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Cover design brief

WritersServices Self-publishing

Cover design brief
  • You will need to provide a cover design brief. Take a look at what the designer needs to know.
  • A well-designed, informative cover is a good investment. The cover is more than just the wrapping that holds the pages together. It is a key to capturing the attention of potential readers in a bookshop.
  • The cost of a cover will depend on the amount of work and any copyright permission required. This is not an open-ended financial commitment. You will have a quote for the work before you commission the final work.
  • Hardbacks also require a dust jacket as well as some details on the board covers. The cover design is used for the hardback dust jacket.

How to write a cover brief

Points to include:

  • The style

There are, broadly, 3 types of cover to choose from:

Lettering Simple four-colour lettering design, possibly with a patterned or textured background. This might suit a textbook, or reference book, or the hardback case of a hardback book.
Photographic Using an image that illustrates the book.  If you don't have something suitable, the designer can find an illustration from a specialist archive which is likely to cost about £100. You might commission models and a photographer for the cover but this will be expensive. This is excellent for historic or regional works. Make sure you own the copyright of any photo you plan to use.
Design The designer will take your brief and produce some visuals.  It is important that you are prepared to work with the designer, who will interpret your brief to provide a distinctive cover which you can discuss and revise. This includes the designer producing a cover design or commissioning or finding an illustration.

 You need to consider:

  • The theme or key image from the book that you want to use on the cover.
  • Is there a particular character or scene from your novel you would like to show on the cover?
  • Should there be a dominant colour?
  • Are there any visual clues such as badges or colours that will identify the content?
  • Is the book designed to be part of a series? Does it need to match existing books?

Please provide as full a brief as you can.

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