How to Design a Book Cover: A Case Study

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The design of your book cover can be a pretty big deal, particularly if your book is based on text and not photos. So for this week’s “how to” we’re handing over the reigns to Cate Furey, the designer behind The Emerging Writer. Furey was kind enough to share three cover designs (front and back) that were considered for the writer’s guide, along with her design inspiration for each. While no one can tell you exactly how to design a cover for your book, seeing the creative process in action can be pretty insightful:

Concept 1: Bend and Stretch

Cover 1 How to Design a Book Cover: A Case Study

Using a simple pattern based on the counters and eyes of the typeface, teamed with a simple image of a child playing on a trapeze, this concept is all about learning through play – the spirit of “emerging”. I imagine that this will be a one-colour print job (…) The example here is a muted teal, but I think the design could also work in a spot fluoro. The main font is American Typewriter, a warm and human (yet machine-based) typeface.


Concept 2: Handwriting

Cover 2 How to Design a Book Cover: A Case Study

This concept explores the idea that writing is at once a personal and a public thing. Using a variety of handwriting styles in a pattern on bright pink captures the energy of ideas and individuality. Again, the main title uses American Typewriter, a nod to the traditional tool of the writer.


Concept 3: Journey

Cover 3 How to Design a Book Cover: A Case Study

The final cover is the third concept that I presented. I had a chat with the Project Editor who told me about her maps idea. Her editorial was all about maps and journeys. So, I kept with the vintage theme, and paired the eccentric balloon image with some retro maps which feature the words “Unknown Territory” – which has significance for the creative process. When you embark on a creative journey you rarely know where you’ll end up, which is what makes it difficult and a bit scary.

Says editor Karen Pickering: From the moment we saw this design it was clear that it would be the cover of The Emerging Writer. The way that this motif carries through the layout and in-text detail is a beautiful thing, and we think you’ll agree that the final product is stunning.

Thanks to Karen Pickering and Cate Furey for sharing this. Need more inspiration for designing your book cover? Check out our Book Ideas page.

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  1. Thought these designs brilliant. No details on how to contact the designer of same though. I have a book looking for a great cover.

      July 9, 2012 – 11:13 pm   Permalink
  2. Hey Christine, She doesn’t seem to have a web site, but we can forward your email address to her if you’d like.



    By Kent
      July 12, 2012 – 11:27 am   Permalink
  3. I associate with a professional printing company in New York and this would be awesome & cool to show with my friends. Looking forward to hearing their opinion ;)

    So Long!
    Fred Simyon

      August 16, 2012 – 11:58 am   Permalink

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