What is required when creating cover art and how to evaluate covers

There are two main elements in a cover.

  • The Art
  • The Typography

Good covers are basically advertisements. Like good ads then, a cover can be art or typography dominated. And knowing which is most prominent in your cover before you provide details to your artist will save time.

When reviewing the cover it is worth knowing as well as the following elements:

  • order of importance of elements
  • focal point in the art
  • amount of whitespace
  • typographic layout for the series (title and sub-title location at top or bottom, etc.)
  • level of contrast between elements.

Furthermore it is worth noting that covers can be

  • illustrated
  • photo bashed (stock at manipulated and combined.

Depending on genre/sub-genre, the art and art type will be one or the other.

In general, cover should follow genre or sub­genre conventions. When briefing artists, the following is needed.

  • Scene description
  • sub-genre of work
  • theme and mood to be evoked
  • the positioning of title, sub-title.
  • any specific colors requested.

When evaluating, watch for previously mentioned elements of importance.

In general, the eye should move in a Z pattern, leading the gaze downwards


Order of importance for my artwork is generally:

  • art focal point
  • series title
  • sub-title
  • name at bottom

As such, size and placement of the typography should also relate to that.

In more prominent authors like Jim Butcher, James Patterson and the like, the author name might have greater importance than the ant itself.

Last Thoughts

Cover Art should capture attention. It should intrigue and excite. It should also inform viewers of genre & sub-genre and what to expect of the work.

It needs to do this not just in full size but also as a thumbnail and black and white.

Questions? Thoughts?

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