How to Design a Book Spine: 36 Fantastic Examples


Answer the following question honestly. When you think about your book cover design, do you consider the front and back images only or the spine as well?

You may never have thought about it, but winning spine design can be a game-changer for your story, especially if it stands on a crowded shelf in a bookstore.

Today we draw your attention to the importance of the book spine design. Keep reading to discover how to create the attention-grabbing binding and see over 30 examples.

Why you need a proper spine design

A printed book is technically impossible without a spine. However, it’s always there, even if you can’t define its specific boundaries on a book cover layout.

A book spine is the outer edge of a cover that runs along the length of its binding. It is the part of the book you see when it is on a shelf.

You decide whether to highlight it with the design or just the title or not include any elements at all.

However, we recommend always considering at least a minimum spine design. And here’s why:

  • It adds an aesthetic touch and completes the book cover composition.
  • The spine grabs readers’ attention.
  • It helps readers to notice your novel on the bookshelf.
  • You can enumerate your series. 
  • An author’s logo on the spine helps to build your professional brand and make your works recognizable and memorable.

How to design a winning book spine

Have we convinced you that the right book spine design is essential? Then you have to keep in mind three important rules

1. Remember about size and format

The front and back size covers usually have standard measures. But the spine size depends on the page count, paper type, and cover material. Moreover, if you decide to add acknowledgments or opening remarks at the last minute, you must also change the spine size. Otherwise, the book cover won’t fit while printing.

That’s why designing a proper spine size with DIY tools can be challenging. It’s better to turn to a professional book cover designer with relevant experience who can quickly and correctly calculate the spine size.

2. Don’t overload the space

The spine usually only duplicates the book’s title and author’s name. However, these inscriptions should be noticeable. You can add decorative elements but refuse to include a complete front cover image.

You should also avoid including other text as it can make binding too busy. The spine’s function is to grab readers’ attention and name your book, not to give exhaustive information.

3. Make sure the title and author’s name are readable

No matter how complex the spine design is, the title and author’s name should be legible and not blend in with the background or decorations. You don’t have to duplicate the front cover’s typography style to achieve this.

When using simpler and smaller fonts, ensure they are sufficiently contrasting and visible from the outside.

Book spine best practices with examples

Now let’s move from theory to practice, namely to the 7 most common types of book spine design. So, how to create it?

1. Leave space for the spine within the whole composition

You don’t need to create a separate design for the spine. However, make sure you leave enough space within the book cover.

2. Highlight the spine with colors or shadows

If you prefer clear edges but still don’t want to bother with a separate design, you can make the spine stand out with contrasting colors. You can also emphasize it with shadows or darker tones.

3. Add the author’s logo to brand your book

If you have an author’s logo, include it in the spine design. This will make your book recognizable and memorable. You also can add your publishing house logo.

Don’t you still have the author’s logo? Miblart creates eye-catching author’s logos upon your requirements and tastes.

4. Choose a contrasting color for the title

The style of the typography is usually duplicated on the spine design. However, choose a color that contrasts with the background to make it as readable and eye-catching as possible. Then the name will be clear at any distance and in any light.

5. Numerate the series parts

If you are writing a series of books, add numbering to the spine. This will help readers quickly find the latest part of the story on the shelf in the store, as well as organize the series at home.

6. Add a decorative element

Do you prefer something unique but still don’t want to overcomplicate your spine? In this case, add a cute little element that matches the overall composition and adds a zest to the spine.

7. Create a spine masterpiece

If you want your spine to stand out from the first seconds, you should consider a unique and complex design. Ensure that all elements suit each other and that the composition is well-balanced. The title and author’s name should still be readable, so place decorative elements separately from the inscriptions.

Summing up

The proper spine design is your chance to draw readers’ attention to your book, stand out from your competitors, and increase sales. You can choose different ways to create it, from minimalist decorations to real masterpieces. 

Extra elements such as the author’s logo or series branding help to make your book recognizable and memorable.

What book spine design do you enjoy the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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