How Long Does It Take to Design a Book Cover?

Graphic designers often get asked how long it will take to design a book cover. While the answer can vary depending on the project, here are some general guidelines to help you estimate how long your book cover design might take.

A simple book cover can usually be designed in a day or two, whereas a complex cover may take a week or more. Simple covers may only require a title and author name, while complex covers can involve illustrations, multiple text elements, and die-cuts.

Of course, some book covers may require more time – especially if they are particularly intricate or detailed. And in some cases, a client may need revisions or changes made to the design, which can also take additional time. This article will look at the process of cover creation and how each element can affect the timeline for a designer and author.

How Do Graphic Designers Create Book Covers?

Designing a book cover is both an art and a science. A good book cover should be eye-catching and visually appealing, but it also needs to convey important information about the book’s content.

Graphic designers typically start by a synopsis of the book to get a feel for the story. They then brainstorm ideas for the cover, sketching out potential designs. Once a design is chosen, the designer will create a more polished version using computer software.

Some book covers are more complex than others and may require additional elements such as illustrations or photos. In these cases, the designer may work with other artists or photographers to get the right visuals for the cover.

Factors That Affect Book Cover Creation Timelines

There are multiple types and styles of a book cover that affect how long it will take to design. Below are some of the main factors that can influence timelines:

  • The type of book cover (hardcover, paperback, etc.)
  • The size and dimensions of the book
  • The number of pages in the book
  • The amount of text and other elements on the cover
  • How many colors are used in the design
  • Whether or not illustrations or other graphics are used
  • The level of detail in the design
  • The number of revisions or changes required

Depending on the factors above, a book cover can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to design. If you’re working with a professional graphic designer, they will be able to give you a more accurate estimate based on your specific project.

Type of Book Cover

There are three main types of book covers: paperbacks, hardcovers, and dust jackets.

Paperback covers are usually made of cardstock or paperboard and are typically glued to the book’s spine. Hardcover covers are generally made of heavier board and are often covered in cloth or leather. Dust jackets are usually made of paper and are wrapped around the book’s cover.

Book covers can also be classified by their construction: some are “ French fold,” meaning they have two folds that create four panels; others are “single fold,” with just one fold that creates two panels.

Book Cover Style

There are many different book cover styles, and some can increase the timeline for the designer to create them. Here are some of the most common:

  • Photo covers – Photo covers typically feature a close-up image of the book’s subject matter. They can be effective in conveying the mood or tone of the book.
  • Illustrated covers – Illustrated covers are often used for children’s books, fantasy novels, or other fiction. They usually feature an illustration of the book’s main characters or scene. Illustrated covers will generally take more than ten working days to complete, depending on the complexity of the illustration.
  • Text-only covers – As the name suggests, text-only covers feature only text – typically the book’s title and author name. They are commonly used for non-fiction books, self-help books, or anything else where the book’s subject matter is the main focus. These covers will typically take only two or three days to complete.
  • Minimalist covers – Minimalist covers are simple designs that feature only a few elements. They are often used for novels, poetry collections, or other books where the focus is on the book’s words, not its visuals. These covers will often take the least amount of time at five working days or less.

Elements of Book Covers

Depending on the number of various elements the designer must include, book covers take varying amounts of time to create. Some common elements that may be featured on a book cover are:

  • An image or illustrations
  • A description of the book’s contents
  • Endorsements or reviews
  • Praise for the author
  • Award information

Some book covers are made using templates, clip art, or stock images. These can be quicker to design than a completely custom cover but may look less professional. Using pre-made elements may be the best option if you’re on a tight timeline or working with a limited budget.

Most book covers can be designed within a few days to a week. It depends on various factors, including the size and complexity of the book cover, the artist’s experience and skill level, and the client’s specific instructions.

Tools Designers Can Utilize to Help Speed Up a Book Cover Creation Process

Because creating a book cover usually requires the use of graphic design software, certain tools and actions help speed up the process for designers. If you want to design a book cover yourself, there are a few tools that can help speed up the process:

Book Cover Templates

Placeit is a free online design platform that’s simple to use. It offers a wide variety of templates for different types of book covers and tools for adding text, images, and effects.

Many book cover designers begin with book cover templates. While this doesn’t provide a completely custom design, it can be a helpful starting point that can save time.

Graphic Design Software

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are industry-standard graphic design software programs. They’re both fairly complex, but there are several online tutorials and resources that can help you learn how to use them.

Actionable Tips to Help You Design a Book Cover Faster

Designing a book cover can be challenging for both the designer and the author. If you’re a book author, you can help speed up the process by being prepared to provide clear and concise instructions to your designer. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for them to create a cover that you’re happy with.

For designers, there are multiple ways to speed up your design process and still meet all of the author’s criteria.

  1. Keep it simple – When it comes to book covers, less is often more. A complex design can be overwhelming and difficult to read, so try to stick to a simple layout with a limited number of elements.
  2. Use typography – The typeface you choose for your book cover can greatly impact its overall look and feel. When selecting a font, be sure to choose one that’s easily readable and appropriate for the book’s genre.
  3. Use color wisely – The colors you use on your book cover can also affect its overall appearance. When choosing colors, consider the book’s genre, target audience, and any existing branding guidelines.
  4. Consider the spine – Don’t forget about the spine! When designing a book cover, be sure to leave enough space for the text that will appear on the spine.
  5. Use high-quality images – If you’re using images on your book cover, use high-quality ones. Blurriness or pixelation will make your cover look unprofessional.


Designing a book cover can be a time-consuming process, but there are ways to speed up the process. By using templates, graphic design software, and typography, you can create a professional-looking book cover in a shorter amount of time. Keep in mind that the complexity of the design and the number of elements you use will also affect the amount of time it takes to design a book cover.