In this tutorial, I will show you how to design a book cover. Designing book jacket covers can be intimidating. Today, I will show you how to set up a book cover template that you can reuse over and over again. Using the Page Tool, we will set up every section of the jacket as its own page, to make the book cover template easy to alter.
I’ve also included a handy diagram to show you the dimensions and the structure of the book cover template. Use this as a guide for your future custom book covers!
What You Will Need
You’ll need access to Adobe InDesign. If you don’t have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website. You’ll also need:
- Six faces vector illustration
- Portrait of a young woman
- Kayden script font collection
- Addington CF
- Book jacket template paragraph styles—download the .indd file from the tutorial attachments
Download the assets and make sure the font is installed on your system before starting. I’ll show you how to load Paragraph Styles later in the tutorial. When you are ready, we can dive into creating our InDesign book template!
1. Setting Up the Structure of a Book Jacket Template in InDesign
For this tutorial, we will start by setting up the InDesign book template with one page. Later, on the Layers panel, we will set up the rest of the structure of the book jacket template as shown in the diagram below.
Each part of the book cover template will be set up as its own page. Users will then be able to resize the book jacket cover as they need.
In InDesign, go to File > New. Name the document Book Jacket Template and set the file to the following dimensions:
- Width to 6.375 in
- Height to 9.25 in
- Orientation to Portrait
- Units to Inches
- Pages to 1
- Uncheck Facing Pages
- Margins to 0.5 in
- Bleed to 0.125 in (it’s best to seek your professional printer’s preference)
On the Pages panel (Windows > Layers), uncheck Allow Document Pages to Shuffle from the main menu. This option will allow us to move pages on the InDesign book template easily.
On the Pages panel, add four pages to the book jacket template through the Create New Page button.
Also on the Pages panel, drag the pages into a five-page spread.
Select the Page Tool (Shift-P) from the Tools panel. Select the first page on the left and head over to the Control panel. Set the Width to 3.5 in.
Select the last page on the right with the Page Tool (Shift-P) and set the Width to 3.5 in.
Use the Page Tool (Shift-P) to move the pages next to each other if necessary.
On the Layers panel, select the spine section of the book jacket cover and head over to Layout > Margins and Columns. Set the Margins on all sides to 0.25 in. Click OK.
Select the Page Tool (Shift-P) from the toolbar. Select the spine page and set the Width to 1 in.
Before we start the design of the InDesign book template, we need to alter the margin settings on the front cover and back cover. We need to subtract 0.375 in order to have the design aligned in the center.
On the Layers panel, select page 2 of the InDesign book template. Head over to Layout > Margins and Columns and set the Left margin to 0.875 in. This is to account for the 0.375 in. back wrap and the 0.5 in. margin on all sides.
Repeat the same procedure on the front page of the book jacket cover. On the Layers panel, select page 4. Head over to Layout > Margins and Columns and set the Right margin to 0.875 in.
2. Setting Up Master Pages, Swatches, and Styles
Open the Layers panel by going to Window > Layers. We’ll organize our book cover template into three layers so that users can edit the content.
Bring up the Layers panel by going to Window > Layers. Double-click on Layer 1 and rename it Background.
On the Layers panel main menu, select New Layer. Name it Text. Click OK.
Create a new layer named Images.
Head over to Window > Color > Swatches to expand the Swatches panel. Choose New Color Swatch button from the main menu. Set the Swatch Name and values to the following:
- Blue: C=100 M=80 Y=20 K=55
- Orange: C=0 M=75 Y=95 K=10
- Sand: C=10 M=13 Y=15 K=0
- Yellow: C=5 M=25 Y=55 K=0
Click Add and OK after you input each of the color values.
For this custom book cover tutorial, I created a list of Paragraph Styles that you can use to format the book jacket template.
Head over to Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles to open the Paragraph Styles panel. On the main menu, select Load Paragraph Styles.
Navigate to the Book Jacket Paragraph Styles InDesign document and click Open.
In the Load Styles window, click on Check All and click OK. You’ll have a list of styles on the Paragraph Styles panel ready to be used on your custom book cover template.
3. Designing Your Book Jacket Template in InDesign
Bring up the Rules on your custom book cover by pressing Command-R. Using the top ruler, create two guides horizontally. Sit both on the Y axis at 1 in. and 2.75 in.
On the Layers panel, select the Background layer.
Head over to the toolbar and select the Rectangle Tool (M). Draw a rectangle to cover all of the book jacket template, making sure it is touching the bleeds.
On the Layers panel, lock the Background layer and select the Images layer.
Press Command-D to Place an object. Navigate to the Portrait of a young woman file and click Open.
On the Control panel, set the Scale Percentage to 12%.
Drag the bottom center point of the frame towards the top to create a square frame. Place it under the top guide we created.
On the Layers panel, select the Text layer.
Select the Text Tool (T) and create a text frame that fits the width of the back flap. Place this text frame under the second guide.
Using the Paragraph Styles panel, style the text with the Flap – Quote, Copy and the Flap – Signature style.
Using the Text Tool (T), create three text frames on the back cover. These frames will house a quote, copy, and some information in small text.
Using the Paragraph Styles panel, set the text to Back Cover – Quote and Copy styles.
For the bottom text, set the frame to the Back Cover – Quote. Head over to the Control panel, set the Type Size to 8 pt. On the Swatches panel, set the color to the [Paper] color.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Toolbar. Create a rectangle to include the barcode if necessary. Place this item on the Images layer.
Using the Text Tool (T), create a text frame outside of the spine. Add the title of the book and format it using the Spine style from the Paragraph Styles.
Select the second word and head over to the Control panel. Set the Font to Kaydens Script, and set the Size to 38 pt and the Baseline Shift to -5 pt.
On the Swatches panel, set the color to Yellow.
Using the Rotate Tool (R), rotate the text frame -90° and place it along the spine.
Press Command-D to Place an image on the front cover.
Navigate to the Six faces vector illustration file and click Open. Using the Selection Tool (V), move the frame to crop closely around any one of the portraits.
Resize the image to fit the front cover of the book cover template. Press Shift-Command to resize the image proportionally and drag from any of the corners. Place the image on the bottom margin.
Create two text frames for the word ‘the’ and ‘Secret’.
Set both frames to the Front Cover – Title Line 1 style on the Paragraph Styles panel.
Select ‘the’ and head over to the Control panel. Set the Font Size to 55 pt.
Place both frames next to each other, creating good harmony between the two words.
Create a text frame under the first line for the rest of the title. Set the style on the Paragraph Styles panel to Front Cover – Title Line 2.
Add a final text frame under the title to include the author’s name. Use the Paragraph Styles to format the frame to the Front Cover – Author style.
Select the title and press Command-G to Group the frames.
Duplicate them by pressing Option and dragging to the front flap.
Head over to the Control panel and set the Scale Percentage to 45%.
Using the Text Tool (T), create a text frame under the title on the inside flap. Using the Paragraph Styles panel, set the text to the Copy style.
4. How to Export a Book Jacket Template for Printing
Before exporting the book jacket template for printing, it’s useful to take a look around all the edges. This is to make sure all the images and vectors bleeding out are touching the bleeds. I advise you to consult your printer for any specific settings.
To export the file, go to File > Export. Name the file Book Jacket Template and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format dropdown menu. Click Save.
In the Export Adobe PDF window, set the Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality.
Under Pages, set the Export As option to Spreads.
On the left side of the panel, select Marks and Bleeds. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export. You will have a ready-to-print PDF file.
Great Job! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!
In this tutorial, you learned how to design a book cover template. We covered key tools that will help anyone edit a template fast and easy. Today, you learned to:
- set up a ready-to-print InDesign book template file
- load Paragraph Styles to format text
- add Color Swatches
- organize multiple Layers
- create a multiple-page spread in the Pages panel
- use the Page Tool to resize pages
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