Many reading enthusiasts are aware of the fact that one of the most important elements of a novel is the cover. Those who know me know that this element is my personal favorite. While we've all heard the words "you can't judge a book by it's cover," many readers, myself included, disagree with this infamous line. The design of a cover is key; many times, it determines whether a reader will be intrigued enough to pick up a novel.
I've read plenty of books, but there's one author in particular whose cover designs never cease to amaze me. Ruth Ware, a fairly new writer whose work is published by Scout Press, has fascinating books and even more fascinating covers. Her novels are designed by book cover artist and designer Alan Dingman. Dingman's designs are absolutely captivating; they have all the elements that make for a persuading cover design. Because I picked up my third Ruth Ware read recently, The Lying Game, I decided I'd use two of her novels as examples of distinguished book covers.
So what makes a great cover? Higher rated covers have five distinct elements: a creative title, legible font, simple design, a precise color scheme, and mystery mystery mystery!
1. Creative Title: Every title of a book should be creative but also brief. While book titles shouldn't spoil the sense of mystery, they should also be concise. Because of this, great titles remain within the two-four word range.
2. Legible Font: Great covers have clear, easy to read fonts. By doing this, readers can focus on the artwork as opposed to being distracted by the words on the page.
3. Simple Design: Another element essential in creating an amazing cover is developing a design that is simple and direct. Ruth Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10 gives readers a sense of looking out into the ocean through a porthole. The design concept is straightforward which results in enchanting readers as opposed to overwhelming them.
(A plus? Readers who run their fingers down The Woman in Cabin 10 can feel the rain droplets!)
4. Precise Color Scheme: The colors used in a design are very important. Frequent readers will find that most cover designs feature shades of red, blue, or green accompanied by white and black. These colors are the most common because they're the most captivating and also result in a clean design. Mixing various colors can make a design look busy. Because of this, artists designing covers usually use three to four distinct colors in different shades. This allows for great effects and results in a simple and concise design.
While The Woman in Cabin 10 features shades of blue accompanied by white and black, The Lying Game features shades of green accompanied by brown and yellow. By using 3 distinct colors, Dingman creates candid yet appealing designs.
5. Reveals Just the Right Amount: The best book covers are those which contain the element of mystery! With this element, a book becomes enticing. Designers want readers to be captivated to the point of persuasion. If a reader finds a book interesting at face value, they're much more likely to pick it up and read the synopsis. Regardless, doing this is hard work; great designs take time to develop.
Check out Alan Dingman on Instagram: @adingman_coverdesign
Know of books with fascinating covers? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!