Case Study 2

Title: The Little Blue Book for Authors

Author: Gisela Hausmann

Designer: Gisela Hausmann

Genre: Self-publishing

Graphics: The background is solid blue overlaid with the pound sign—for no obvious reason. Non-fiction books often do well with solid backgrounds, provided the backgrounds remain uncluttered. The old-fashioned typewriter, which incongruously features an emoji, is just a two-dimensional illustration and not a very well done one at that. A photo of a dusty Remington would have worked better and would have relieved the cover’s flatness.

Typography: The subtitle, 53 Do’s and Don’ts Nobody is Telling You, stands out more than the title, which is set in a childish font atop the number “53” (why does that number appear twice?). The title should have been twice as large as it is, with the lines more closely spaced. The title and author name are in a yellowish, but not strong yellow, hue that isn’t sufficiently distinct from the off-white of the subtitle and tagline.

The author is touted as an “Amazon Top Reviewer,” which doesn’t seem a particularly high or relevant credential. Better to have said nothing—and definitely better to have left off “by,” which is never necessary. It’s one of the telltale marks of an amateur designer. Authors are identified sufficiently just by having their names at the top or bottom. (If a name appears on a book cover, everyone will presume it’s the name of the author. What else would it be?)

Overall: Self-publishing is a popular topic. Authors of self-publishing books hold themselves out to be experts: “I know how to do this right, so follow my advice.” This means these authors need to prove their bona fides immediately, with the cover. It’s more important for them than for authors of most other non-fiction books. This cover fails to do that.