February 12, 2019

Book covers designed for small screens working equally well as physical objects

Book cover design has always been shaped by the technologies in use and the systems surrounding publishing and book marketing. Publishers do not collect their own specific data on what works well in book marketing since they sell to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent booksellers which do collect data about individual consumers. As a result, the design of book covers is often up to the intuitive feeling of art directors and designers and since books are now increasingly marketed on and purchased on digital devices, that has affected their intuition.

Current trends in book cover design

  • Bold, large, attention-grabbing typography
  • High-contrasting, bright colors
  • Simple single color backgrounds or textured backgrounds
  • Imagery that takes up the entire cover and has sharply distinctive lines
  • Minimalist covers

Books and publishing success in numbers

  • The number of independent bookstores increased by 35% between 2009 and 2015
  • Sales of print books have increased by nearly 11% since 2013
  • In 2017 the US book publishing industry generated approximately $26.24 billion in net revenue, holding relatively steady since 2013 ($27.07 billion in net revenue)

Conveniently, in this instance, what works well in book cover design for social media and small screens also winds up looking good on the tables of independent bookstores and on your shelf at home. While book purchasing and book marketing grows ever stronger online, book covers are bridging the digital and physical divide with aplomb.

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