10 top tips from a real life book cover designer

Find out what it’s like to create cool covers!

Rachel Lawston (pictured) is a designer for Random House Children’s Publishers. She created the book cover for Noble Conflict, the latest novel from Malorie Blackman.

We got the winner of our Noble Conflict illustration competition, Crissy Volt-Green, to ask her some questions. 


How did you come up with the final design for the Noble Conflict cover?

Rachel: It was definitely a design team effort! After the success of the Noughts & Crosses redesign we knew we wanted to deliver another cover with the same flawless simplicity; passion, devastation and tragedy. We went through lots of visuals and lots of covers meetings with the Editor, Sales and Marketing where we discussed the manuscript and what route would work best.


Do you think that illustrations, covers or photographs are most effective on covers?

Rachel: No route is a  wrong one. The route we choose all depends on the author identity, the genre, the manuscript and the reader!


Do you have to read the book or know the storyline when designing a cover?

Rachel: Yes, definitely!


How are you approached to design covers – is it through a publishing company or freelance based?

Rachel: I am an in-house designer, but there are freelance designers out there.


What kind of brief do you get given, and who from?

Rachel: Gosh, that’s a difficult one! Each brief is very different and usually comes from the Editor. The designer almost always briefs the artist or photographer.


What do you think makes a cover eye-catching and attractive?

Rachel: A strong and distinctive identity.


What techniques do you use to convey different genres in a cover?

Rachel: Another tricky one. It all depends on the reader we are targeting and the author. I always try to be as sympathetic and faithful to the manuscript as possible.


What software do you use to design covers?

Rachel: Adobe Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator.


Do you agree that you should never judge a book by its cover?

Rachel: :)


What advice would you give to an aspiring cover designer?

Rachel: Do lots of work placements and don’t give up! It is a tricky industry to get into, but it is definitely worth it!!!



If you like designing covers for others on Movellas, comment below, put a link to your cover store if you have one, and let people know about you! Don't forget to follow us on Instagram: each day we pick the best Cover of the Day and repost it!

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