A Book Cover for a Naughty Novel

OK, it’s just not really a naughty book; it’s just a romance novel by bestselling author Gena Showalter.

I thought it would make a good cover for design analysis.

Looks great in the large photo, right? Although I love the illustration (what woman wouldn’t?), and the typographical treatment (the design of the book) is wonderful and well-matched to the dark theme of the series, there is too little contrast between the title and the illustration. Let me explain what is happening:

  • The paperback version of the book is very small.
  • The title on the printed book is printed in a metallic iridescent ink, which unfortunately doesn’t provide the kind of contrast you see in the example above.
  • The background illustration has loads of contrast, which makes the image hard to read, especially cropped as it is, and with the text over it.
  • Finally, there is a long title, and a great deal of text on this small cover.

All the above elements, while fine in themselves, don’t read so well at a distance. And if your book cover doesn’t catch the eye right away, then you have lost half the game.

My solution:

  • Make the title a little larger and the author’s name smaller.
  • Forget the iridescent ink on the title.
  • Put a heavier shadow underneath the title; this will “pop” it into the foreground.

Don’t forget your book cover has to read well at the thumbnail size on websites like Amazon. How well can you read the title in the thumbnail below?


One Reply to “A Book Cover for a Naughty Novel”

  1. A great example Aliyah of the subtleties of book cover design and how easy it is to go wrong with an overall super concept. I like the highlighting of simple digital practicalities like reading the title in thumbprint which is easily forgotten. Perhaps the answer is to have two separate designs when a contrast between print and digital gets as stark as this one.


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