How to make a publishing logo or imprint “button” for your book cover design

How to make a publishing logo or imprint “button” for your book cover design

I recently gave this blog a facelift, and since I’ll be publishing four books this year under the umbrella of my personal brand Creativindie, I needed a logo for my book covers. I hadn’t worried about this for the ebooks, but I’m getting organized and putting out some high quality paperbacks as well.

Most books have a small publishing imprint logo or icon on the spine, and again on the back of the book.

These matter. A book without one makes you question who the publisher is and assume the book is self-published.

If done well, the question of “who published this” never needs to come up (not that it should matter, but it still will to some people).

I don’t suggest hiding that the book is self-published, merely creating a book that looks more professional.

Plus, if you publish a lot of books like I do, it’s important to think about your branding.

Choosing a name

First you need a name for your imprint. Don’t make it something obviously connected to you, or to one of your books specifically.

I didn’t use “Derek Murphy Books”; on the other hand, people can easily discover that my brand is the same as my imprint, so my books are self-published, but that wouldn’t be obvious if they were just looking at the Amazon page or the physical book.

Most good imprint names are one word, rather than two or three. Keep it short. Pitchfork Press. Highway Books.

Make sure you Google it to see if there is any competition. Try to use something nobody else has. I don’t believe you need to register it or start an official business, but if you start selling a lot of books you may wish to do so for tax reasons.

You want a brand that connects with your core message – your purpose in writing. What holds your books together? Why do you write? Make a mission statement about who you are… those things will help you discover your unique brand.

Choosing a logo symbol

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with Creativindie. Originally I thought of things like a paintbrush and a pen tied together somehow, or replacing some of the letters. But that all looked tacky and cluttered.

By the way – here’s the original header I use with Creativindie a few years ago. I put a lot of time and effort into it.

publisher imprint logo

But I realized that it was distracting and much too busy, so for a couple years I just used a plain text logo with no direction.

creativindieE11 creativindienew2

But I read something recently that I really liked. It went something like this:

When people come to your blog, they are stepping into your world – you are responsible for making them feel how you want them to feel.

Branding isn’t just about information and facts. Branding is about emotion. How can I make readers feel what I’m all about? With a nice, artistic picture, and a tagline that doesn’t focus on the benefits or site description, but the more interesting “creativity is intelligence having fun.” (Which hopefully will tie my brand with those three themes – fun, intelligence, creativity).

In general, the longer you spend making your site header or logo, the more control you take, the worse it will look (even for designers like me… I often need to fight the urge and just go with something simple). Professionalism and design quality trumps the idea you have for it. Don’t make it complicated or symbolic or try to do too many things.

Anyway – so now I have a new header and blog style that I like, but no logo.

I needed something very simple, flat, 2D, that summoned up the ideas of inspirations, productivity, enlightenment and success.

I thought of using a mustache or a skull symbol to demonstrate I was hip – but those looked stupid.

The “brain” symbols were too strange.

I searched Google images, Deviantart and Etsy for inspiration – but mostly used

I searched for things like “Creativity Logo, Inspiration Logo.”


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I love this skull-flower art, and I could have gotten it converted into a flat vector logo, but I knew it was too complex to pull off well. I didn’t want to use something as cliché as a lightbulb, on the other hand the most important thing was that my theme could be communicated instantly.

And the lightbulb is cliched for a reason: everybody automatically knows that it symbolized creative inspiration.

So I finally just choose a stylized lightbulb logo, bought it for $29 on Graphicriver, and added my text.


It’s nothing amazing, and somebody else might use it for their company, but it’s enough that it will look professional and suit my purposes.

If I’d wanted to get a custom logo made, I probably would have used  where designers make lots of samples and you choose a winner. But I wanted a quick solution and I didn’t want to spend a few hundred dollars buying a logo.

Remember, the trick is to validate your ideas but launching your books quickly, at low cost and seeing whether people like them. If they do – you’re getting real sales and people are really happy with it – then you can spend some more since your investment is more likely to pay off. In fact, if this is your first book, I wouldn’t worry about an imprint or publishing logo; or just make something simple with the first letters of your imprint name.

(SexyDevilBooks = SDB)

Just put the book out there. Write some more. Once your books are selling and you have some income, then you can reinvest on fixing up the books, getting better covers and formatting done, and grouping them together under a publishing imprint.


  • Kevin Slade Posted

    Just as a reference point, is the World of Warcraft logo(on their books) considered an imprint or a business logo. I had a discussion on one of the fb groups that logos make the book amateurish. I am trying to come up with a logo for the books coming from the same world/universe, or should I focus on getting the book published before I worry about the logo/imprint. Stressing over the cover stopped my steps toward writing book two of the series.

    • Derek Murphy Posted

      Yes – you’re totally right, this is an old post. It’s probably not worth wasting time worrying about a logo – and it would only be a little button for the spine, not really a big header or something for the front cover. My point was, make something simple and text only with a nice font, not a big graphic.

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