The Importance of Business Book Cover Design: What You Need to Know

POSTED ON Mar 20, 2024

Cameron Chapman

Written by Cameron Chapman

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As an entrepreneur, authoring a business book is a strategic move to cement your authority in your niche. It’s not just about compiling your insights; it’s about sharing your vision and lessons learned—invaluable both for your personal growth and your business’s reputation.

While the essence of your book lies in its content—what you aim to share and teach—there’s a crucial element that you may not have paid much attention to yet: your business book cover design. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the content that the cover seems like an afterthought. 

However, the cover is not just protection for the interior pages; it’s the first touch point with your potential readers. It’s what entices someone to pick up your book and explore your expertise. Before they can appreciate the depth of your knowledge, they have to be drawn in by a cover that represents it.

Why Are Business Book Cover Designs Important?

The cover of your book is the first impression it will make to potential readers (and potential customers). It becomes your calling card in the world and can make or break your credibility. A good cover can directly impact how many copies of your book are sold. And it can also impact how likely potential customers are to work with you in other ways.

A good business book cover design will cause a potential reader to pick up your book for a closer look. A bad cover will likely have them moving on to the next book on the shelf. A good cover reinforces your expertise, too. It makes you look more professional and like you know what you’re talking about.

Here are a few other things a good business book cover design can do for you:

  • It attracts the right kind of reader. The imagery on your cover should speak directly to your target audience. It doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, just to the right people for your content.
  • Helps build your brand. Your brand as an entrepreneur should be directly linked to your brand as an author. 
  • Gives insight into the book’s content. Your cover should give readers a hint about what they’re in for if they read the book. If your book is serious and academic, it should have a cover that matches. If it’s lighthearted and full of action items, your cover should reflect that. You get the idea.
  • It’s a promotional tool. Beyond your business book cover design being a promotional tool for the book itself, it’s also something you can use in other marketing materials. You can include it on things like your website, social media, and professional profiles. A good-looking cover will attract attention.

A professional book cover design is an important marketing tool. Don’t underestimate it!

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Designing Your Business Book Cover

Business book cover design is both an art and a science. And unless you’re a skilled graphic designer, I highly recommend working with a professional book cover designer who has experience designing business book covers. 

Book cover designers understand not only how to design an attractive cover, but also what the market is looking for when it comes to business book cover designs. They understand what readers expect. 

But that doesn’t mean you should just hand over your manuscript to a designer and hope for the best. There are things you can do before you hire a designer that will help streamline the process, saving both time and money. Here are a few tips:

1. Create a Swipe File of Designs You Like

Spend some time looking through the bestseller lists on Amazon or elsewhere and look for covers that catch your eye. Save screenshots of those covers to a file. You can use a program like Evernote to include your thoughts on each cover and why it appeals to you. 

Then, when you hire a designer, hand them your swipe file (or, if your file is very large, pick out the top 5–10 covers you’d most like to emulate). This will give them some immediate insight into what you’re looking for and can save hours of time.

2. Spend Time Refining Your Cover Copy

Your title and subtitle are the first things you need to make sure you’ve nailed before you start working with a designer. But you also need to create things like the copy for the back cover. Are you just going to include a description of the book? What about an author bio? Do you have endorsements or reviews from advanced copies you’d like to include?

Organize all of this information in one place so that your designer can immediately access what they need. This prevents back-and-forth communications that waste time and resources.

3. Create a “Do Not Want” List

Are there certain things you absolutely do not want on your cover? Maybe it’s a particular color palette. Or a certain typeface. Or a particular type of image. Anything could be included.

Make a list of things for your designer to avoid including. It prevents constant conversations about what the cover should or shouldn’t include, saves time on revisions, and ultimately, saves money.

4. Make Sure You Provide Your Brand Guidelines

While your book cover does not have to match your brand guidelines completely, it’s a good idea that it doesn’t clash with your established brand. Put together at least your basic brand guidelines for your designer.

This should include:

  • Typefaces
  • Color palettes
  • Logos
  • Image or photo guidelines
  • Keywords associated with your brand

Your book is an extension of your brand, and so the more it reinforces that brand, the better. At the very least, your book’s cover should complement your brand, even if it doesn’t match it perfectly.

Best Practices for Business Book Cover Design

While working with a designer for your business book cover design is recommended over designing your own book cover, it’s still a good idea to understand what elements are included in a good cover. This will give you more insight into why your designer might make certain choices or want to do things a certain way.

Keep It Simple

Minimalist book covers dominate in the business world. Many book covers have little more than the title, subtitle, author name, and possibly a single graphic. Some use that graphic as a focal point, while others use it as a background image.

Simplicity allows the important parts of your cover (namely, the title) to stand out. And while a minimalist book cover design might seem like it’s easy to create, it can actually be more challenging than a maximalist cover to get right. There’s little room for error.

Here are a few examples of minimalist business book cover designs:

How Clients Buy | Smart Brevity | The Nuclear Effect

Highlight Your Title

Your book’s title should be prominent on the cover. It should stand out from everything else and be readable from a distance (as it would be in a bookstore) or at small sizes (as it would be on an Amazon search results page). 

Pro tip: Most non-fiction books use a short title that grabs attention, while a longer subtitle does the heavy lifting of saying what the book is actually about.

Here are a few business book cover designs that prominently feature their titles:

Hangry | The 80/20 CEO | Building a Story Brand

Pay Attention to Contrast

Contrast between the cover’s background image or colors and the text is vital to readability. Low-contrast designs are less likely to grab a reader’s attention. High-contrast business book cover designs will stand out on a crowded shelf.

Here are a few examples of business book cover designs that use contrast well:

The Power of Going All-In | Hook Point | One Hour Content Plan

Make Sure Imagery is Appropriate

The imagery on your book cover needs to be appropriate to the content of the book. If your book is about how to get more sales, then a chart showing increasing revenue makes sense. A bouquet of flowers would not make sense. 

Brainstorm the images that could be related to your central topic or theme and give those to your designer. But be open to any ideas they might come up with that also fit the topic or theme. They might surprise you!

Here are a few examples of business book cover designs that feature appropriate imagery:

Build | The Power of Habit | The Visual MBA

Final Thoughts

Writing a business book is a multifaceted endeavor, blending the deep, substantive work of crafting your content with the creative task of designing a book cover that captures the essence of your expertise. Both elements are crucial in establishing your authority and expanding your influence within your niche. 

Remember to give each aspect the attention it deserves. The content of your book is your message to the world, a testament to your knowledge and experience. The cover serves as an invitation to readers into the world you’ve created inside. It’s the combination of these elements that will ultimately dictate the success of your book. 

As you finalize your manuscript, don’t forget to invest in a cover design that speaks just as powerfully as the words on its pages. After all, a well-crafted book cover is not just about aesthetics; it’s about making a promise to your readers—a promise of value, insight, and inspiration.

If you’re interested in working with us to publish your book, including a professionally designed cover, schedule a call today!

Cameron Chapman

Written by
Cameron Chapman

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