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5 Tips For Creating Great Covers

by | Sep 25, 2014 | Books, Product Creation

I looked at a LOT of covers in the past couple of months while working on my book on“>how to create covers in Powerpoint.

You see, I’m not a designer, and didn’t learn this stuff in school.  It’s a bit like learning a language in school, and learning it conversationally on the streets: both will help you be understood, and the street slang might even be cooler and more contextual.

Having said, there a few hard and rules, and it’s important to stick to those, even if the rest of the grammar goes up in smoke.

For covers, here are five of the top tips for creating compelling, effective and pretty covers.


I cannot emphasize this enough.  Perhaps it is because my own eyesight is not the best, and therefore, I tend to stay away from anything that I can’t grasp at first glance.

Your cover needs to be the same.  To be able to pop out, your best bet is to make sure you have fantastic contrast.

For example, dark print on a white background, or viceversa.  This is not only for text, by the way.  It also includes images and decorations / graphics that you might want to add.

If I have to peer closely to figure out what it is, I’m already on my way to clicking away.

Use Complementary Colours

Some are of the school of thought that you should stick to primary colours for best results.  That would be a problem for me, because I’m pretty sure Burnt Orange, and Dusty Rose are not primary colours, and I just adore them.

It also stands to reason that using only red, blue, yellow, black and white could get boring after a while.

By all means, mix it up, but make sure the colours complement one another.

If you’re not sure how to match up colours, head over to or simply google colour palette, and you will get lots of sites that can help.

Another way you can ensure your colours match nicely is to look at colour schemes being used by covers in the bestsellers.  Then use a similar combination, lightening or darkening as you see fit.

Room To Breathe

Give your titles and subtitles space.  There’s no need to push the text right up against the edge, or crowd all of it together.

Leave lots of space around it so it can breathe.  If your title is short, consider using wider spacing between your letters for even better impact.

Images also pop out better if you give them a nice background to …, ahem, pop out of!

Give them some room too.

If in doubt, and you can’t quite fit all the images or text you wanted, eliminate some and simplify.

Alternatively resize them down so they can fit with lots of white space around them.  Well, not necessarily white, but definitely space.


Use no more than two fonts if at all possible.  Choose fonts that are legible, and easy to grasp at a glance.

Decorative, swirly fonts might look different, but that’s all they are.   If I can’t read it, I’m sure as heck not going to click through to find out more.

Depending on your niche of course, try to pick fonts that help with readability, rather than scream graphics.

If you’re not sure which font to use, or which other font to pair it up with, head on over to“>IFontYou for some pre-paired fonts.

Say No To Popular Stock Photos

I don’t know about you, but I’ve kind of had it with the woman with outstretched arms, no?

How about the jumping guy?

You get the idea.  Today, there are a gazillion options in terms of stock photography and images that you can use on your cover.

Even if you’re chasing free ones, there are a ton of choices that are royalty free to use, even for commercial purposes.

Fotopedia, Dreamstime and Pixabay are just three of the sites where you can find some nice images that you can use.

Important: please do your due diligence and make sure you check the licensing before using the images.

If you must use an overused stock image, perhaps because it succinctly conveys what you want in a compelling manner, then play with it.  Zoom into a portion of the image, or zoom out and place it on an interesting background.  May be fade it to sepia or black and white.

Just do something with it to make it a bit more unique.

At the end of the day, remember that what you are doing with a cover design is communicating at a glance.

So step back and have a look at your cover.  Is it saying what you want it to say? Or does it need you to hang around and explain what you are trying to say through it?