Designing a book cover is fun, but can be challenging. You need to create a visual gateway to an author’s story. You need to have a good understanding of the story and what the author likes, and most importantly grab people’s attention long enough for them to pick up a book and entice them into reading it. 

Here are our tips for getting started as a Book Cover Designer:

1. Master the tools 

Usually the graphic designer will create the final book cover layout using Adobe InDesign. If you would like to incorporate your own illustrations then you need to learn additional software such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.  We have tons of tutorials on our Youtube channel. here are a few of our recommendations to get you started.

2. Take part in Crowd-sourcing contests

Entering contests is a great way to improve, and gives you the chance to work on projects the suit you. Our favourite for Book Cover Design contests is 99designs. If you don’t want to take part in a contest, and instead prefer to practice briefs then check out Briefbox.

3. Redesign an existing book cover

If crowd-sourcing sounds daunting to improve yourself as an artist, try to get into the habit of creating your own design challenges. Perhaps recreate and redesign a favourite book cover of your choice. This is the perfect way to improve your design and enhance your portfolio.

4. Reach out to Publishers

If you would like to pursue a career focusing on Book Cover Designs only, be sure to make a list of publishers and get in touch to see if they offer internship programmes. Publishers such as Penguin hold Book Design Awards which is a great way to participate and potentially get your work noticed (even if you do not win).

If you are interested in getting into designing and illustrating your own book then you may be interested in reading our interview with Jake Alexandra who won the Macmillian Children’s Book Award.

Are you passionate about books? And long to see your artwork turn into a finished book on a shelf, then we highly recommend you watch this week's Book Review Tutorial. Observing and analysing other book covers is one of the best ways to learn and improve your designs.

We hope you found this post useful and you are feeling excited to pursue your passion as a Book Cover Designer.

If you know any tips we have missed out let us know in the comments!

thumbnail for illustrative work post


We recently got to know Graduate Jake Alexander to talk about his illustrative work and his winning entry to The Macmillan Prize 2019.

Click here.

About the author 

Shumi Perhiniak

Shumi is a self-taught graphic designer, in 2012 she took one-year sabbatical career break, where she devoted her time studying Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. In just after 6 months she started freelancing and within a year become a Certified Photoshop Expert. Over the years she worked both in-house and in agency roles as a retoucher, artworker and moved on from junior to senior design roles.

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