Each year the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) hosts the Top Shelf Award program to recognize design excellence among its member publishers in the Christian publishing industry. The winners of this year’s award were recently announced.
I think it is worthwhile to note these winning titles here for you. Your book’s cover is often your number one marketing tool. People do judge books by their covers. A good cover can draw a potential reader to your book, while a bad cover will turn readers away from your book.
Since cover design is largely art and people have a wide variety of tastes in art, rarely do you find unanimous consensus on whether a book’s cover is alluring. However, there are some standards that are extremely important in book design. Some of these include:
- Lots of space (an uncluttered look)
- Easy-to-read fonts
- Ability to read the title from across a room or in a thumbnail sketch
- The title and image together should be clever or create emotion
Personally, I don’t find many of these titles that won the Top Shelf Award very alluring. I am not drawn in by many of them. Frankly, some of them don’t even follow the industry standards for good cover images. Some have titles that are really hard to read and don’t hold up to the “thumbnail test” (see The Thumbnail Rule).
What do you think of these award-winning Christian book cover designs?