Publishing Guide: Design a Book Cover That Sells in 2022

"Publishing Guide: Design a Book Cover That Sells in 2022" by Xavier Comas is a guide for how to brainstorm and execute cover design that sells in the modern era. Check out what tips Comas has on brainstorming, photography, collage, and more.

Publishing Guide: Design a Book Cover That Sells in 2022

by Xavier Comas

Featured image for blog post called Design a book cover that sells in 2022, in front of a library

What does it take to design a book cover that actually sells?

While the main principles of book cover design generally remain the same, the small design nuances that hook your reader’s attention and compel them to pick up your literary masterpiece change with every coming year. 

Why? Because trends are constantly changing, which collectively alters our aesthetic interests and expectations.

So, a cover that sells in 2022 may look slightly different than what sold last year…and the year before that. In the true nature of trends, they tend to be on their way out once they’ve gone fully mainstream.

So, how do you stay ahead of the curve and design a book cover that keeps up in 2022?

With a few helpful tips, of course!

But, before we begin…

Let’s talk about the importance of book cover design.

It can’t be stressed enough. Your book cover serves as your first impression. Make sure you’re putting the same amount of thought and effort into your book cover design as you did with your writing and revising. This will be your first point of contact to help drive interest, and ultimately sales, with your ideal audience.

Creating a modern book cover is all about incorporating the foundational elements with explorative trends. Try it out with these tips.

Guide: Design a compelling book cover for 2022 

1. Start with the basics and ideas

PSA: new trends will never override the core principles of book cover design. 

You should always incorporate the basic principles of book cover design because they help build a strong and clean creative foundation. From there, you can experiment and explore as you please! 

A few principles to note:

  1. Remember to always tell your story and give your readers an idea of your theme through your book cover design. It should:
    1. Set the right tone of voice and genre.
    2. Trigger the right emotions.
    3. Draw curiosity from your readers.
    4. Never deceive with misleading imagery. 
  2. Don’t forget the back cover. This is where your prospective reader will confirm their buying decision! Make your book description pop and maybe even use a few blurbs or editorial reviews.
  3. Keep it simple. Don’t overcrowd your cover.

By keeping these core principles in mind, you can experiment with new design trends without going too far astray from industry standards.

Lost in Beirut featured by Coverkitchen in this blog post about designing strong book covers
Book cover design by COVERKITCHEN

2. Try minimalism

Minimalism isn’t new, but it has gained popularity in a number of realms from lifestyle to interior design and—you guess it—book cover design, too!  

Minimalistic design style embraces simplicity, space and eye-catching typography. It’s inherently simplistic and only includes the most necessary elements to drive a message or aesthetic forward. Minimalism is about cutting out the noise, the unnecessary, the loud and crowded—it’s bare bones and can be incredibly impactful if you’re able to draw emotion for your minimalist design. 

Take note: minimalism is usually designed around content, which makes your choice of words on the front and back cover of your book even more important.

Minimalist cover design featured by Coverkitchen, aftermath a memoir by anthony s giarratano
Book cover design by COVERKITCHEN

3. Think seriously about your typography

Typography is important because it’s the messenger for your words. Different fonts invoke a variety of different emotions, so choosing one that resonates well with your audience is important. 

A few typography trends of 2022 include large, bold, and attention grabbing fonts. Another seemingly opposite trend is using handwritten fonts. If you go with the latter and are well-versed in calligraphy, you can actually use tools to turn your own handwriting into a font. How cool is that?

Book cover designs by COVERKITCHEN

4. Test out photography

You’ve heard it before: a picture is worth a thousand words. Why not put one on your book cover? 

Photography remains one of the most popular forms of cover design for a reason. Using an original photograph can help the reader place themselves realistically in the center of your book. It can help attract attention, invoke emotion, and give the reader a more literal idea of your theme. Just make sure the photo you use is high quality!

Book cover designs by COVERKITCHEN

5. Create a collage

Collage is a perfect way to incorporate multiple design elements into your book cover while also remaining aesthetically cohesive. 

Collages—by nature—are loud and messy, and potentially distracting. So, while you’re experimenting, it’s important to not get too carried away. Try to keep to a color scheme and  incorporate elements that compliment your story rather than using misleading imagery.

Book cover designs by COVERKITCHEN

6. Embrace bright and vibrant colors

Your book cover design will depend heavily on your book genre, so take this one with a grain of salt. 

If you’re writing a horror novel, then perhaps using bright pink hues isn’t the best creative decision. However, if you’re designing a cover for your fantasy book, then incorporating vibrant purples or forest green hues could help attract your ideal reader—assuming you’re not writing a horror fantasy. 

Moral of the story: if more color calls to you, then don’t be afraid to answer.

Book cover designs by COVERKITCHEN

7. Vibe out to vintage

Vintage is making a comeback—if it ever left. 

Vintage design looks into past eras to leverage the styles of that particular time, which means you have plenty of potential inspiration. Incorporating retro and vintage aesthetics into your book cover design can help spark nostalgia and, if that resonates with your chosen genre and targeted audience, then using vintage design can be even more effective in driving book sales.

Book cover designs by COVERKITCHEN

Final thoughts

Trends come and go, but what’s most important is how you resonate with your ideal reader. While the basics for book cover design shouldn’t be ignored, all other suggestions are open to your interpretation. You know your book and your audience the best—tap into your own creativity and see what flows. 

About the Author:

Xavier Comas is a Fine Arts graduate of the University of Barcelona and Spanish graphic designer, photographer and author with a 30-year experience in book cover design. In 2004, Xavier moved to Asia and founded Coverkitchen, an award-winning book cover design studio based in Singapore and Bangkok.

Coverkitchen works for international publishers such as Penguin-Random House, Planeta and Tuttle and Wiley. His cover design for the European bestseller “Viajo Sola” was selected by leading art directors in the publishing industry as one of the best cover designs in Spain for 2014. 

Xavier’s first book as an author, The House of the Raja, was published in 2019 by River Books.

Thank you for reading Xavier Comas’s guest blog post “Publishing Guide: Design a Book Cover That Sells in 2022!” If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.

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