Maple Publishers

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Book Cover

Book Covers

Books are a staple in many people’s lives. It’s an essential source of information, entertainment, and inspiration. Whether it’s a novel, a memoir, or a self-help book, reading is an activity that can provide a lot of benefits. Reading can help improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and even boost empathy. With the rise of digital technology, reading can now be done on various devices such as smartphones, tablets, and e-readers.

The old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may hold some truth, but the cover of a book makes an excellent first impression. The cover is the first thing that catches a reader’s eye when browsing a bookstore or scrolling through online bookstores. A well-designed cover can attract a potential reader’s attention and persuade them to pick up the book and explore its contents.

While designing a cover is hard enough, it’s compounded by common mistakes designers must avoid. Some of these include:

#1 – Adding Too Many Elements

One of the most common mistakes when designing a book cover is adding too many elements. A cluttered cover can be overwhelming and confusing to potential readers. Keeping it simple and focusing on the elements is essential when designing a cover. A cover should have a clear focal point and a cohesive design that ties everything together.

For example, if you’re designing a cover for a mystery novel, you might focus on a single, striking image that captures the mood and tone of the book. A magnifying glass or a shadowy figure might be enough to suggest the genre without overwhelming the viewer with too many details. Alternatively, suppose your book is nonfiction and deals with history. In that case, you might focus on a single image or symbol representing the book’s key themes, such as a map or a historical artefact.

#2 – Using Poor Quality Images

Another common mistake when designing a book cover is using poor-quality images. The image on the cover is often the first thing potential readers will see, and it needs to be high quality and visually appealing. Using low-resolution or blurry images can make the cover look unprofessional and distract potential readers.

Use high-quality images relevant to the book’s genre or subject matter. If you’re using stock images, choose unique ones and avoid generic images commonly used in many different book covers.

#3 – Bad Font Choice

The font used on a book cover is just as important as the image. The font should be easy to read and match the book’s overall tone. Using a font that’s difficult to read or doesn’t match the book’s theme can turn off potential readers. The right font size and spacing are essential to ensure readability and legibility. Depending on the genre of the book, different fonts may be more appropriate. For example, a horror or mystery novel may use a bold and ominous font, while a romance novel may use a more script-like font.

On a related note, you must avoid using too many fonts on the same cover. Stick to one or two fonts at most to keep the design clean and cohesive.

#4 – Illegibility

One of the biggest mistakes in book cover design is creating an illegible cover. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as using a font that is too small, choosing a font colour that blends into the background, or adding too many design elements that distract from the title and author’s name.

To avoid illegibility, designers should ensure that the font size is large enough to read from a distance and that the font colour contrasts nicely with the background. As for graphics, the design should complement the title and author’s name rather than overpower it. It’s important to remember that the primary purpose of the cover is to convey the book’s title and author, so these elements should always be the main focus.

#5 – Failure to Consider the Genre

Different genres have different expectations for their covers, and a cover that works well for one genre may not work for another. For example, a horror novel typically has a darker and more ominous cover, while a romance novel would have a lighter and more romantic cover. Designers must research and understand the conventions of the genre they are designing for and use appropriate imagery, typography, and colour schemes.

Not considering the genre can also lead to misrepresenting the book, disappointing readers and hurting the book’s sales. A cover that accurately represents the genre and content of the book will attract the right readers and increase the chances of success.


A book’s cover is the first point of contact between the reader and the book, so it must make an excellent first impression. It doesn’t have to be a perfect cover, but it should be good enough to attract the reader’s attention and make them want to pick up the book and start reading. By paying attention to the details and putting in the effort to create an effective cover, designers can help authors reach their target audience and increase the chances of success for their book.

Maple Publishers provides top-quality services for book cover design. Budding authors need all the help they can get, so our self-publishing experts provide significant contributions to make the publishing process more manageable. Call us today at 020 3745 3822 to get a free quote!