7 Must-know KDP Low content book graphic design terms

Pretty much the biggest aspect of low content book publish in graphic design. Because you actually HAVE to design the books, right? I’m a trained graphic designer my whole life, and here are 5 graphic design terms terms you are bound to encounter one way or another when doing low content books. Many of these, like margins and colors spaces you won’t need to worry about if you have a software like Bookbolt (use code NICHEPERFECT for 20% off) that streamline everything. But if you use or want to use more specialized software, read on.

7 KDP Low content book graphic design terms

1. Contrast

Wouldn’t you want your low content book to be number 1 in search results? Bad news is, it probably won’t be if it’s not the first, but good news is, it really doesn’t matter, you just really need to be on page one. Contrast takes care of the rest. Here’s a secret: The eye is attracted to the contrastiest cover FIRST. Look below and tell me where your eyes go first:

Let me guess, the one in the middle, right? Not the first nor the second, but the middle, because of contrast. There’s many ways you can have THE contrastiest cover on KDP, the easiest one is by having dark text over light backgrounds or the opposite. Contrast attracts eyeballs, even if you are not number 1 in the results.

2. Leading

You are reading this text on an electronic device, but way back then text had to be set physically and pressed over ink and then put on a sheet of paper. Yay technology, right? Anyway, in order to add more space between the lines they had to put a bar of lead, hence the space between the lines is called LEADING.

Why should you care about leading in low content book? Well first of all it’s one sneaky way to add more space between the lines making it possible to fill more space with less text. But also it is for legibility purposes. If you use a badly designed typeface (font)that has the text too close, your low content book will appear low quality and this will diminish sales. There is no universal leading, it depends on the typeface you use. Just be aware of the space between the lines and ask yourself if it is generous enough to read.

3. Bleed

And then Batman asked Superman…”Do you bleed”. Batman vs Superman was one heck of a cheesy movie. But the bleed we are talking about here is important, and if you ignore it, it can screw your design and you can be left with lots of angry customers in your hands.

So, what is bleed exactly? It refers to the line where your book is going to be cut. Books are not printed at the size you see them, they are printed on huge rolls of paper and then cut to size. So that line where your book is going to be cut is the trim zone. And bleed refers to if the artwork will touch this area or not.

What is the big deal you say? Simply this: The cutting machine is not 100% accurate, and when you have a part of the artwork that will touch the trim line (the line that will be cut), there is a chance of the machine missing the mark and go a bit over OUTSIDE of the trim line. Bleed is important because if the artwork is extended, it will cut into that area and the design will still look ok. If you have no bleed and the machine cuts, your customer will end up with a cover and some white areas where the machine missed (white because it’s the default color of paper).

If your cover design is supposed to touch the outside of the book, make sure you “spill” the artwork all of the way to make sure everything looks good even if the cutting machine is off.

4. Margin

Margin reffers to the space around the text inside your book. This is important because remember, someone will actually open the book and needs to have some place the hold it to the right and to the left.

Large leading and large margin are both sneaky ways you can cover a whole page with very litle text. But the biggest reason why you want to pay attention to margin is because of the inside of the book. Most newbies will make their margins equal on all sides, when the inner margins need to be much bigger. Why? Go take yourself a book and open it. Go. I’m serious, I’ll wait. Got it? Open it and look at the middle…that is why margin is important, it’s because there needs to be space for the crease.

This is one other thing you don’t need to worry about with software like Bookbolt (use code NICHEPERFECT for 20% off). For those who use other programs, my default for 8.5×11 is 0.5 in margin and 1in for inside margin.

5. Raster & Vector

Long story short a raster image is an image made of pixels, like photos are made of millions of pixels, while vectors are essentially mathematical points that can be decorated with colors, shade, etc. The one thing to remember is, you can edit a vector file AND you can zoom inside one up to a thousand times. With a raster, like a picture, you can only zoom in like 5-15 times and then you start seeing the pixels.

You need to be aware of what file you are getting in order to know what program you need to get or use, but also, if you can edit the image you got! Sometimes something might appear like a vector but is a raster. I remember I purchased a set of penguins to design a book, and I believed changing the colors of the penguins would be a snap, unfortunately for me, they were raster, and I couldn’t change the colors.

In short: Rasters are mostly photos (but not always) and are hard to change. File types: .jpg, .gif. .png

Vectors: Are mostly illustrations, easier to change and can be zoomed in an incredible amount of times. File types: .svg, .eps .ai

6. Resolution

This is a biggie. Long story short, just because your picture looks fine on a computer screen doesn’t mean it will be the same once printed. If you select a small photo or illustration and then put it on a cover, once printed it will appear pixelated. Many stock picture websites offer you small images for a lower price, be very careful of this as the smaller size is usually reserved for web usage and are too small to be printed.

That is why it is dangerous to take any random image and blowing them up, if they are not big enough, the results might look pixelated. Always use big enough images for your covers, or simply use vectors that can be blown up to infinity.


Without getting into too much nerdy details, RGB stands for Red Green Blue and CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black. These are two different ways to create color, RGB is when you have different intensities of Red, Green or Blue; and is primarily what screens use. CMYK uses layering where a layer of Cyan is printed first, then Magenta, yellow and the black.

Why do you need to know this? Because what you see on the screen is not necessarily what you will end up with once printed. Some colors, only the screen can reproduce and a printer cannot. So you need to be working with CMYK colors because that is what Amazon KDP uses for printing.

If you screw this up, the book you customer will get will look much different than what you have on your computer, so make sure you work on CMYK.


Unless you use a software like Bookbolt (use code NICHEPERFECT for 20% off) you REALLY need to be aware of these terms because while some terms like Leading can only hurt your sales lightly, some screw ups in terms of bleed and resolution can cause your book to be rejected by the KDP peeps or customers who aren’t satisfied.

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