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5 tips for choosing the right book cover

lundi 26 mars 2018

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  • Cover mock-ups created using Photo Agency images
    Cover mock-ups created using Photo Agency images


Be it a photograph or an illustration, most book covers feature an image. They draw the reader's curiosity and give an overall impression of the work. What tips do publishing industry professionals have for making the right choice?


1- Understand the content of the book in order to convey words in images

Over 150 new releases arrive in bookshops every day, so the choice of cover is vital to stand out and draw the attention of potential readers. At first look, it must provide information about the type of publication, the world and the era concerned and evoke the content. And to allow new authors to reach their audience, publishing industry professionals must pay particular attention to choosing the cover image.

Book covers created using Photo Agency images.


2- Each genre is a world of its own!

It is true that the reader can guess the type of book simply by observing the cover illustration. This is achieved through the use of iconographic codes: this means that the cover image for a detective novel might have an enigmatic feel, conjured by light and shadows. Iconographic scenes can convey fear or violence, opting for certain colours and shapes for a children's novel, appealing to the imaginary or the real, or illustrating a travel book using photographs of well-known scenery or monuments.

Take inspiration from our selection of atmospheric images: fantasydetectivehorror, ...

















Cover mock-ups created using Photo Agency images.

3- Surprise your readers with a carefully chosen detail from the work!

Details invite the reader to consider their interpretations and investigations. They might provide a point of entry to the work, such as the destiny of a character or world described within. The reader invents their own history from the motifs or symbolism hidden in the details.


Portrait de Kan-Gao "Un chinois prenant le frais sur une terrasse au bord de la mer" by Pierre-Louis Delaval

Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot

4- Use high quality images

Your cover's target helps you to choose the colorimetry and density of the image. If your cover is to be printed, the colorimentry must be 4-colour (or CMYK) with a resolution of 300 dpi (Dots per inch). If your file is solely for digital use, the colour mode needs to be RGB with a resolution of 77 ppi (Pixels per inch).

Find out more about the quality of Photo Agency images >>

5 - Be inspired

If you are lacking inspiration, don't hesitate to browse through our million images, you're likely to find what you're looking for. As you scan through the photographs, paintings and sculptures in our database, using the search function or by themes, you will find inspiration from some of the most iconic images from the history of art.