There are a number of things to consider when designing a book cover. First, foremost and most important, it needs to stand out on the shelf. A great book design should call the reader over from across the room, “hey, come here, I’m really good, you want to pick me up!”
I like to picture the rest of the books going dark, and my design set perfectly on the shelf, with it’s own feature light, a paper and ink siren song.
So, what goes into a great cover? A number of things, I like to start with a great image, or illustration. The feature image should have a tone appropriate for the genre. I mystery should be dark, with greys and blacks, with a red line of text for accent. A self help – reinvent yourself title should be bright and clean, symbolic of a new start.
Font is also important, be sure to use something that also fits the genre, a romance novel could have decorative script, where a sports book might feature block style font and a clean design.
The goal is to bring attention, as designers we should always keep that in mind, color, font, and image.
One final note that I have noticed, consider who your are designing for. Established authors typically have their name at the top of the book, along with “New York Times Bestseller” (or what have you). Authors who are not yet household names will typically give a bit of info about the book, or even a byline at the top, some sort of tease to entice the reader to pick it up.
That’s it for today, have fun designing and stay in touch!