top of page

10 Simple Rules of Cover Design

At Najla Qamber Designs we talk a lot about following cover trends. But how do you know if the idea you have in your mind is right for your readers? We can tell you from experience, many times the author's vision isn't what's right for the book. Too much symbolism can be just as much of a deterrent as too many elements on your cover. While some may like to think their cover will spark a new trend, the truth is you need weight in the industry to shift the proverbial tides. And if you stray too far from the reader's expectations, if your cover doesn't match your genre, then you stand the chance of alienating your audience. This is why we encourage you to keep the following simple rules in mind.


1. Keep It Simple

Help your potential reader by showing them exactly what they're looking for. Bonus points if you can use minimalist imagery to give them context. You don't want to focus on some obscure thing that, while insightful for the story, doesn't tell your potential reader what they're picking up.

2. Don't Overdo It

Flashy, complex design can look amazing. If it fits the genre you're writing in, go for it. But avoid over-doing it. If you go too far, you can confuse the reader.

3. Scalability Matters

It has to look just as good as a thumbnail as a paperback. In some cases, if you have the budget for it, many authors and publishers create a different ebook and hardbound covers.

4. Follow The Rules

Copyright rules are important. I think we can all agree, getting sued is not fun! We can't stress how important it is to cover your bases. Don't think so? Check out this true story from Laura Thalasssa.

5. Create A Hook

This can be your tagline (keeping it simple of course), but kudos if you're able to hook the reader with your image.

6. Be Kind and Keep in Mind

How do you plan to publish? If this is a pet project you only plan to circulate among a smaller group, like family or your classroom, your cover design will differ from mass trade paperback or electronic sales.

7. Color, Color, Color

Our team at Qamber Designs has years of experience under our belts, so we know what color combos work for the mood of your story. There is a whole science to colors and how they affect our sub-conscience. Check it out here.

8. Typography

What is this word, you ask? Much like photographers capture images, typography captures the mood of the text. It's the art of the text on your cover page, on the headers in your favorite books. The practice goes back centuries, to the first illuminated texts and other classical forms of calligraphy. Say you have a gorgeous cover, but the title is in plain, Times New Roman font. We could honestly write a whole post about typography, but we'll save that for later. ;)

9. Know Your Book

Sounds simple, but we can tell you from experience; not every author is clear on how to market their book. And like it or not, your cover art is one of your biggest marketing tools. It's the tool that your teasers and ads will jump off from. The right cover can make or break your book sales. If you have an amazing story, but a subpar cover, we wish you luck in selling it. However, it goes both ways. You may have an amazing cover, but make sure the interior matches the outside. Hire your editors and proofreaders. Make your book the best it can possibly be. Meanwhile, we'll do our absolute best to return the favor.

10. Know Your Designer

Our job is to bring your vision to life. Sometimes this process works smoother than others. When you have a clear idea of what you want, we will do our absolute best to deliver. It's not our job to research trends for you ahead of time, but we are aware of them. If you ask us and trust us, we can help offer suggestions that will bring your concept to the next level.

More on how to communicate with your designer here and good luck with your next cover!



bottom of page