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Judging a book at first sight

Judging a book at first sight

Book design has a lot to do with appearance; have you ever “judged a book by its cover?” As much as I’d like to say I read the content of a book first, I would be lying. I’m one of the many people that pick a book based on its cover. Soooo, what is the purpose of a book cover? To grab the reader’s attention. A designer’s purpose is to understand the concept of the book and develop it with the author’s intention in mind. A designer can easily overlook the purpose and completely butcher the author’s intention and with it the feel of the book. Aside from a designer only having a couple of seconds to grab the reader’s attention, a designer has to maintain the book’s integrity, while tying all the design elements together. In book design, there is no single right answer for an effective book cover, whether you decide to go into a minimalist approach or a narrative approach. The design should intrigue the reader and give a hint to the book content. Still unsure how to make a book cover successful? Follow the link for tips on effective book design from the Writer’s Digest.


  1. aburke20 wrote:

    While I was reading your post, I found a lot of parallels to packaging design in general. I believe that everyone to some degree selects items, in this case books, by how they look. Judging books by their covers is certainly not confined to a select group of individuals. It is just human nature for us to judge things by how they look, most likely due to a leftover survival trait of ours.

    Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink
  2. karguet3 wrote:

    Coming from someone with a very short attention span, I couldn’t agree more with this statement. To design, or even redesign a publication to match the feeling of a story is difficult feat. Looks matter much more than people think, even in the type setting of the book!

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink
  3. atowner wrote:

    I used to work in a bookstore, and let me tell ya, this is VERY spot on. I am guilty of buying books just for the pretty covers. Designing covers effectively is a really useful skill — it might even trick designers to buy books they wouldn’t have looked at twice otherwise!

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink
  4. bscott15 wrote:

    I am guilty of buying books just for the cover design rather than the content. I have a lot of books that I haven’t even opened. After taking AVT 311, where I had to design three book covers, I now understand how hard a skill this is to master. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  5. arahma12 wrote:

    I also confess to mostly picking up a book and reading the blurb based on a cool looking cover. AVT 311 also taught me the two challenges of designing an attention-grabbing book cover: making it interesting and keeping the design content simple at the same time.

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink