The secret to designing a cover (Building a Book III)

The secret to designing a cover (Building a Book III)

Most books are self-published. Perhaps half are non-fiction.

And the number of self-publishers who miss this secret is astonishing. Here you go:

The purpose of a book cover is to remind you of a book you’ve read that you liked.

The goal is not to invent a new way to design a book cover.

The goal is not to prove to the world that you have good taste.

And the goal is not to save money by designing it yourself in Microsoft Paint.

The thing is, the eye is discerning. It can instantly tell the difference between the real thing and something that’s almost the real thing.

I had the privilege of working with our Creative Director, Alex Peck, in designing the cover for Cat Hoke’s new book.

Alex is a craftsman. And a designer. He understands the power of design thinking, and always begins with, “what’s it for?”

In the case of Cat’s book, the what’s it for is simple: The purpose of the cover is to establish quite clearly that this is a book of substance, by a professional, a woman with something important to say.

In the book world, this is communicated NOT with cutting edge fonts and colors, but with nuance. With the patina of experience. With 100 tiny adjustments, with line spacing, shading, shadows, stickers, emblems and embellishments.

It’s painstaking but it’s worth it.

Here are just a few of the iterations that Alex went through:

The book is being printed and comes out in late February. If you want to see the final cover, here it is.