Cover Design Tutorials

Introduction to Cover Design

The world is full of bad cover design. This is primarily because good cover design is difficult to do and people with skills in one area (writing) tend to have limited skills in other areas (graphics). As a result, in order to save a few bucks, authors either attempt to design a cover themselves or pay a Ukrainian teenager with little more design skills on Fiverr to do it for them. This is of course an insane approach to take when the cover of a book is so crucial for its marketing.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that publishing companies have a graphic design team for a reason. They work with the publisher’s marketing department to create a cover that fits and resonates with the demographic that the book is targeting. The cover is important to the publisher as it will appear in the catalogues they send out and all of the marketing material they generate. The designers themselves will have spent years developing the skills required to develop professional book covers.

At ground level, the cover of a book is important as individual book shops want their window displays to look enticing in order to draw customers into the store. Once inside, they will only create display of books with attractive covers. People only tend to impulse purchase books that they can see. An attractive book cover results in people picking the book up and looking at the blurb.  In the virtual world a nicely designed cover drives clicks. Unless people click on your link in the listings they will never get to read your work. Once you accept this, then you basically have two choices:

  1. Hire a designer
  2. Do it yourself

The first option costs money. Yes, you can get a Estonian teenager with a pirate copy of Adobe Photoshop to design a cover for you. However you will get $5 worth of design, featuring stock photography and fonts with dubious origins. If you have deep pockets and a decent marketing budget for your cover then by all means hire a decent designer to make your cover for you. Just make sure that you are the one that purchases any licensed material used in the design.

If you opt to do it yourself then this site will give you everything you need to create great looking covers. It focuses in the techniques you need to make a professional cover design while showing you the common pitfalls of bad designs. It contains information on where you can legally download the software and graphic assets you need to complete a design together with instructions on how to use it.

We assume that you have access to a computer (Windows or Mac) on which to complete the design as well as some basic computer skills required to download and install software and that you know how to unzip files. Basically you need a computer, not some mobile phone or tablet. Sure, these are great for consuming content, but not much use for making it.

The aim of this site is to share the skills I’ve developed over the years as a cover designer as well as showcasing the power of 3D Box Shot Pro. All of the 3d graphics on this site were rendered in 3D Box Shot Pro. As well as text based tutorials, I’ll also be uploading videos to YouTube on a regular basis. These will normally be simple screen captures of various techniques in Photoshop. The production values are not particularity high, as I don’t have the greatest audio recording equipment either. However, they should serve their purpose well enough.


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