Asset Design

Take a look at any two books on your shelf and you’ll notice how the appearance of their text is different. How do you decide what font to use, what weight, how large should the pages be (and what’s the most economical size), what will make the page pleasing to the eye…? Textual design is an art form which should not be overlooked. The best book can be ruined by poor typographical design, and if it’s not easy to read, by and large people won’t read it. We’ll design your book and ensure that you’re happy with that design before typesetting begins.

Cover design is arguably even more important, as it’s often the cover that sells a book. How often have you seen ‘home produced’ books with terrible covers on the local bookshop shelf? We can design your book’s jacket from scratch, using either your own artwork or supplying professional quality photographs or illustrations. We also ensure that your book cover includes a bar code – a necessity for stocking in bookshops.

Uniquely in the self-publishing industry, our authors can save between 10% and 50% on buying royalty free images through us with our discounted suppliers. This includes image databases such as,,,, and Dorling Kindersley RF. If you wish to source photographs or images for use on your book’s cover or within the text, please contact us for further information on how to benefit from our discounted rates.

Once you have written and designed the contents of your book, you need to consider the cover. The cover – the front and the back – are very important. After all, if this thing is to sell we need to:

  • get it into Bookshops or online digital Bookstore
  • get people to notice it
  • then get people to pick it up
  • have them look at the outside
  • make them want to look at the inside
  • instil the urge to part with their money and buy it

This may sound like common sense but it is a linear process, where each step only happens if the previous one does. So on the assumption that we can get it into bookshops – we’ll cover that later – we need people to see it on the shelf and then pick it up and read the front cover, then the back. These are your first opportunities to sell your work of art here so make it good.

Take a trip round a bookshop and see what I mean. Most of the books are stuck on a shelf with the cover invisible, and the spine is the only part you can see. This is where you start. In most cases only the title and maybe the author name will appear on the spine. After all there is not much space.

So you need to start with your title. In order for it to do the job, it needs to be short, snappy and give some idea of what is in the book. If it is too long, it will be truncated on most computer systems, so people will only see the first part, it also won’t fit on the cover. If it is too obscure then people will miss the point and won’t know what the book is about (this may be what you want of course) and if it is not in any way related to the content then it will not help you to get people to the next stage – the front cover.

The front cover may be the first thing people see if you are lucky enough to have your book featured on a till point or feature table, where it is placed with the cover facing out. Or the spine may have done the job and the potential customer now has your wonderful book in their hand. What does the cover need to do? Well clearly it needs to do a similar job to the spine, but obviously you have more space (unless your design has gone completely up the spout!). As you look around the bookshop you’ll see the use of colour, witty titles, authors names prominent, pictures all over the place, subtitles and sometimes references, quotes or awards that prove this is the best thing in the bookshop. Well we don’t have the last bit so we need to work on the title, subtitle and the rest of the cover.

We already discussed the title. The subtitle gives you an opportunity to explain the title in a little more detail to draw the reader further into the desire to buy your book. In my case the title is “The Very Best of British”. Combined with the UK and US flags at each end, it starts to give some clues about the nature of the book. The font is a slightly frivolous one, which helps to portray the humour aspect of the book. The subtitle is “The American’s Guide to Speaking British”. This is the first point the reader actually finds out what the book is about.

To emphasise the point, the cartoon on the front is a simple, single picture that makes a joke of a US/UK word difference that is immediately (hopefully) understood and (also hopefully) funny.

If the spine and cover have done their job and the prospective buyer is now wondering with excitement what the book contains in a little more detail, the chances are they will turn it over and look at the back. This is your final opportunity to entice them to open the book and then convince themselves they want it. The words on the back need to entice the reader in, tease them with snippets of content, précis what they will get from the book and leave them wanting more.

Again, looking at books with this thought process in mind will help you see what the publishers were trying to do. You need to spend time to think the spine and the front and back covers through. Don’t leave it till the last moment, after everything else is done and the printer is hassling you for the files – plan it and get it right. If you don’t, you’ll regret it.

Each Asset Design Assignment is individually price-quoted…please contact us for a discussion of your requirements.