In a previous work life, I designed book covers, something I'm still asked to do from time to time. I've designed for almost every genre out there, from religious and inspiration titles, to cookbooks and childrens books. It is such an amazing bootcamp for graphic designers, because it makes you think, stretch outside your comfort zone, and work with clients who have ideas that are different than yours.
Many books go through so many rounds of design, that what you start with is rarely what is printed. A few of the covers above are early round designs, but ones I felt deserved to see the light of day, at least to showcase here. Many were created from scratch in InDesign, with only the butterfly and people as stock images.
Color plays an important and essential role in book cover design. Not only is it key by genre, but also by age group. There are so many nuances that happen within each book genre, that I used to go to the bookstore regularly to study trends and stylistic choices.
Designing book covers gave me such a strong basis for other areas of creativity. It expanded on my knowledge of various age groups and demographics. It trained me to look for subtle nuances in stories that I could take advantage of. It challenged me every day to look at a story differently and explore possibility. Overall, it gave me a strong working knowledge of design programs and conceptual thinking.