The Psychology of Book Covers: How Design Influences Reader Choices


We all have heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, while stands true for judging people, we can’t say the same thing about scout actual books. Turns out books are judged by their covers because how else is a book supposed to catch your attention, how are you supposed to decide which book you want to get? Book covers play a huge role in influencing our choice of books. A book cover gives you a little taste of what it holds inside, an appealing cover ensures more and more people pick up the book at stores and buy it. Book covers play a key role in captivating readers and explaining what the work is about and what they should expect from it. It is the book cover that determines whether or not people would buy it. You might realise it, but the design of the book cover is very important when you’re deciding on what books to buy. This blog is going to explore the psychology of book covers and how they affect our choice of books so you know how to design a book cover!

Make the first impression count

The book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees, and it automatically creates an impression in the reader’s mind. Books with more visually pleasing covers are more likely to be sold than books whose covers aren’t that attractive. The book cover acts like a teaser of the story. 

Visual perception and colour psychology

Colours, whether you are aware or not, have a profound effect on our emotions and perceptions they are used to indicate the kind of genre the book is of and the themes. Colours have the ability to elicit certain feelings, draw an image in our minds and even bring back old memories. The colours used for a book cover hold alot of importance and need to be dealt with carefully so the book catches the attention of potential readers. you can use warm colours like orange or red if your book is a thriller or romance. You can go for yellow if you’re making a cover for a self-help book, if the book is motivational or if the target audience is children. You might want to use calming colors like green and blue especially if you’re working on a book on personal growth and health or environment-related topics. These colours can help the reader decide whether the book is of their personal preference or not. 

Catch the reader’s attention

Your book cover should give the potential reader just enough information about the book to make them curious, not too much, not too less. The book cover should depict the story and be able to convince the reader that it is worth their time and money. You can look for a book cover designers or online resources on how to design a book cover to catch people’s attention.

Use the Z-Pattern Layout

One way of making your book cover more appealing is by using a layout that the human eyes follow naturally, also known as the Z-pattern layout. Our eyes naturally read in a Z pattern, we read from left to right and top to bottom. Our eyes read the page starting from the left corner at the top. Like the letter Z, the eye processes information by initiating at the top-left corner of a page, progressing horizontally, going down diagonally, and then from left to right again. It is recommended to present this layout with text at the top and bottom of the cover and Position the image slightly angled in the centre of the frame. You might wanna use bold contrasts and colours for the book to stand out amongst all the books on the shelves.

Connecting with the book on an emotional level

Book covers are not just about giving the potential reader information, they try to make you connect with the book on an emotional level. By designing a good cover, you can elicit emotions and pique the interest of potential readers which leads the reader to delve deeper into the text. You can hire a book cover designer to help you with it.

Cover art and images

Again, the book cover is the first interaction that a potential reader has with your book unless they have been given a detailed account of the book by a trusted friend. Cover art and images can either make the reader curious enough to buy the book or leave it for later. Because there are so many options available to the reader, they try to make the easy way out by judging the covert art and images. You can consult a good book cover designer online to get your cover made in the best way possible, good cover images and cover art give you an insight into the story behind them, and the reader can understand what kind of a book it is solely by looking at the cover of a well-designed book. The images or cover art you use for your book should not give away too much or too little about the story, but just enough to keep the reader interested.

Use the right typography

The appearance of the printed matter is important for the book cover design, it includes the author’s name and the book’s title. Choose a typeface that conveys a unique persona, since fonts contribute alot to the overall character of the design.


Do not make the cover difficult for the potential reader to understand, as they do not have the time to understand the underlying message, complex designs only lead to readers putting the book down and moving on to the other ones since they have alot of options. Try to be minimalist and only keep the things that you need to convey the message of the book.

Mistakes you need to avoid

There are some common mistakes made by designers that you need to avoid while designing the cover for your book such as using a completely irrelevant image or cover art, a low-quality image or using off-putting fonts. You can ensure that your book cover is relevant to the book’s content and attracts readers 


What will make my book cover stand out from the rest in a crowded market?

The book covers with engaging images, appealing colours and intriguing descriptions catch the attention of readers, it’s what makes the covers stand out.

Can I give the designer of my book cover suggestions?

Of course, you can provide the designer of the book cover with examples of how you want the cover to look, you can collaborate with the designer and get the book cover you have envisioned.

Can I hire a book cover designer online?

You can hire a book cover designer online, on freelance platforms, by social media networking and through design agencies. You can create your book cover on your own by using design software like Adobe Spark or Canva.

Do I need a professional designer for my book cover?

No, although you can hire a book cover designer and collaborate with him to make your book cover, you can also make the book cover yourself.


Keep all these points in mind while getting your book cover made or while making it yourself, your book’s cover is going to determine how well it’s going to sell in the market, so make sure it is as close as it can be to the content of the book and depicts the subject matter of the book accurately. Make sure your book cover design is readable and simple, and piques the interest of the reader.