eye-catching part that stands out and is distinct from the rest of the book cover design elements. Its purpose is to capture and hold the viewer’s attention. Effective focal points are one of the key factors that define great book cover design. If your book cover doesn’t have a focal point, it can virtually go unnoticed.
6 book cover design tips to create a book cover that gets noticed:
- Make contrast. Use contrast to create a focal point. You can attract your reader’s attention by manipulating the space, through color choices, by size, by creating elements that are visually different from the other elements used in your design and by using typographic contrasts.
2. Emphasize only one element. Look at your photo and decide which object clearly communicates the concept of your book. Go from a general concept to something much more specific and concrete and emphasize only this one detail by removing all other elements that might be in the photo.
3. Go extremely big. Make one element on your book cover extremely big. It can be either an image or text. This is a simple technique that can give a very professional result.
4. Use Faces and Silhouettes. We are social beings that are genetically programmed to be drawn to living beings. Therefore, images of eyes and faces (humans or animals) are much more likely to grab our attention. Moreover, facial expressions communicate emotions and feelings very well, which help set the mood of your book and trigger associations and fantasies of your reader. Since we unconsciously tend to make eye contact with other humans, we try to do that even when we see faces and eyes on a picture. Therefore, eyes and faces (human or animal) are some of the strongest focal points on book covers. Use them to your benefit. Look at the examples below. Most likely, your eyes are unconsciously trying to meet the eyes of the person on the cover.
Adding a human face, a silhouette or even just a part of a human body usually improves the overall book cover design. Don’t show too much of your main character either. Let readers use their own imagination. Consider showing them a silhouette, from behind or only a small part of it like in the examples below.
Don’t think about a scene from the book or a specific moment from your story. It will be too complicated to design and most probably won’t work anyway. Don’t try to put all your characters on your book cover. You will create clutter and confuse your audience. Rather, use a nice background and add a simple character that is appealing to your target audience.
5. Direct the Gaze. According to studies such as Eye Gaze Cannot be Ignored, human beings have a natural tendency to follow the gaze of others. Moreover, we have been trained since birth to follow arrows directing us to where we should be looking or going. In marketing visuals, it is a commonly used technique to lead the viewer’s eye to specific information or an element. You can lead your audience’s eye with the help of arrows, triangles, and illustration or photography. If you use a face image, make sure the person is looking at your book title. Double the effect by using a gaze and a pointing finger.
6. Use symbols. Try to find a symbolic way of showing what your book is about. Use a symbol that anyone would understand at first sight. Utilize it as your book’s cover focal point. If many other books have used this symbol already, present it in a different way like it’s done on the “Thank you economy” book cover, where human icons form the shape of an arrow. Symbols will help you avoid being too literal and expositional with your book cover design. Moreover, you will be able to represent a larger idea or concept. So, basically – less is often more. As you can see in the examples below, symbols work fine in both: fiction and non-fiction genres.
I hope these book cover design tips will help you create book covers that attract more readers and generate sales. If you want to learn more about creating a professional book cover design, get my book “Book Cover Design Formula: Create Covers that Captivate Readers” on Amazon.