Have you ever picked up a book at an airport, a train station or an impulse trip at the mall?
The one thing that makes many readers reach for an unknown author is the cover. The first gateway between a fan and a foe is the cover.
If your cover is uninteresting or too plain, however great the story, the book will go unnoticed. A lot of readers out there just pick up books because the cover looks interesting or intriguing or puts the point across.
For authors in New Zealand, the publishing industry is quite competitive and a good cover is the advantage that can make you stand out amidst the crowd.
Covers don’t just mean the design but the text, the type and the blurb on the back which so many of us tend to use as a sneak peek to what lies inside.
This is where a book cover designer steps in. A person whose sole focus is on designing a cover for your book and helping you reach out to readers.
Before you approach any book cover designers, do your research.
Create a mood board with images or typography that you like or find interesting. Pick any classic novel or book with a cover that has managed to stand the test of time. What do you like about the cover? What do you not like about it? Things like these will help you and the book cover designer to understand each other better and meet expectations.
To help all budding writers in New Zealand, we have compiled a comprehensive list of 21 top book cover designers in New Zealand.
Ranging from full service design agencies to self-publishing platforms to freelancers, we have featured a mixed bag that will guarantee every author out there finds the perfect match.
Please note: The following entry contains affiliate links to Damonza. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase a book cover from Damonza, but at no extra cost to you.
Launched in 2012 by Damon Freeman, Damonza is a print and ebook design company that offers book cover design and formatting services. Damonza promises to have a minimum of 2 ebook cover design drafts for you within 14 days should you choose you to go ahead with them. Experienced in working in all genres including fiction, nonfiction and poetry, they have produced thousands of covers including those for New York Times bestselling books. Different book cover packages are available depending on your needs and budget. Visit their website to find more about the packages and establish the right one for you.
2. CVD Limited
Craig Violich founded CVD Limited almost 14 years ago and has worked with all the best publishers in the country. Located in Auckland, CVD Limited is suitable for writers and publishers across various budgets and has a quick turnaround time. High quality coffee table textbooks, fiction novels, educational books and biographies are just some of the genres this organisation has designed books for. Contact them through this link and get an estimate depending on your requirements.
3. Mills Design
Ross Mills launched Mills Design nearly 25 years ago to provide minimalist, essential sense of style and design to books. New Zealand has a huge market for educational texts and Mills Design primarily focuses on that. You can learn more about their services and rates on this page.
A freelance book cover designer based in Dunedin, Kura Carpenter is the perfect choice for writers interested in getting quality work done at a right price from a book designer directly instead of an agency or company. You can expect personal attention and collaboration with Kura who designs book and e-book covers. The charges are US $25 per hour and differ for mockup versions or polished versions of the design. Authors looking to work with Kura can write on this email address.
Founded in Auckland 10 years ago, LDNZ is a design company which also does book cover designs. They have had experience designing for non-fiction, manuals and children’s books and usually create hardcover designs. They have explained the design process in detail on the website which helps authors answer all the questions before deciding anything. You can contact them here to find out more about services and rates.
Markus Baumann launched Skylark Design in 2001 to help provide design solutions for everyone in New Zealand. Markus designs books as well as book covers so if you are looking for one stop design destination, then you should consider Skylark. This Wakefield situated company offers quick estimates if you contact them here.
Kate Frances has lived in London, Melbourne and recently moved to Auckland to design hardcover books. Kate solely focuses on books, which is a blessing for any writer who wants someone with experience and a strong sense of style. She has won the Publisher’s Association of New Zealand (PANZ) Young Designer of the Year Award in 2013 among many other accolades in New Zealand. Cookbooks, fiction and typography are her areas of expertise, but she is open to working for new genres so feel free to write to Kate and learn more about the services on offer.
8. The Fount
A full service design agency that offers everything from masthead design to layouts and covers, The Fount is an agency started by Chris Wadsworth and Rachel Kirkland. Authors in Auckland can consider The Fount for self-help books, guidebooks, magazines and non-fiction. Write to them or call them for a complimentary consultation that shall answer all your questions regarding prices and time required.
Started by Renee Greenland in 2006, RGDESIGN is an Auckland based graphic design studio. They have worked with big publishing companies and self-publishers so they know how to tailor experiences accordingly. Cookbooks, Children’s books, self-help books, geography, history and sports are few genres that they have designed book covers for. You can write here and get a free 1 hour consultation.
An innovative company that tries to blend print with digital, Smartwork Creative is the resource any new age author needs. They have a unique concept called the ‘Magic Door’ which can give your book the edge it needs in the digital world. Write to Smartwork to learn more about the services on offer.
While it is a book printing company, their book design department has established themselves with experience across various genres and having a wide range of publishing services on their hands can only mean a good thing. Founded in Auckland in 2013, Bookprint has the publishing expertise to distinguish a good cover from a bad one. They have a variety of packages from standard to custom suitable for fiction and non-fiction. Standard packages start from $129 onwards. Contact them on this page to find out the details.
Joanne Aitken started The Little Design Company to provide affordable design options to consumers. A one person agency in Wellington, new authors or self-publishing writers can approach Joanne to work in a budget and with a quick turnaround in production. Email Joanne here to get pricing details.
Arch MacDonnell launched Inhouse as a niche, minimalist and classic design consultancy almost 20 years ago. They create logos, websites, graphics and books but their craftsmanship remains the same across different genres. Writers looking to create well illustrated covers for guidebooks, coffee table books, magazines, non-fiction can add this award winning agency to the list. The Auckland based company can be contacted here.
14. Raewyn Brandon
A freelance web and graphic designer based in Tauranga, Raewyn is the go-to person for typography or crisp covers with interesting fonts. Having designed for Behance previously, you can expect creativity and passion when you approach her to design a book cover. Authors of non-fiction can reach Raewyn on this address.
A client list that boasts of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Scholastic NZ isn’t something to be taken lightly. Penny Newman Design creates the perfect balance between artistic approach and intuitive thought. Located in Wellington, Penny Newman offers design services for children’s books, fiction and illustrated books in both print and digital medium. Her talent as an illustrator can benefit authors out there looking for a unique cover. Write to Penny here to discuss prices and services.
Providing A to Z of publishing and printing services, Printabook was established in 1995 in Christchurch. Over the years they have adopted short run, on-demand printing which is sensible for new or self-published authors. They create hardcover designs for fiction and non-fiction. Their website has a lot of resources for struggling authors looking to find answers about publishing and designing. You can fill this form to get a custom quote for your cover design.
17. Josh Bryant
Based in Nelson, Josh Bryant is a designer providing publishing, printing and designing services to authors in New Zealand. At $200 you can get a standard book cover design for print and e-books. Josh has previously worked on self-help and fiction. Email Josh to discuss any queries.
While full service agencies have their advantages, it is beneficial to work with someone whose focus is purely book designing. Keely O’Shannessy is an award winning book designer living in Auckland. Keely was named Young Designer of the Year in 2010 at the PANZ Book Design Awards and specialises in book cover designs for literary fiction, poetry, and non-fiction (such as art, history, memoirs & biographies). You can contact Keely here.
A self-publishing platform, PressGang is an efficient, easy option if you want e-book covers. Their team is a mix of publishing and design professionals so you can get advice from both sides of the spectrum to help design a cover that narrates your story in a concise and noticeable manner. Art, guidebooks, self-help, cookbooks and fiction are just some of the genres they have worked on. Write here to learn more about pricing and services.
redinc. Book Design was established in 2003 by Nick Turzynski as an outlet to combine his love for books and design. Having spent years designing for other companies, Nick decided to open his own, to provide dedicated design solutions to authors and writers in Auckland. He creates hardcover and ebook versions by collaborating with the writer, and keeping the story in mind rather than just making a standardized version. History, biographies, nature, art, coffee table books and fiction have all been genres that Nick has designed for. Contact Nick to find out about prices.
Having worked in London, Shanghai, New York and finally New Zealand, Philip Kelly has years of design experience that includes typography, catalogues and book covers. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction all types of books can find their cover designed by Philip with his vision and perspective. Write to Philip to get details about services and prices.
Thus finishes our comprehensive list of 21 top book cover designers in New Zealand. It is vital that you pick the right book cover designer and ask the right questions. Do you need a hardcover or straight jacket? Does it need to be in color? Do you have a particular image in mind? Or can you use an existing image after taking the necessary permissions?
Pick the right text, the right font, and the right colors and let them blend well to create a larger image that is your cover. Focus on the blurb on the back and ask a family member or friend to read it and see if it makes sense. Annoying, vague blurbs that keep it mysterious can backfire. So can absurd images that have no connection to the story inside. The right book cover designer will be able to meet all your needs and provide you with the cover most suitable for your genre and medium.
A perfect partnership is possible when you can spend time discussing ideas, studying options and feasibility, and finally deciding on a cover that can portray your story and personality to the reader without drowning them in excess information about unnecessary things.
As a writer, the cover is the first impression you are going to make. It is the face you present to the literary world. A bad cover can literally push you to the back of the shelf. If it is your first book, you have to ensure that your cover conveys the story, the personality and the tone of your book without being overwhelming. Your cover should be a one page selling machine for your novel.
Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.