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2.1 How to Find Creative Direction for Your Cover

It can be easy to get carried away when designing a book cover. However, even though outstanding book covers are highly creative and attractive, they are also finely tuned to the readership they are aiming for. Here we’ll look at the influence of genre (e.g. thriller, historical romance, horror) on cover design, and the importance of tailoring your design to the right audience. We’ll also look at where you can source inspiration online and how to find a stylistic focus for your cover.

2.1 How to Find Creative Direction for Your Cover

In this section of the course, we're going to lay down the groundwork for creating our book cover. Designing your own book covers can be a really fun process, but it's also easy to get carried away. Effective book covers are not only highly creative and attractive to look at, but they're also finely tuned to the readership that they're aiming for. In this lesson, I'm going to share with you my tips for finding creative direction for your cover. The first thing to consider is the influence of genre on the design of your cover. Whether your book falls into the category of thriller, historical romance, horror, family drama, you need to have an awareness of the sort of common design traits which appear across covers within a certain genre. So even though you're aiming for a cover that stands out amongst others and has a unique quality that is going to entice a reader, you'll also need to be aware that you'll have to abide by certain rules to make sure that your cover is genre appropriate. Let's look at an example. So the cover we're going to work towards creating in this course is for one installment in a sci-fi fantasy series. Sci-fi readers tend to be very devoted to their genre, and voracious readers will look for specific design cues on covers that they're interested in to help them assess if the book is going to suit them. On the Kindle Store, we can already see some common elements across the sci-fi and fantasy genre. So they tend to have dark, moody backgrounds, chunky typography set in all caps, simple, striking illustrations of photos. Some of the titles use metallic effects or they have gradient effects to make the type really stand out. And whether these cover designs are to your taste or not, it is important to recognize that these covers are appearing at the top of the search for a reason. They're obviously hitting a spot for the audience in question. So make sure to have a research of covers in your genre. And make a note of the design elements that they have in common, it will help your cover design to be as effective as possible. Once you've got a bit of a sense of what sells well on something like the Kindle Store, you can start to seek out some broader inspiration for your cover. I'm gonna show you a few of my favorite places for gathering cover inspiration. So as well as online bookstores like the Kindle Store and Apple iBooks, which are particularly great for getting inspiration for ebook design, for print books, you can't go wrong with dipping into some other online resources as well. One of my absolute favorite resources is the Book Cover Archive which is bookcoverarchive.com. You really can lose hours just looking at the covers on here, and it's really great for giving you completely new ideas for structuring your design. How to make typography more imaginative and striking, as well as give you ideas for really different and eye-catching color combinations. So make sure to check it out. It's just really cool and it could spark a really good idea. I also personally love Pinterest for cover inspiration, because the popularity of images on here is based on how often that image has been pinned or shared. It gives you really good sense of the design styles of covers that have really broad appeal. The emphasis on Pinterest tends to on covers that have highly visual unusual designs. And they often feature covers that are vintage or have been reimagined by fans. Again, it can give you some really unusual, interesting ideas about how to make your cover designs more graphic and striking. And it also becomes instantly clear which cover designs catch the eye more than others when you're viewing lots of images at once. It's something to keep in mind when you're creating cover designs that are going to be competing for someone's attention on the store's website. So hopefully browsing sites like these will give you some ideas for creating your own cover design. So when you've got your inspiration figured out, you can start to think about the technical specs of your cover. In the next lesson, we'll look at just that and share some tips about how to size your cover.

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