Book Cover Design Mistakes #5: Lack of Focus

Welcome to Book Cover Design Mistakes, a new series of posts on Shelfbuzz which help identify common mistakes of amateur book designers. In Part 5 of this series, we’ll shine the spotlight of shame on to covers with too many images. This is a simple mistake, yet a common one. The author/designer comes to the conclusion that if one image is good, multiple images must be better.

For example:

 

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In the cover above for Knorra Sky, not only is there a randomly placed compass, but the smaller figures to the sides of the main image of the guy (?) with the sword look like puppets or figurines. The small woman actually seems like she’s perched on the sword guy’s arm.

The next cover, Labyrinth, wants us to know the story has fighting, loving, and castles—so all of those elements are slapped on the cover.

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 Finally we have this mishmash of bodies and big cats.

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Let’s contrast some professional covers which are designed to focus your attention with a strong image:

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Even in the case of the last two covers which are more visually complex, your eye is drawn to a central image.

Bottom Line: most professionally-designed book covers use a strong central image and don’t clutter the design with extraneous elements.