Book Cover Design

Book Cover Design


Book cover design is as much about what you leave out as what you include in your design. Abstract communication is essential is not trying to tell too much while creating an eye catching simplified design. The Book choice is open to you however, Yes, you obviously need to have read it.

Remember: All Epic Design Quests require thorough documentation of your entire design process on a new Behance page. Be sure you are very familiar with the  creative process before beginning any Epic Quest.


Check out our Student Book Cover Design Gallery

Continue on now if you are ready to begin this your Design Process.




Read the entire quest before beginning to ensure you understand all requirements. Remember working through the process is how you earn mastery. 




Your Epic Quest...

is to design a book cover jacket for the hard copy edition of a selected book of your choice (approval by The Captain required). The final design must include the front cover, back cover, and spine with the option of adding the two interior flaps.


A book cover design requires the creation of an appealing graphic— a mini poster so-to-speak—that encourages the consumer to pick up the book and look through it. The cover graphic can set a mood or hint at what the reader might experience inside its covers. After reading the book, manuscript, or summary provided by the editorial staff, the designer interprets and translates the work into visual ideas. These visual ideas are meant to hint at aspects of the book NOT to portray scenes, characters, or movie poster style advertisements.

You will use abstract communication in developing your design. Watch the following video to further understand what the captain means by Abstract Communication.

PLEASE WATCH: Abstract Communication is Key


Project Page Requirements

FIRST: Create your new project page titled Book Cover. Now copy and paste the list below as you will need to complete and document all 7 steps of the your design process (the design process and creative process are very similar and overlap in many way):


  1. Understand the Problem
  2. Research and Investigate
  3. Generate Possible Solutions
  4. Select AND DEVELOP Best Solution 
  5. Model and Prototype (Create)
  6. Test and Evaluate
  7. Produce



  • To create a conceptual idea based on your original imagery.
  • To design with consideration and respect of copyright law as it applies to commercial work.
  • To integrate type and imagery into a cohesive narrative inspired by the content of the book.
  • To support the clarity of the message, by applying visual hierarchy principles to both imagery and typography.
  • To develop compositional skills in page layout design which include typography, grid and image.
  • To improve technical knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator features used in development of typography, imagery, and graphics.



Reference the galleries below to see the application of simplified design using abstract communication

3rd Party Book Cover Design Gallery

Outstanding Student Bookcover Designs Gallery


--AGAIN!!! PLEASE Read entire quest before beginning--


Project Requirements

Watch this Video First: Wait to Create



Research and record your understandings of Book Covers.

  • What is the purpose of a book cover?
  • Find and post one excellent design example of a bookcover and note why you believe it to be an excellent example.
  • What makes a good or bad bookcover?
  • record you resources

Select a book of your choice and get approval from the Captain.

Your choice of book cover can be anything from sci-fi to drama or non-fiction to mystery.  Write a short summary about the book and why you have chosen it to design for.


     2. Design Process: Research and Investigate

Research information topic thoroughly

  • Show Authentic Data with cited reputable resources (Author, Publisher, importance, Awards, etc.)
  • Even though you have read it, document important elements, big ideas, or significant events associated with the book

Additional optional Resources:


     3. Design Process: Generate Possible Solutions

Let your Creativity Shine

Sketching ideas

Brainstorm visual imagery representing elements of your topic

  • Show your brainstorming as webs, clouds, lists, found imagery, small sketches of elements (at least 25 ideas, words, elements)

Begin sketching thumbnail ideas for front cover design.

  • Thumbnail sketches should be about 4″ sketches in sketchbook
  • Sketch at least 4 different designs ideas.
  • Designs must be ORIGINAL!
  • Consider possible color schemes and fonts even if just in notation.
  • Focus on how you are using the space of the cover including title and author, not just the graphic you are using. Position, size, placement matter.


     4. Design Process: Select and Develop Best Solution

Select the best solution

  • Note why you have chosen it.
  • Simply any design elements when possible, Covers Designs shouldn’t be too detailed or have too many elements!
  • Finalize a new detailed sketch of best solution.
  • Sketch the layout of entire design: front cover, spine, back cover, and Inner flaps. (refer to technical requirements at bottom)
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 9.57.45 PM
  • Focus on color schemes
  • Carefully consider  fonts to be used (beware of crazy display fonts, they are often cheesy!)
  • How will you create hierarchy of information? (control what is most important)


      5. Design Process: Model and Prototype (Create)

Begin Digital production of your book cover design

Watch this Movie to begin your digital design

  • You will likely use Both Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Download: Bookcover Template 
  • Correctly use Illustrator for Illustrations but build in Photoshop
  • Complete this Sub-Quest later to learn how to polish your design in Photoshop (coming soon)
  • When necessary research and develop more advanced digital designs skills utilizing all resources available.
  • Don’t Forget Craftmanship matters
  • Primary images and illustrations must be original and follow copyright laws
  • Remember to take in-progress screenshots for you project page-required

Technical Requirements (minimum)

Your design template is available for download above-USE IT

  • cover of book
    • Complete Title of Book
    • Complete Author Name
  • spine
    • Complete Title of Book
    • Complete Author Name
    • Publishers Logo Signature
  • back of book
    • Barcode
    • ISBN
    • Publisher Logo Signature
    • Publisher Name & Address
  • inside Front Flap (optional)
    • Complete Title of the Book (either as heading or within the book summary text)
    • Summary of Book Text (I will help you determine what this will be based on your book).
    • Price of book (US and Canada).
  • inside back Flap (optional)
    • Full Name of Author (either as heading or within the biography)
    • Biography of the Author, and Author Photo (ok to infringe copyright on this image).


     6. Design Process: Test and Evaluate

Consider if it works; does your design meet its potential?

  • How could you take it further with more time?
  • Ask others for their opinions and document their and your suggestions.
  • Refine further or improve elements of your design that can be even greater


     7. Design Process: Produce

Turn in the final .JPG and Request Printing

  • Fill out and submit self-evaluation sheet (on
  • Finalize Project Page with a thorough reflection on your project and process
    • What you liked about your solution
    • What you would do different in the process
    • Identify you greatest difficulties
    • What did you learn from this project
  • Get final design printed and mounted
  • Turn file into the captain’s server.


COMPLETE: When you have published your project page and submitted your final design to the Captain you may Claim Completion



Great Work Design Agent.


I know you want the loot that goes with mastery. Do you have everything required to complete stage 3?


MASTERY:  You have your artwork printed and mounted AND your project page contains thorough research, scanned pages of your sketchbook, clarifying notes and thorough reflections of your process. You may claim mastery. Beware if the Captain does not see a correct and through project page your mastery will be revoked and penalties may incur.

Your loot was well earned and I truly hope you  are proud of what you have created. The Captain most definitely is!


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