Whether or not we like to admit it, we judge books by their covers.
Which of these book covers looks like the fun read? As graphic and information designers, our aim is to design content-informed covers that hint at what’s inside and are also aesthetically pleasing. We try to understand how the cover will be perceived, and what design choices work best for a specific audience. Often we design the cover toward the end of a project because we need a holistic understanding of the document first. So, the argument would be that you most definitely should be able to judge a book by its cover, because the design should be informed by the content.
Judgements are based on past experiences, cultural influence, legibility, and information density.
Our instant reaction sets the stage, whether pleasing or frustrating, and this influences our opinion and decision making. This applies not only to book cover design, but also report design, brochure design, website design, company logos, and many other projects our design studio is presented with on a daily basis. The viewer of the piece brings past experiences and cultural influences to their perception. This is why it’s very important to also know and understand the audience of your piece so that you’re taking into account those influential factors.