Chapter Openers and Part Openers Design: Tips and Examples

Chapter Openers and Part Openers Design: Tips and Examples

When thinking of book design, is the cover the only thing that comes to your mind? However, you should also consider the chapter openers design. It’s an essential element of book formatting and layout that highlights each new part of the story, embellishes the text, and makes your book look professional.

Today we want to tell you more about this type of book design and its functions. Also, we will show you amazing examples of the chapters and part openers design, so you won’t resist adding it to your book as well.

Why do we need chapter openers?

Chapter openers are decorative elements, ornaments, or simple drawings placed at the beginning of a new piece of the story. At first glance, it may seem that their function is purely decorative, but this is not so.

What functions do chapter openers have?

  • They add aesthetics to the overall look of the book. Without it, the text would look dry and formal.
  • Chapter openers highlight the pause between different parts of the novel, giving the reader a few moments to adjust to new events.
  • They catch readers’ attention.
  • Part openers give hints about what will happen next in the book. It’s especially true of designs involving small and simple drawings, such as in the Harry Potter series.

Chapter openers from the Harry Potter series

What can we find on the chapter opening page?

The simplest form of the chapter openers consists of a chapter number. It can be just a figure or a figure with a simple ornament.

There are also additional elements for chapter opening pages that make this design recognizable and attractive. They include:

  • Chapter title if available. Both fiction and nonfiction authors use it to alert readers to the new topic or events.
  • Epigraph, written by the author or taken as a quote from another piece of literature or song.
  • Complex ornamentation or simple drawings, which represent a whole thought-out composition and can occupy half a page.
  • Chapter contents, similar to a mini table of contents. It’s not a widely used element, but it can be helpful when readers face a story with long chapters covering a variety of characters and topics.

Chapter openers design can set the style of the further page decoration if available. For example, if the beginning is embellished with a composition of botanical patterns, you can use similar elements to decorate the page numbering.

All chapter openers can have the same design or consist of various but harmonized elements. The pictures should follow the same style and size if you use drawings. By the way, the first letter of the first word is usually highlighted and stylized according to the other decorative elements.

What should you consider before designing chapter openers?

What you want to see as your chapter openers is not the only question you should ask. You also need to consider the composition’s placement because it significantly affects the entire formatting and layout.

1. Single or double-page opener

Chapter openers can be a single page or cover two pages. Usually, authors prefer one page, but there are exceptions. The two-page format is suitable for books with a small number of chapters. After all, each chapter opener involves taking up additional space. This decision is often impacted by how the book will paginate as a result of choice, how many extra pages it will add, and, of course, the impact on printing cost.

Double-page chapter openers design

2. New chapter on the same side

Some writers want each new chapter to start on the same side. For example, it is typical for nonfiction books to begin each part on the right page. If you’re thinking about it, you should consider that it involves having blank pages because not every chapter ends on the necessary page. As a result, the book will receive additional pages, which may also affect the cost of printing. 

Thus, the most optimal option is to place the chapter openers on a single page without binding to a specific side.

Chapter openers design on the right side

Chapter openers and part openers design examples

Now we want to share with you some examples of chapter opener designs created by the MiblArt team. 

1. Mandala

Here, you can see a mandala, a geometric configuration of symbols. People worldwide use it for meditation, relaxing, and focusing attention. But it’s also a very aesthetic thing working great for chapter openers design. The composition occupies one-third of the page area. Also, our designer added harmonious decorative elements to the page numbering. 

Chapter openers design by MiblArt

2. Tiny miniature

This chapter opener contains a number, a title, and a tiny miniature drawing hinting at the further events. Looking at the array of warplanes, the reader realizes that he has a severe book in his hands, most likely about war. Moreover, planes are old, so we understand that the events refer to previous centuries. This picture immediately helps to set the appropriate mood. 

Chapter openers design by MiblArt

3. Simplicity is power

This design is straightforward, without unnecessary elements. Its highlight is the stylized first letter using a tiny drawing of a hat. Even this element sets the necessary mood and prepares the reader for future events in the novel. After all, the story immediately seems connected with a cowboy and adventures. 

Chapter openers design by MiblArt

4. Combination of ornamentation and drawing

This example combines many elements at once: Number, title, as well as drawing, and ornament. Despite this, all parts of the design are harmonized. The picture sets the mood of mystery and magic, preparing the reader to plunge into the world of mysticism. And the ornament perfectly complements the font and the stylized first letter.

Chapter openers design by MiblArt

5. Botanical style

Botanical ornaments are great for romantic stories. No wonder flowers are an attribute of love. This chapter opener consists of a number and a symmetrical botanical composition reminiscent of flower stems, leaves, and buds. In addition, a similar design is suitable for novels that tell about the events of past centuries. 

Chapter openers design by MiblArt

6. Rich composition

This example consists of a picture, ornaments, and a number and title. In the center of the design is the moon, framed by lianas, guiding the reader’s attention to the main element. It seems as if we are looking at the forest’s edge at the night sky, waiting for a whirlwind of adventure. The designer also decorated the chapter opener with small ornaments harmonizing with the fonts.

Chapter openers design by MiblArt


It’s time to recap. Now you understand chapter openers are integral to book formatting and layout if you want to add aesthetics to your story. In addition, these elements help emphasize the pause between parts of the novel, draw the reader’s attention, and even hint at further events.

If you decide to add chapter openers, think about their placement. The best option is one page without binding to the page.

You can use different elements to decorate the sections: Botanical ornaments, miniature drawings, and stylized letters. However, most often, this composition includes an embellished chapter number.

Do you like the chapter opener design? Do you include them in your book? Share your opinion in the comments.

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1 year ago

Yes, I love chapter openers. I’ve included then in all my books, but didn’t realize just how much I could decorate. Thank you.