The anatomy of a brilliant book cover design

A few rejected covers for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo   PowerHouse Books
A few rejected covers for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo PowerHouse Books

Some dust jackets, aka book covers, are better than others. But what really makes one better? is it design, color or just bold type? we dissect one of the best covers for the award-winning Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for a better idea and perhaps a chance to replicate its success but without infringing upon copyright.

Design choices

There was so much buzz around the then manuscript that when it was time to design the cover there were already a number of different takes on it. There were some covers that featured blood, others wanted it to have a feminine appeal while many more opted for a manly cover.

After a few dozen concepts including one with neon signage and one with a stark white background with text the one finalized had the best of all worlds. But the one thing that everyone agreed on was that the text had to have a so-called “Big Book Look.” So, the text had to be large with bold font. Hence, the final version has the super huge type.

Title and image cohesion

If you look at the final cover it has the image of a dragon tattoo under underneath the yellow background. It’s almost not there unless you’ve read the title. What this does is attract and hold attention, inviting the onlooker to flip through the book after which the novel sells itself. Having an image that directly relates to the title helps to emphasize its impact.

The color

The glowing yellow color challenges the way other dark and gritty novel covers are designed. But that’s where its brilliant. Among all the dark colored books, the glowing yellow stands out. Remember the human eye sees color first, text and design later. So, choosing an unthinkably different color may work at times.

The following two tabs change content below.
Bill Jefferson Jr.

Bill Jefferson Jr.

All 'round writer, SEO expert, and social media guru with no plans to change the world. Have a suggestion feel free to hit me back in the comments below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *