Book Cover Design Contest Highlights: Dress It Up or Dress It Down, But No Book Wants to Be Naked!


“Don’t judge a book by its cover!” That’s what my mother always used say when I headed into a new situation filled with people I didn’t know. And she’s right – when it comes to people, first impressions are often misleading. But when it comes to actual books, adhering to my mom’s advice is a much tougher task. And for authors, the reality is that an eye-catching book cover design can have a huge impact on sales. (Well, that and Oprah’s Book Club seal of approval. But if you haven’t managed to convince Oprah to endorse your book yet, it’s absolutely critical that your cover be a visual superstar!)

Just like a logo design or website design, you’re going to want to make sure the cover of your book appeals specifically to your target audience. A great example is the cover of 99designs customer Aenghus Chisholme’s book, “AD 491: Merlin the Sorcerer,” which we blogged about yesterday – you can tell exactly what kind of reader he aims to attract. 99designs has been hosting book cover design contests from the very start – and just broke out  a separate book cover design category this year – and have been blown away by the amazing diversity of work our design community has created (and the enormous range of topics our author-customers have explored in their writing). Here are a just a handful that stood out – may they inspire you in your search for the perfect packaging for your literary works of art!

#1:  Dart For Hipsters by Chris Strom

Winning design by AE.Nciola

Programmer Chris Strom’s tome on coding for the discerning hipster gives the blow-by-blow on Dart, a programming language aiming to be a modern replacement for JavaScript.

You can see the 99designs book cover design contest here.


 #2: [Yellow] Green Beret Volume II by Chester Wong

Winning design by Mac Arvy

With a raucously comic flare and razor-sharp wit, Chester Wong’s memoir  explores what it was like to be an Asian-American officer in wartime U.S. Army Special Forces.

Buy the book here, and check out the [Yellow] Green Beret Volume II 99designs book cover design contest here.


 #3: The Incumbent by Phil Dobbie

Winning design by Venanzio

In his debut novel, journalist Phil Dobbie draws on his frustrated years in telecommunications to form a rational explanation for why the corporate world is so out of control.

Buy the book here, and see The Incumbent 99designs book cover design contest here.


 #4: Iisebelien Keitokset Sakenevat by Marja Lindqvist

Winning design by rejenne

Finnish missionary Marja Lindquist’s uplifting book tells the story of Christian Haitians’ enduring faith in the midst of turmoil and chaos. Lindquist and her husband have been doing missionary work for 30 years, including 20 in the most dangerous slums in Haiti; all proceeds go toward their efforts.

Buy the book here and see the 99designs book cover design contest here.


#5: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert by Donna Laframboise

Winning design by anyash

This expose by Canadian investigative journalist Donna Laframboise is the product of two years of research into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Its conclusion: almost nothing we’ve been told about the IPCC is true. Laframboise, who blogs at No Frakking Consensus, will be promoting “The Delinquent Teenager” in an Australian speaking tour in July 2012.

Buy the book here (so far it’s received top reviews by more than 140 Amazon customers!) and check out the 99designs book cover design contest here.


#6: Startups Open Source by Jared Tame

Winning design by mugna

Designer, coder and writer Jared Tame takes you inside the minds of 33 of today’s leading startup founders – including those behind Grooveshark, reddit, foursquare, Airbnb and Wufoo – in this honest and candid collection of interviews.

Buy Startups Open Sourced here and see the 99designs book cover design contest here.


#7: Spiritually Single Wives by Chris Moss

Winning design by mattkin

Chris Moss, who has been married for 16 years to a man who does not share her Christian faith, explores how women can successfully be “spiritually single.”

Buy the book here and check out the Spiritually Single Wives Book Cover design contest here.


#8: What Employers Want in Graduates by Nana Kwebena Yeboah

Winning design by mugna

Nigerian human resources expert and writer Nana Kwebena Yeboah offers college students and new graduates a play-by-play of what recruiters are looking for and offers practical tips for enhancing your chances of landing a dream job.

Read an excerpt and find out where to buy the book here, and check out the What Employers Want in Graduates Book Cover design contest here.


#9: Race Against the Machine by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

Winning design by flgraphix.

In Race Against the Machine, MIT economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee explore the role technology is playing – and will play in the future – in the world economy. Drawing on research by their team at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, they explore how recent advances that used to be the stuff of science fiction impact us all: computers that drive cars in traffic, translate between human languages effectively, and beat the best human Jeopardy! players.

Buy the book here and see the Race Against the Machine Book Cover contest here.


#10: The Hope You Need by Rick Warren

Winning design by kimejoe

In The Hope You Need, bestselling author Rick Warren explores the deeper meaning of each phrase in The Lord’s Prayer – the best-known and most-loved prayer in history – to help readers uncover the keys to their identity, security, clarity, stability, integrity, serenity, liberty and destiny.

You can see the Hope You Need Book Cover design contest here.


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