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Guest Post!

"Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world's best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories."

5 Cool Design Elements to Try on Your Cover

Being a self-published author comes with plenty of perks — one of which is the freedom to get as involved as you want in creating your book cover design! Not only is the cover an incredibly important part of your marketing plan, it’s also an expression of the message you want to deliver through your writing, and therefore an integral part of your book. As such, it’s natural to want to create a work of art; today, I’ll be sharing some interesting design elements that might inspire you in your own endeavors.

1. Mixed media designs

One way to jazz up your book cover is to incorporate different media into the design. If you can’t decide between a photograph and an illustration for your cover, why not use both? When done right, mixing different forms of art makes the cover dynamic and attractive to the eye. A good example is designer Rafael Andres’s work on techno-thriller title Tokyo Firewall, which emphasizes the book’s theme of urban anonymity by combining a photo of the bustling city with a shadowed and indifferent face.

2. Text-only cover

If your book calls for a simple cover (most often applies to romance, literary fiction, or nonfiction), here’s a quick solution: skip the images and focus on the text. Let the title call out the reader’s name. You can experiment with unconventional typefaces, as is the case with short story collection The Dog by Jack Livings. Otherwise, try highlighting the text by playing with the colors — the cover of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is a great example.

3. Vibrant primary colors

And speaking of colors, why not spice things up by relying on the vibrancy of red, yellow, and blue? Basic colors are not easy to navigate, so I wouldn’t recommend going it on your own if you’re not as blessed in the artistic department as you are in the writing one. In the hands of professionals, primary colors can make your book pop (without being too over the top). Check out Flesh and Bone and Water’s patchwork design to see this color scheme in action.

Pro-tip: Feel free to combine these design elements if you think it’s appropriate! Will Harris’s poetry collection Rendang does a beautiful job of blending the simplicities of title-oriented cover and primary colors on its cover.

4. Black-and-white color scheme

Now, if you’re publishing an ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing, and you’re expecting to sell mostly through programs like Kindle Unlimited, then maybe lively colors are not too important to you (on the standard Kindle, books are displayed in black and white). So why not settle for that minimalist color scheme and see how to make it work best? Black and white covers, such as that of classic thriller We Have Always Lived in a Castle, can do a marvelous job setting the mood for the story behind them.

5. Layered components

Another style you can adopt is to layer the components of your book cover. Think of pop-up birthday or Christmas cards and the way they add dimension by layering different papers onto each other — imagine that art style on your book cover. While you might be inclined to think of it as something more suitable for children’s books, the cover of The Way Through Doors proves that this technique can apply to titles of all genres and for all demographics.



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