The Importance of Color in Book Cover Design

Earlier this week we talked about How Not to Get Overwhelmed: The Book Cover Design, and I felt like something was missing. Yesterday I listened in on a webinar hosted by Joseph Michael and featuring Mike Balmaceda that discussed making your book cover the best it can be to sell your story. That’s when it dawned on me what I’d forgotten to add when we discussed cover design! Color! I wanted to give you one more bit of info whether you plan to design your own cover or commission one.

Colors Matter

I have always enjoyed the feel of colors, and any time I’ve asked for feedback on the various covers I’ve designed the response often comes with an emotional connection of some sort. There is something about colors that attract and repel us, and they also convey a sense of emotion, which as writers and indie publishers we need to be taking advantage of for our book covers.

Instead of me rambling on I wanted to share some infographics I have found helpful as I learn more about the psychology of color and work to use it more efficiently. I thought you might also find this info helpful for designing your own covers. If you are having someone else design the cover, it’s good to share the color scheme you’d like for your books with whoever might be designing it so that you best convey the feeling/emotion you want your readers to gain.

I’d also say that while you’re researching other covers in your genre that you pay attention to the color schemes, too!

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The following chart is from CoverDesignStudio.com:

Red Energy, enthusiasm, emotion, power
Dark Red Passion, depth, dominance, prestige
Orange Positive, dynamic, optimistic, confident
Pale Yellow Friendly, approachable, warm
Bold Yellow Ambition, motivation, creativity, cutting edge
Green Nature, vitality, environment, health
Blue Dependability, trust, thoughtfulness, calm
Dark Blue Deep sincerity, intuition, truth
Light Purple prosperity, spirituality, creativity, harmony
Dark Purple Depth, wealth, mystery, fantasy
Grey Sophistication, knowledge, prestige, wisdom
Pink Youth, playfulness, emotion, innocence
White Clean, straightforward, self-sufficient, simple
Black Authority, power, control, mystery, suspense
Brown Natural, of the earth, comfortable, organic

This next one I like to look at when thinking about branding and logos for author marketing type stuff.

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This last chart I added because I adore the simple and straightforward presentation of how primary, secondary, and tertiary colors correspond!

TheUltraLinx: http://theultralinx.com/2012/06/art-colour-coordination-infographic/
TheUltraLinx: http://theultralinx.com/2012/06/art-colour-coordination-infographic/

You can click on any of the images to see the infographics on the owners’ websites.


55 thoughts on “The Importance of Color in Book Cover Design

  1. Pingback: Persingula Mae
  2. Colour is sooo important when it comes to design – I remember spending ages learning about it at uni (I did an Applied Arts Degree), and the way that people use colour within their businesses to evoke an emotional response – book covers are no different. Lots of useful info here πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Rachael. I think the infographics you have here cover the main aspects of using colour – less is more, opposite colours vibrate, co-ordinate colours if possible, use colour to set the mood. For my book covers, I wanted them to have more of an antique feel, so I chose colours that were slightly faded, like old leather bindings. So there’s that to consider as well, I guess πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Another useful post. πŸ™‚ Colour intimidates me. There, I said it. I’ve tried designing small things in the past, and freaked out at now knowing what colours will go together, or what looks right or anything. But the above could be useful in facing that particular fear. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the color wheels that show the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors that compliment each other is the best place to start. Don’t worry so much about the moods besides how those combinations affect your perception of what you’ve made. Colors are friends not food…oh wait, that’s fish. Fish are friends not food. No…fish are definitely food. Nevermind. Just use color! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh heck…this has hit me where it hurts….arty book cover stuff….I write, no do art πŸ€•

    And yet I know the cover is a make or break thingamy that cannot be avoided….I think I best dig deeper into your posts on this 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It hurts me, too, Gary and I’m even a bit artsy. I feel like I’m still on a learning curve here with this subject in particular since the cover is sooooo important. I have a feeling as I write this series my design sense will evolve and I’ll find I REALLY need new covers for the series. Since you have to get a new ISBN for print books with new covers that could mean serious expense later. I guess it’s best to get a great cover FIRST so you don’t have to go back and do that later. You know?

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      1. Yes, not even thought about ISBN yet….book, proofer, synopsis, blurb, cover then decision…agent or self publish….I’m at the synopsis point…but chose to prevaricate and do some blog posts instead starting with the five word challenge πŸ™ƒ

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Shoot there’s real and real….I think I do chatty narrative just to make sure I don’t spook myself out…no idea if it works for readers that way though πŸ€”

              Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks, Jen! I make them using PaintShop Pro. I use my own photography and lots of photo manipulation in the program. Not sure I’d that’s helpful info, but if you have other questions, please ask. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I have an old version, but I checked their website. Pro8 is the current version and the base program is $79.99, but currently discounted to 63.99. Not cheap, but if you use it a lot, it is worth it. If you don’t think you’ll spend a lot of time or aren’t comfortable with designing it might not be worth it, but something to consider.

              Liked by 1 person

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