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What is eBook Design? A Complete Guide

While we have always considered eBooks one of the best lead generation assets, they take a lot of time to come together. It's a shame to see great content sabotaged by poor design. 

Professional authors and marketers believe that while drafting serves them, the design serves the readers. And, we design what? Emotional experiences through visuals. 

Emotional experiences delight, engage, move, and encourage the reader to take action. A reader's brain processes images and colors far more quickly than sentences. Within seconds, a well-designed eBook can repel or resonate with a reader. 

If you put hours and hours into creating great content that you feel is valuable and worth something to your audience, wouldn't you want the outside to look irresistible? We know you do. 

This guide will talk about eBook design so your eBook looks professional and inviting, and your reader can't wait to crack it open. 

What is eBook design? 

An eBook design is the process of laying down and arranging the content of an eBook in a way that is accessible, functional, and visually appealing.

When carefully curated, eBooks are the top marketing asset that brings leads to a business. Unlike other content forms, eBooks are longer and demonstrate expertise creatively while conveying complex information.

Things to Consider Before Starting eBook Design

The world of eBook design encompasses more than just aesthetics. It requires a thoughtful approach with technical expertise that gives it visual appeal, brand identity, and a premium reading experience. 

Before you get into the designing part, there are a few things we want you to consider:

1. Brand Style Guide

A brand style determines the general look and feel of a company's branding. It helps you recognize a brand because of its consistency across written or visual messaging. Brand guidelines dictate the look of a logo, website, blogs, eBooks, and other marketing collateral. 

Here are some elements that make or break a style guide:

Color Palette: Your brand's color palette is its most distinctive and recognizable part. It comprises a group of colors your company uses for your brand. A brand color palette should include a wide variety of primary, secondary, and neutral colors for more dynamic and varied design options. 

Typography: Typography is a part of a visual element that goes beyond a font. We recommend choosing a primary and secondary font with a mixture of font weights and serifs for different use cases. Typography plays a huge role in a website's user experience, ensuring it is accessible and readable.

Imagery and Iconography: Approved imagery and pre-designed icons are custom symbols for your brand. These icons can be used across the collateral for long-form content like blogs or eBooks to create consistent content. 

Brand voice: A brand voice shows your company’s personality: friendly, casual or formal. This makes it easy for writers, salespeople, and marketers to know how to represent your brand online. 

For reference, you can check out the brand style guide for Walmart, Asana, and Starbucks. All of them have a consistent brand style throughout their marketing collateral. 

2. Orientation: Portrait or Landscape

The orientation of a book refers to the relative proportions between its width and height dimensions. Choosing the best orientation book depends on which format better depicts the subject matter to your expert. 

There are two major orientation forms that you can choose from:

Portrait Orientation 

A portrait orientation book is when a book is taller than its width. Hence, the portrait orientation is vertical, which is by far the most popular choice for eBooks.

The most common portrait book sizes are
  • 6" W x 9" H
  • 5.5" W x 8.5" H
  • 8" W x 10" H

Landscape Orientation 

A landscape is wider than it is tall, which means the book will have a horizontal shape. Landscape-oriented books work best for books that rely heavily on images and visuals. The larger images make it easy for readers to fully understand the information without feeling constrained.

The most common portrait book sizes are
  • 9" W x 6" H
  • 11" W x 8.5" H
  • 8.5" W x 5.5" H

3. Layout: Fixed or Reflowable

An eBook layout refers to how each of the components of the eBook are arranged. A wrong move can make navigating difficult for users, causing frustration and hindering comprehension.

There are two eBook layouts that you can choose from:

Fixed Layout

The layout in this is predetermined and fixed, so readers can't adjust the font size or line spacing. The fixed layout works best to show complex layouts such as graphic novels, children's books, and technical manuals, as they require precise placement of text and images. 

Reflowable Layout

These books can adapt to any screen size and font size by a user. Fixed layout is most commonly used in the digital publishing industry. They are flexible and adaptable since they are created using HTML and CSS codes. You can easily read them on any smartphone, tablet, or laptop. 

4. Design Software: Free or Paid

Now that you have covered the basics of eBook designing, it's time to bring your ebook together.  There are many eBook design software is available to simplify the process of creating eBooks.

Some popular eBook design software options include:


Best for someone who is just starting and has a limited budget. Canva is one such software that offers both free and paid templates for eBook designs.


If you want to create comprehensive and complex eBooks, these software should be your priority. 

  • Adobe Indesign: Adobe lets you create stunning eBook designs with complete formatting control.
  • Adobe Illustrator: A vector graphics editor for creating and editing illustrations, logos, typography, and other artwork.
  • Adobe Photoshop: A powerful software for editing and manipulating digital images and graphics.
  • Corel Draw: A graphic design software for creating illustrations, layouts, and vector-based artwork.

How to Design an eBook: 7 Simple Steps

Now that you have covered the basics of eBook designing, it's time to bring your eBook together. Here is a step-by-step process to design your eBook that captivates your audience and delivers your message effectively:

1. Start with the Cover

We are told from childhood to never judge a book by its cover, but in reality, people make sublime judgements about whether or not they should read an eBook just from its cover.

So, how do you design a cover that sells? By working on its title and cover design. 

A compelling, interesting title 

A compelling title may not be a design element but a work of art. The title is often the first thing a reader reads, so it shouldn't be overlooked. Put yourself in your reader's shoes when coming up with titles. 

Ask yourself:
  • Is this eBook worth reading? (what's interesting in it)
  • Is this eBook worth the cost of handing over my email or credit card?
  • What benefits does the book offer over other eBooks? 
The best eBook titles are clear and actionable and tell exactly what's in them. Ebooks are high-commitment pieces because of their length, so their title should exhibit the values a reader can draw in an interesting way. 

There are a few examples of powerful and effective book titles:

A solid visual 

If you ever read a promising book whose compact print strained your eyes and gave you a headache, how likely are you to continue reading it? Not much. That's why popular authors spend so much time crafting the perfect eBook cover. 

These are some key elements of creating an eye-catching cover:

Keep your target audience in mind at all times
Different people have different conventions regarding eBook covers. While young audiences enjoy bright, strong covers, millennials and boomers are attached to neutrals and trustworthy classics. 

Convey meaning
A book cover should support the theme the book explores and the mood of the book. For example, what's the book about? Is it serious research on user behaviour, or is it a fun memoir about your adventures in life? 

Avoid clutter
If you think adding a lot of elements to your eBook cover gives out more information and makes people want to read it, then you might be wrong. These are a sign of cluttered covers and don't work well when viewed in small sizes. Cluttered covers at thumbnail sizes can take away a lot of your potential customers. 

Understand color theory
Color often determines the first impression of your eBook. It plays a huge role in how consumers make decisions and evaluate brands. Choose colors that complement the overall mood and theme of the book. Check out this color psychology chart from Conversioner to help you choose the right colors.