Square Peg in a round holeGuest blog from book cover designer Peter Reardon


Fitting a square peg into a round hole? This is how it feel sometimes when I’m discussing book design with authors. The one critical error I find most self publishing authors, and some of the bigger publishing houses make, is that they find it difficult establishing where their book fits in. And in my opinion, it is one of the most important things to consider when defining who your target audience is and what your book is going to look like.

Over the 25 plus years I have been designing books I have found that even the design boundaries of certain genres of book have now been (and maybe have always been) clearly defined. For example, when you look at a health book and then compare it to a business book you can easily find that the design focus for each is particularly different. Certain fonts and colours readily dictate the genre and look of the book. This seems to be a general consensus across all the different genres of book design, and to be honest I don’t think it’s a bad thing as it identifies who you are, establishes you in the area of expertise and most of all you become easy to find.

Now I’m not saying don’t break the mould and don’t stand out; quite the contrary, let’s shout it to the tree tops! But as advice I’m just saying do your homework, find out what the trends are in your area of expertise and then consider colour, font and the general look of your book, before you decide to smash it out of the ball park with a cover that you like but that doesn’t fit your genre at all.


Peter Reardon, Pipeline Design