The Do’s and Don’ts of book design



So, I’m sat at my office desk living out the highs of business life at the Holiday Inn Epsom! And after a lovely catch up with my VIP DeeBrand: Your Business client Paula today I’m getting ready for a full days ‘bestselling book’ workshop with the super lovely John Richardson. And a question from John got me thinking…

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of bestselling book design?

Well, having designed a number of book covers in my time, I’ve found you can’t go too wrong if you remember these simple do’s and don’ts.


DON’T: Underestimate the importance of a well designed cover.

This is second only to having an interesting story and clear message.

Your cover design is your main tool for marketing. It will play a big role in attracting readers to pick it up and read it. Recommend it and share it.


DO: Think about the WHO & WHAT.

Who do you want to read your book and what do you want them to do with it. The way you design the cover and the content inside will be hugely dependant on the WHO & WHAT.

If you want people to use your book for learning then you want to leave space for doodles and use unusual fonts… more on that later…


DON’T: Clutter your pages, especially your cover page.

Think about white space and use it. White space is a sneaky tool that people are too often scared of. But if you want information to stand out and you want people to see your message give it some space.

Think about pages and pages of text, it’s hard going to glance through and pick out anything of importance in a sea of words, so make sure you break your book up with well designed space AND this is super important for your cover.


DON’T: ignore your font choice

Studies have shown that the font you use will influence the level of information retained and therefor the level of connection between the reader and the content. Interestingly if you want people to remember the content you should use ‘unusual’ fonts, fonts we are not used to skim reading. And of course on the flip side if you want people to easily flick through and pull out snippets of content without reading every word then you need to use standard fonts with lots of white space.


DO: leave space for doodles

Studies have shown that people engage when taking notes or more so doodling… there is something in the act of putting pen to paper while reading that helps you focus and engage. So if you want people to engage with your content, add some extra space to your margins and encourage as much pen on book action as possible!



DO: the squint test

If you only do one thing, squint at your cover design! If you can still get what the book is about when looking at it through squinted eyes then you are on to a winner.

This is especially true if you are planning on selling your book online, think how small the thumbnail of your cover image will be and make sure you can still get a feel for what the book is when it’s teeny tiny on the page!

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