The Fine Art of Book Cover Design

In the last post I featured a book cover design that used very few elements to create an eye-catching design that instantly conveyed the mood and content of the book. I thought it would be fun to show how the designer could have easily missed the mark if she had gone on even a slightly different path. So I reworked some design variations using the same elements in Photoshop. The variations and my notes are below.

Original Cover Design


Version 1: I’ve moved the dustcover image of the drips on black up so that it covers more of the title. Now it is just too hard to read, and no longer intrigues the eye in the same way.

Version 2: While the orange color is pretty, and works with the pink, it has lost the neat tie-in with the author’s name “Lemon.”

Version 3: Taking away the yellow now makes the cover less interesting and flatter.

Version 4: I’ve reversed the colors of the top and the drips. Yellow drips are unusual but don’t make sense as the pink ones did — pink is closer to red, which hints at blood without being too obvious.

Version 5: Black drips on pink. The broad pink area actually conveys a happy mood more than an unhappy mood.

Version 6: Same as above, but now the drips look 3D. This is disturbing, but still it doesn’t work.

Version 7: Red drips seem more appropriate to a gothic novel.

Version 8: Dimensional red drips only make version 7 more inappropriate to the desired genre (memoirs) and mood.


A good designer  knows how to convey the content and mood of a book cover with very few elements. The way those elements are used is key to the success of the design. There is no one “correct” solution to any design problem, however, there are always solutions that are more elegant, communicate better, and, ultimately, sell more books.


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