How to create a book cover from scratсh

Book cover

For people involved in creativity, it is essential to show a product in its best light. For example, after writing a book, you need to visually design it by creating an eye-catching book cover for marketing purposes. With its help, you can highlight your work and arouse interest in it.

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There are several ways to make a book cover:

  • using the services of a professional book designer;
  • make a book cover design yourself using a graphics program or with your own hands completely free;
  • use built-in templates provided by self-publishing services;
  • to create a stunning book cover design focused on online editors and its design tools, including ready-made materials. 
Design by Damian Orellana
Design by Damian Orellana

To design book covers, you can use various online services, such as Crello, Envato Elements, Adobe Express, Desygner, Canva, etc. One of the most popular options is the Canva online editor. On this platform, to create book covers you are granted with free templates and customization options which have a crucial role in book cover making. You will not need any special knowledge to operate this service and create designs, but it is better to read the introductory articles first and make your work easier.

To simplify the cover design process, consider creating a mood board that includes all of your graphics, photos, and illustrations. This visual tool will help you organize and edit all your draft content. Pinterest is one such stock image platform to create your own set of book cover templates and also share them. 

Keep referring to your mood board as you collect pictures and other graphics elements and start devising. This will help you focus and ensure that your final design aligns with your original vision. 

Create different cover sizes

Design by Umi Kaltsum
Design by Umi Kaltsum

You should consider not only the physical format of the book, but also the various device dimensions of the digital cover. Ebook types, pdf and audiobooks are becoming increasingly popular for consumers as sites like Kindle and Kobo make it possible to enjoy your favorite book anywhere.

Each website that hosts an ebook format has its requirements for the preferred file type and size. This information is important to know as it can affect your final design.

Focus on one image

Remember that the cover usually looks like a small thumbnail, and you want the reader to immediately understand what they are seeing. Cover content should not confuse or overwhelm the reader with conflicting images.

Good book cover design is a balance of advertising and conceptuality, where they must match. Pick one constant and communicate it visually with your cover design, but don’t take the images literally.

Don’t distract the reader’s imagination by choosing images that convey information about a character or place. Think of the cover like a movie trailer: hint at the abstract details of your story, but don’t give away the entire storyline, including plot twists.

Stages of making a book cover

Design by MUTI
Design by MUTI

How to make a book cover? A designer is supposed to execute the following steps:

  1. Decide on a design idea. The first step in creating a cover is to determine your main message. Think about what exactly you want to convey to readers, what you are going to interest them in, and how this cover advertisement will resonate with the book-based content and genre.
  2. Examine examples of successful covers. Pay attention to books written in a similar genre. You can check their print designs in a regular bookstore or watch video reviews on the Internet.
  3. Select all appropriate illustrations, font colors and graphic elements (logo, geometric shapes, abstract patterns, banners and other features).
  4. Choose the right tools and begin the creative book design experience.

Determine what the book cover should highlight

Design by Peter Voth
Design by Peter Voth

When you look at a paper book cover theme, think about what needs to be emphasized and what role it will play in PR. Typography in the title and first pages, logo, image, number of colors or perhaps location? Cover design elements should reflect the marketing plan and be instantly recognizable.

If you’re planning a series, how will this cover work within the series? It’s never too late to go back and change the cover before printing, but if you start the design in the cover creator with serialization in mind, it will be much easier later on.

Working on the cover in the online editor

Design by Andrew Colin Beck
Design by Andrew Colin Beck

To advertise to a wide range of readers, it is especially important for a new author to expressively design the cover and first page of the book. A beginner needs to distinguish his work from hundreds of others to arouse the interest of a potential audience. This can be done by professional designers, but the cost for the work of such specialists is quite high and not every author can afford it.

Non-designers can make a high-quality cover in Photoshop, but not every author has the skills to use this program and the desire to master it. The best option to get a free book cover is to use specialized online services, for example, the portal.

This service is free to subscribers of social networks, to use it you only need to go through the registration process. After this, the user gains access to his account, where he has access to a selection of templates for various book covers. The database contains collections of more than seven hundred different covers, on which a large team of experienced designers worked.

Design by DKNG
Design by DKNG

Most of the designs are free. All ready-made templates look very impressive and allow authors without experience to not rack their brains over the arrangement of elements and font combinations. However, these options also have one significant drawback. Another author may choose the same template, so the book will no longer look individual. If you are not satisfied with this, you can customize the book cover template to suit your needs.

Another free cover creator to highlight is Adobe Express. In it, you can create everything you need without having sufficient knowledge of book cover design. You will have access to more than 40 types of customizable templates with images in the free plan. Or create a book cover with a strong composition from scratch if you prefer. The book cover maker of Adobe Express is not the same as using a blank sheet in Photoshop or Illustrator. Its tools have predefined shapes that you can adapt to your style, so lining this sheet in cover space won’t be as difficult for you.

Customize your images

Design by Blake Ink
Design by Blake Ink

While subtle covers are often more attractive and effective, your template will benefit from some kind of imagery that helps convey the essence of the book.

To choose from Canva designs, select elements on the left and enter your search term into the search bar. The platform offers almost limitless style features and cover options, so you can find anything you want, but it’s a good idea to make sure it applies to your book.

Design by Bailey Sullivan
Design by Bailey Sullivan

Before you bring a book cover to life, decide on its size. To do this, click the “Create design” button located in the upper right corner of the screen, select the “Custom size” column, and then set these parameters. Then you can start working on the templates. There are a lot of options in the service, to view them you need to scroll down. In each of the presented templates, the user has the opportunity to write and customize the title’s text along with setting bold typography at his discretion.

Having selected the appropriate option, click on it. After that, go to the online editor. Here you will be given a lot of scope for creativity to edit. You can add hand-drawn elements, select suitable font and spine style, edit text and replace background images with those available in the online service database or upload your own. Once your book cover is ready, you can download its layout in a few formats.


The process of creating book covers must be approached with maximum responsibility. This is what potential readers pay attention to first. Sometimes customers buy books just because of their first impression of book cover design. Thanks to the presence of specialized editors, every author has the opportunity to unconventionally, colorfully and originally customize a book cover.

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