Nonfiction Book Cover Design: Best Practices and Tips

by Anastasia
30.12.2020

Nonfiction Book Cover Design: Best Practices and Tips

by Anastasia
30.12.2020

Ready to unlock the secrets to fantastic nonfiction book cover design?

While your nonfiction book provides your readers with valuable or even life-changing information, a wrong book cover design can turn potential readers away.

Intimidated? Don’t be. We’ve put together 7 powerful nonfiction book cover design tips to help you expand your loyal readership and boost book sales.

Keep reading, and find out how to:

  • use colors to draw attention to your nonfiction book cover
  • add text to appeal to your target audience
  • use typography to hook more readers
  • and so much more

It’s nonfiction time!

Nonfiction book cover design tips

Check out these 7 mind-blowing tips on how to improve your nonfiction book cover design.

Are you also searching for some inspiration for nonfiction book cover design? Well, look no further. We are going to showcase some excellent nonfiction book covers.

Game on!

Tip 1: Use colors to draw attention

The main function of your nonfiction book cover design is to appeal to the potential readers mentally. You need to activate the subconscious triggers that will signal your readership that the book they’re looking at will teach them valuable lessons. That’s why you should not underestimate the power of color theory. 

  • There’s a reason why many thought-provoking nonfiction titles use orange as their dominant color. According to the color theory and psychology, orange color evokes the pursuit of achievement and self-affirmation.
  • However, if you’d like to try something different, yellow, orange, blue, and red color combinations are a go-to in nonfiction book cover design. 
  • The best background color solution might be grey, white, or black as they symbolize simplicity, balance, and wisdom.

Can you take your eyes off these gorgeous colors on nonfiction book covers?

Color in nonficiton book covers on the example of Manual De Seo Y's "Marketing de Afiliacion" Color in nonficiton book covers on the example of Alexander's Gordon's "The Ulrimate Job Interview"" Color in nonficiton book covers on the example of Elias Vazquez's "Avanzada de Swing Trading""

Tip 2: Value the white space

One of the common misconceptions about the nonfiction cover design is that some authors believe they need to use all the space available on the front cover to make it better. Wrong! Don’t be afraid of white space – parts of the book cover that don’t have images, texts, or graphic elements. 

  • When it comes to nonfiction, your design doesn’t need to be bright, loud, and overly decorated. Otherwise, you risk drawing the potential readers away. They might consider the cover design too overwhelming if there’s a lack of white space.
  • Moreover, white space allows you to highlight what is important. For example, your main visual element, a subtitle, or a review. It improves the readers’ perception and allows them to quickly scan the cover and decode the message you’re trying to send.

Here are some perfect examples of how white space matters in nonfiction book cover design. 

White space in nonficiton book covers on the example of Jessica Adams's "Empath" White space in nonficiton book covers on the example of Glenn Cummings's "Reiki Healing for Beginners" White space in nonficiton book covers on the example of Tim Wuebker's "Money for Teens"

Tip 3: Add text to appeal to your target audience

Now, here’s a fundamental difference between fiction and nonfiction book cover design. When working on a design for fiction titles, designers tend to avoid all the unnecessary text on the front cover, except the title and an author name. Guess what? For your nonfiction cover design, you absolutely should consider planting more text. Just try to put yourself in your readers’ shoes for a moment. You’re in the bookshop; you grab a book; the title shouts “success”. Is there something missing? Well, of course!

  • It would be best if you elaborated on what exactly the nonfiction book is about. To achieve that task without appearing too pushy, you might consider adding a teaser, review, bullet list, subtitle, or a puff quote. This trick will help you to, first of all, establish social proof and also give your readers a decent reason to pick your book. 
  • You’ll also leave the impression of being straightforward if you add some text on the cover. It’s as if you were indicating that you have nothing to hide and want to provide your readers with value without wasting their time. Isn’t that exactly how you’d like to appear?

Does the text on these book covers pique your interest?

The advantage of adding text in nonficiton book covers on the example of David William's "Divident Investing"" The advantage of adding text in nonficiton book covers on the example of Elias Vazquez "Valores Avanzado" The advantage of adding text in nonficiton book covers on the example of Mark Creed's "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen""

Tip 4: Follow the rule “less is more” when choosing images

Trust us when we say it: the best idea for your nonfiction book cover design is a smart and rational approach. Don’t place many absurd images and illustrations since you’d be risking to confuse the reader. Think about it: if you didn’t manage to arrange the pictures on your book cover, where’s the proof that you are able to organize your thoughts in the book itself?

  • We’d recommend choosing one central image to hook the readers and give them some food for thought. 
  • Don’t be afraid that, due to the lack of images, your design will look dull. Use solid colors and strong fonts to create balance, and pop your image as necessary. Value quality over quantity, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Keep in mind that it might be best to avoid using highly rated stock photos because your book cover might not seem unique. Think for a moment, how many light bulbs have you already stumbled across in nonfiction book cover design?

Now, let’s match words to pictures. Check out these attention-grabbing minimalist book covers. 

Minimalistic images in nonficiton book covers on the example of Rex Bonds's "Shredded Secrets" Minimalistic images in nonficiton book covers on the example of "Steps to Financial Freedom" the Guide" Minimalistic images in nonficiton book covers on the example of Amy Hughes's "Norse Mythology"

Tip 5: Use typography to hook more readers 

It might come as a surprise, but typography is the most important element in your nonfiction book cover design. Most probably, your book covers a topic that defies figurative expression. Therefore, the font will often become the leading, and sometimes the only means of design. 

  • Feature keywords on your nonfiction book cover design that will throw some light on the topic you’re writing about. A great trick is to use a different font color for your keywords to grasp the reader’s attention immediately.
  • Pay attention to words cluttering when it comes to typography on your nonfiction book cover design. Remember: Readability comes first. 
  • Keep in mind the visual hierarchy when choosing the typography. Experiment with font size, but don’t forget about the logic.
  • Some book cover designers swear by combining two different fonts on the nonfiction book cover design. It helps to add an extra hook and leaves more space for creativity.

Now, it’s showtime! Can this typography in nonfiction book cover design get any better?

Clever typography in nonficiton book covers on the example of Colby Mickelson's "Secrets of Lngevity" Clever typography in nonficiton book covers on the example of  Fella's "Street Genius" Clever typography in nonficiton book covers on the example of  Kenneth King's "Guide to Equipment FInancing"

Tip 6: Consider a photo-less design

Sometimes all you need to create an appealing nonfiction book cover is colors and fonts. What about the images? Well, there’s nothing wrong with tossing them out. 

  • Unless you’re describing your own success story, avoid using photos of people and celebrities. Such a design style is considered to be outdated and may appear bland.
  • Consider replacing the photos with illustrations. It helps in adding a unique vibe to your book cover design.
  • Since your nonfiction book cover might be featuring a lot of text elements, adding photos might over cramp the overall design. Aim for the balance, and add a picture only if it’s indispensable.

It’s time for our book cover design runway show! Get your front row seats!

Which one of these captured your attention immediately?

Photo-less design in nonficiton book covers on the example of Mike Acker's "Speak with no Fear" Photo-less design in nonficiton book covers on the example of  Alex Elder's "#1 Options Trading Guide" Photo-less design in nonficiton book covers on the example of Robers Bertinger's "Vagus Nerve Power"

Tip 7: Avoid cliches

Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of cliches when it comes to nonfiction book cover design. Readers themselves form and prove those cliches, simply because the consumer tends to react and relate to familiar things. Try to think outside of the box, and follow the design trends rather than cliches.

Many authors fall down the trap of thinking that nonfiction book cover design doesn’t require much effort. Some use DIY book cover makers and end up with cliched templates that are too predictable and lack a distinguishing feature. 

Final thoughts

To sum up, there’s so much more to your nonfiction book cover design than just images, colors, and fonts. Consider your options carefully since your main goal is to capture the readers’ attention from the mental perspective. Don’t get too emotional, stay rational, and follow our nonfiction book cover design tips.

Which nonfiction book cover designs inspired you the most? Do you have any other questions? Reach out to us!

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