Saturday, July 1, 2017

TpT Cover Design Tells All

What does a cover design say?  A lot! 
TPT Cover Design - Renee Dawn
I discovered that pretty fast, in creating products for TeachersPayTeachers!

I started with a couple of counting songs.  They're relaxing and meditative, and so they double as behavior management aids--though you can't tell from my first little foray.

I designed a cover--a thumbnail image--and uploaded to TpT.
Within a week I was tweaking it.
I learned to use PowerPoint instead of Word.  Here's the trick: you create a rectangular cover image for a product, 8 1/2 X 11", and then copy and paste it into a dedicated "Thumbnails" PowerPoint with 8X8" pages.  You rearrange the elements so they fit into the square, and save as a jpg.

Over time I added bells and whistles and a year later, I uploaded this: 

 counting to 100 song Renee Dawn

 And this:

You can't tell a book by it's cover.  Not the whole book, but you can tell plenty.
  • Did I take the time to research the common practices and expectations?  Yeeesss!
  • Did I put a LOT of thought into the composition, colors, and shapes?  Um...countless hours.
  • Did I sell the "sizzle" as well as the steak?  I mean, does the product look cool, and must-have for my targeted audience?  Well, it does to me, although I admit I'm biased.
Here are some more ideas:
  • Large, readable title (on a cell phone, the thumbnail might be less than an inch)
  • One or two large images: an eye-catching photo or clip art
  • A few key words, not cluttered
  • Indicate appropriate grades
  • Copyright notice
  • Logo in the lower corner, small
  • Color-coding; e.g., Math products are blue, ELA yellow
  • Repeating elements in all my cover designs:
    • Border element
    • Image placement
    • Artistic background
I'll be honest.  I didn't want to dredge up my ugly old thumbnails from the basement--where they cowered--buried and chained.  

I pulled them up to remind myself, that no one goes from zero to sixty in a second.  Everything takes time--and effort.
 The Perfect Lesson - Renee Dawn

No doubt, I'll keep evolving.  If I were starting over, I might make my scalloped border bigger, and all my title fonts plainer.

But for now, I'm happy to wander through my store and wonder how I ever climbed that super-steep tech-hill.

 Renee Dawn Cover Design

Want more inspiration?  You could roam around TeachersPayTeachers like an art museum.  These stores have great cover designs, and they couldn't be more different:

  • Stacey Lloyd's covers can be cinematic.  Look at her second page of products, as page one has mostly bundles.
  • Jadyn Thone uses pastels in original and classy designs.
  • Sara Rucker features huge letters in a rainbow of neon colors with a black script sub-title, and adorable clip art. 
  • Sarah Gardner has a clean white canvas with classy script paired with all-cap headers, and a single picture.
  • Danielle Knight is often cited as an all-around favorite.

I hope you're curious to experiment with your cover designs--and to combine your elements in a creative way.  You don't want to be too dull, or too wild, or to copy the next guy.  You want your store to stand out and represent you perfectly.  I can't wait to see!


  1. Thanks for writing a post about this! It's so neat to see the covers we started with and how they evolved over time. And I love the stores you listed with great covers! So inspiring :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! I love your covers, too. I think we're all close to earning our Ph.D.s in cover design ;)