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Designing Covers
Click on underlined text for more general information.
Do | Don't | Basic Format Elements-click for more links | Add "Oomph"
Digital | Elements | Font | Margins | Photos | Title

Reporting Live: Articles and Letters from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, by Lyndon N. Irwin PH.D., 2008Begin by being comfortable: It is recommended that an individual learn as much as they can about the chosen cover method, and requirements for that cover design. Don’t handicap yourself from the start by knowing just enough to get by. As with manuscript design, there is no "silver bullet" for proper cover design or format. However, there are some very basic ideas to get you ready to go for both covers and manuscripts:


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Designs for the same book:
Captain Tough Chief of Scouts
Deluxe hard cover (custom line imprint) Collectors Edition (out of print) and
color soft cover (in print).

Consider changing the look, just by changing the color!

Big Mountain to Washburn Prairie, 1860 - The Sugar Creek Hills of Southwest Missouri, by Sharolyn S. and Patrick L. McCoy, 2013Don't

  • Don't do anything to your cover that you hate to come across.

  • Don't over clutter - often trying to get "more bang for the buck".

  • Don't use small type if you want older people to easily identify your work.

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Basic design elements to consider

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Finding and Using African American Newspapers, by Tim Pinnick:  hard and soft cover edition
Black and White hard and soft cover mirrored design.
The choice of b/w complements the subject of the work - newspapers.

Books with planned hard and soft cover editions may be published at the same time to reduce printing costs. Cover design may be the same, similar, or totally different.

Some basic ideas to make your publication special (some ideas for Hardbound {HB} or Sofbound {SB} only)

  • Make a trip to the bookstore and note likable or hated covers, use this as a guideline or springboard for ideas. Do not limit yourself by subject or size for this step.

  • Consider using a pre-planned color palette.

  • Use clipart or stock photography to liven up layout where you don't have items specific to the book to use.

  • Do add other things besides text.

  • For more than one book in a series, or from the same author, consider using the same basic layout in different colors.

  • HB: Match your end papers to the cover (main) color.

  • HB: Use custom printed end sheets (end papers).

  • HB: If economical or offered, use stock pre-printed end papers such as marbleized, etc.

  • HB: Consider dust jackets versus color covers.Use as little or as much color as you want!

  • SB: Print on the inside of the cover.

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For more suggestions on this subject and more, order our book:
wholesale price eligible G550-$20.00 WRITING Family History Or Genealogy For Pleasure and Profit Complete Edition, by Gregath Company, Inc., *updated* 2015. ISBN: 978-0-944619-00-1, 8½x11", softbound book, 132 pages, suggestions & examples of all facets of your project for the typist and/or computer user. Note: All G prefix books 100 pages or more, this one included, that are SB can be special ordered in hard cover edition - contact for details. Also available on disk. | Click here for more information.

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This Page Last Updated: April 22, 2022
















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