Designing Your Book Cover Using Canva: A Step-by-Step Guide - (2024)

To complement my blog post about judging book covers, I wanted to provide a post on designing your book cover using Canva!

Any author wants a captivating book cover that draws readers of that genre. Canva is my favorite graphic design tool—and no, this is not a Canva ad!

Canva has the tools needed to design professional-looking book covers without design experience (I always run covers by my husband or my sister). Follow this step-by-step guide to design your own book cover using Canva:

Step 1 in Designing Your Book Cover Using Canva: Create a Canva Account

1. Visit Canva’s website and create a free account or log in if you already have one. I pay for Canva Pro, but be sure to read all of the ins and outs of using Canva and copyright infringement.

2. Choose Design Type: On the Canva homepage, click on “Create a design” and select “Book cover” from the available templates.

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Notice that you have different kinds of book covers. You can also scroll down on that list and insert a custom size. (See my note at the bottom of the post about cover sizes.)

Step 2: Select a Layout and Template

1. Browse Templates: Canva offers a variety of pre-designed book cover templates. Browse through the options or search for specific themes, genres, or styles that match your book’s content.

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2. Choose a Layout: Click on a template that resonates with your book’s genre and theme. You can customize every aspect of the template later, so focus on finding a layout that suits your vision. **Be sure to title your creation! Just click in the area I circled where it says Untitled Design.

Step 3: Customize Your Book Cover

1. Upload Images: If you have specific images, illustrations, or artwork for your book cover, upload them to Canva. Click on the “Uploads” tab on the left sidebar and drag your files into the uploader.

2. Editing Text and Choosing Your Font(s):

  • Title and Author Name: Double-click on the text boxes on the template to edit your book’s title and author name. Choose fonts that complement your book’s genre and enhance readability.
  • Text Effects: Experiment with text effects such as bold, italics, or shadow to make your title and author name stand out.

**My suggestion on designing your book cover using Canva – go on Amazon or into a local bookstore and look at covers of the genre you write in. Each genre has specific things that readers are used to seeing. For example, I recognize cozy mysteries easily because I know what that genre cover is like.

3. Adjust Colors and Background:

– Color Palette: Use Canva’s color palette tool to select colors that harmonize with your book’s theme and genre. Click on elements of your design to change their colors accordingly.

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– Background: Modify the background color or choose from Canva’s library of background images and patterns. Ensure the background doesn’t overwhelm your title and other text.

4. Add Elements and Icons:

– Illustrations and Icons: Explore Canva’s collection of icons and illustrations to enhance your book cover design. Drag and drop them onto your canvas, then resize and position them as needed.

– Frames and Shapes: Use frames and shapes to create borders, highlight text, or add visual interest to your cover design.

Step 4: Review and Refine

1. Zoom In and Out: Use the zoom feature to examine details closer and ensure all elements are properly aligned and spaced. **Always do this!!

2. Get Feedback: Share your design with trusted friends, fellow authors, or potential readers to gather feedback on its effectiveness and appeal. **Always do this too!!

Step 5: Download and Export Your Book Cover

1. Download Your Design: Once you’re satisfied with your book cover design, click on the Share button at the top right corner and click on Download in the dropdown.

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2. Choose File Format: Select your preferred file format (PNG, JPG, PDF print) and resolution. Canva offers high-resolution options suitable for both digital and print formats.

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Step 6: Additional Tips for Success in Designing Your Book Cover Using Canva

1. Stay On Brand: Ensure your book cover design reflects the tone, genre, and themes of your book. You want to be consistent as that helps build recognition and attracts your target audience.

2. Use High-Quality Images: If you use photographs or illustrations, opt for high-resolution images to maintain clarity and visual appeal.

3. Check Dimensions: Verify that your book cover dimensions meet the requirements of your chosen publishing platform or printer. For example, KDP offers template sizes.

**This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

**Note – I designed my book cover for Birds Alive! Then my publisher did her stuff to it to have the correct size, etc. But I know plenty of Indie authors who design their book covers using Canva.


Designing your book cover using Canva allows you to unleash your creativity and create what you think your book cover should look like.

By following these step-by-step instructions and using Canva’s amazing collection of tools, you can design a professional-quality book cover that attracts readers and effectively communicates your book’s essence. Embrace the process, experiment with different designs, and enjoy bringing your vision to life. Happy designing!

Read The Art of Judging Book Covers, and then follow me onPinterest,Facebook,andInstagram,andsubscribe to mynewsletterto keep up with news about my book and any special offers! Be sure you grab yourFREE 10-step checklist to plan your novelwhen you subscribe!

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Hi, I’m Jen! I’ve been married for over 37 years, have 5 amazing kids and 3 adorable grandkids. I homeschooled our three youngest children, and I used to blog about homeschooling. I also taught Oral Communication as an adjunct instructor for over 5 years.

Jen Dodrill Writes is born of a passion of mine – to write a novel! My first cozy mystery, Birds Alive!, released Feb. 27, 2024!

When I’m not working, you’ll find me writing, spending time with my family, or curled up on the couch reading and drinking a mug of dark roast coffee. (Don’t forget to check out my mug shop –JDMugs!)


Designing Your Book Cover Using Canva: A Step-by-Step Guide - (2024)


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