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How to Design a Professional Book Cover Yourself

Marianne Stenger
21st September 2017

If you’re planning to self-publish a photobook, designing an eye-catching book cover will be a big part of the process. Whether you like it or not, there’s a good chance that your photobook will be judged by its cover, because the cover is the first thing anyone will see.

So it needs to pique the viewer’s curiosity and make them want to see more. But what can you do to make your photobook stand out for the right reasons? Here are some steps you can follow to design a professional book cover yourself.

Look for Examples

Before you get started, it can be helpful to view some of other photobooks out there in order to get a feel for the different formats there are and what might work best for your book. A good place to start looking for examples is the Bob Bookshop, as you'll be able to browse photobooks that focus a wide range of topics, from weddings to travel and wildlife.

Come up with a Concept

Once you have an idea of what styles are out there, you’ll be in a better position to decide on a concept and style for your own book cover. Maybe a sleek minimalistic cover would work well for your subject matter, or maybe you would need something a bit more eye-catching and creative.

Many photographers choose just one image for their photobook’s cover, but you could also choose to go with a series of four or more images. It just depends on the concept and style of your photobook.

Think about the Photobook's Content

Regardless of what your concept is, the photobook’s cover should reflect its content, so think about the story you’re telling with your photographs and try to choose images or graphics that accurately demonstrate what the book is about.

Of course, you can always include more information on the back cover, but you want people to be able to pick up your photobook and have a general idea of what they can expect from it without even having to read the back or flip through the pages.

Use Text Sparingly

When you’re designing a photobook cover, you don’t want to add too much text that will distract or detract from your photographs. Some photographers choose not to add any title or description at all, but of course this depends on your photobook’s concept and your personal preferences.

If you do choose to include a title or any other text on your book cover, make sure it will stand out clearly against the background. Also, look for a font that will complement the cover image or consider scanning in your own handwriting to add a personal touch.

Experiment with Different Layouts

Even if you think you know what you want, you should always try a couple of different layouts to see what would work best. The Bob Designer Software allows you to design and save the book on your computer, so you can work on it at your own pace and try out a few different formats, backgrounds, text and images before you commit to anything.

Get Feedback from Others

During the design process, it can help to get some feedback from trusted friends, colleagues or other professional photographers and designers who might see things from a different perspective.

Of course, the photobook is your personal project and no one understands its story and message better than you do. But sometimes we’re too close to our own work to see its flaws or spot things that could be improved on, so it’s always a good idea to gather feedback from a variety of sources.

Once you’re satisfied with your book cover and the photobook is ready to be printed, be sure to check out our tips for successfully promoting your self-published photobook.