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Contemplating downloading an eBook from a website landing page isn't all that different from scanning a table of books at your local Barnes & Noble and considering a possible purchase. Design absolutely matters.

In fact, Adobe reports that given 15 minutes to consume content, 66% of people would much rather read something beautifully designed than something plain. Moreover, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website altogether if the content or layout is unattractive.

So to make sure you're putting your best foot forward with your own digital offerings, these graphic design tips will help inform your design decisions as you develop your next eBook cover.

People judge books by their coverseBooks included.

For a little more perspective, let's plant ourselves in the shoes of a person looking for some helpful content which they can use to improve their business...

Book Store: While you survey the variety of books on the table, one grabs your attention. You pick it up and start to peruse the inside flap and back for a synopsis. You learn about the book and you're greeted by reinforcing statements like "Best book ever!" from a reviewer. Then, you either buy it or put it back on the table.

eBook: You are scanning a company's Resources page. One of the offers grabs your attention. You click on it and start to peruse the copy on the landing page. You learn what value the eBook is going to deliver. You might even encounter a client testimonial or two. Then, you either dowload or move on to another page.

Your cover is a critical component to those few minutes where you're processing the information in front of you. As a marketer, you want site visitors to "pick up" your eBook and start learning about it. Getting them to take that action is influenced by your cover's design. Therefore, it needs to do these three things:

  • Stand out / grab a reader's attention
  • Communicate what your eBook is about
  • Highlight the benefit to downloading

Here are a few thoughts that will help steer you in the right direction. 

Cover Image Type: People vs. Graphic

Let's say your eBook is about an aspect of a service your business provides, a problem your audience faces, or any other topic specifically geared towards people completing an action. In this case, it's a good idea to use images that portray actual people, as the cover is going to feel a lot more relatable to the reader.

Caution: Avoid cliche stock images. You know, the ones you see EVERYWHERE. These types of visuals may work against you.

If your eBook captures an idea or theme that lends itself to a metaphor, particularly if the title of the eBook draws some kind of comparison, you're better off going in the graphical/illustrated direction. 

However, regardless of image type, the rule of thumb you should follow is this: be consistent throughout the eBook. The cover sets the tone for your design and your eBook should mirror that look and feel (including image, colors, font types, etc.). For instance, if you decide to use a real photograph on the cover, utilize photographs as the primary images throughout your eBook pages (to break apart chapters or to support a main point), and limit use of graphs, icons and vector files to call-outs or to frame other supplementary content.

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Not Every Great Image Is Great for a Cover:

You find a super compelling image and you think... this is the one. But will it really work for a cover? When you look for a cover image, it's important to consider where the text is going to be placed. Ideally, the visual will include an area of open space or a section you can sacrifice without taking away from what you want featured.

Cover Font:

It's best to choose a font that has multiple font weights (Extra bold, Semibold, Regular, Thin, Extra Thin, etc.). This gives you more flexibility when you're designing, allowing you to spruce up your cover with varying styles. 

Redesign Unlocked: 10 Keys to Reinventing Your WebsiteLandscape vs. Portrait Layout:

There is no right or wrong here. But unless you're working on a checklist or another short piece of content, I recommend using a horizontal landscape layout. Horizontal gives your more room to stretch out, and you can be louder with your images and spacing. Plus, for desktop users, it's a tad easier to read without having to scroll mid-page.

Additional Text on the Cover:

If you're adding a small introductory paragraph to your cover, adjust the margin so the edges are clean and straight. You can do this by going to:

Windows Tab (in InDesign)... Paragraph...  Justify with Last Line to the Left

That said, be careful when you do this because this 'justify' will stretch some of the spacing to make that work. So make sure to review! If it looks good, you're in business.

By keeping these graphic design tips in mind, you'll be better equipped to strengthen your eBook cover designs and stand out! You'll certainly increase the chances that your eBook will be picked up and considered among the others on the "Table."

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About the Author

Doug Orleski | Graphic Designer
Doug Orleski, Graphic Designer

Doug Orleski has been a Design Specialist at PMG since 2013. He’s an Adobe extraordinaire, with specialties in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. He’s a big picture thinker – no, seriously, he thinks in pictures, so when he’s not grappling with shifting to word-based work, he’s writing about techniques in streamlining design, customization techniques and optimal image selection.

 Tags: Website & Graphic Design

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