Posted on

How to evaluate an effective book cover

Go ahead. Judge that next book by its cover. Or, at least, judge the cover itself and what purpose it serves for the book. Textbook author, Paul A. Krieger tells us that “Good book covers are important” and shares four specific benefits to a quality cover design.

  1. The book cover serves as an advertisement for your book;
  2. A quality cover makes a positive first impression with your readers;
  3. It informs your readers what the book is about; and
  4. It can improve overall sales.

In order to be effective, application of quality design principles is essential. Krieger adds that “sometimes words are not enough”. Cover illustrations can enhance understanding and context for readers by adding depth to the information conveyed on the cover of the book.

Covers of the 2nd and 5th editions

But what constitutes quality design? Compare the covers for Krieger’s 2nd edition (left) of A Visual Analogy Guide to Human Anatomy versus the 5th edition cover (right) in the image above.

Krieger suggests using the acronym “C.R.A.P” to evaluate four principles of graphic design.

  • Contrast – focuses attention on the most important items
  • Repetition – ties objects or images together and unifies the elements on the page
  • Alignment – organizes the page to make it easier on the eye
  • Proximity – creates relationships between objects

While there are some elements of the four principles in the 2nd edition, each is improved with the 5th edition to build a clearer impression of what the book is about as a marketing tool for readers.

The complete justification of design changes between editions and additional aspects of digital textbook illustration can be found in the session recording of Krieger’s webinar, “Draw Your Readers In: How To’s of Digital Textbook Illustration” available in TAA’s Presentations on Demand library.