7 Tips on Ebook Design

7 Tips on Ebook Design

Get the most out of this popular marketing format
Andee Wilcott

An ebook is a great way to deliver long-form content in an engaging and visual way. Typically shorter than a white paper but longer than a blog post, ebooks can also serve as pillar content for a campaign – a launch point for creating additional assets like infographics or social media posts. The high-quality content of ebooks makes them lead generation magnets, with 63% of users saying they would provide their email address in exchange for an ebook.

With all that going for them, adding ebooks to your content marketing arsenal should be a no-brainer. Follow my tips below to create a professional-looking ebook that grabs readers’ attention.

1. Choose a format

One of the first decisions you’ll make for the design of your ebook is the size and output format. Horizontal or vertical? PDF or EPUB? Understand your audience to better make these decisions. Are readers more likely to access the ebook on desktops, phones or e-readers like a Kindle? If the audience is mostly viewing the ebook on their work computers, then a horizontal format saved as a PDF may work best. Conversely, if the ebook will primarily be consumed on a Kindle, a vertical format saved as an EPUB file may be the better option.

2. Set the tone

Companies create ebooks to establish themselves as thought leaders on a particular topic, to increase brand trust and recognition, or to anchor a marketing campaign theme. It’s important to set the overall tone of the ebook before you begin designing. How do you want this piece to be perceived? Authoritative? Exciting? Educational? Fun? How does that tone align with your marketing goals and the company’s brand? How you define the overall tone will inform the graphic style of the whole ebook.

3. Create an Engaging cover

Alas, your ebook will most certainly be judged by its cover. A well-designed and engaging cover will garner more attention and more clicks. The title of your ebook should be informative, active and intriguing.

For example, which title sounds more interesting, “Ebook Design for Inbound Marketing” or “7 Ways to Take your Ebook Design to the Next Level”? Likewise, the cover art should be bold, with a clear message and focal point that directly relates to the title.

4. Develop a visual hierarchy

Defining a consistent and intentional visual hierarchy for your ebook is essential. An ebook is not a powerpoint deck, where you can have different font sizes on every screen or mix-and-match imagery and colors. Like any well designed publication, you should develop a style guide for headlines, subheadlines, paragraphs, pull-quotes, bulleted lists, iconography, charts and more. The style guide defines the font styles, colors and imagery to create a cohesive look throughout.

5. Let graphics tell the story

People are visual learners. With the longer-form content of an ebook, informative visuals help carry the narrative and make the content more interesting and understandable. Consider what visuals would make the content more impactful as you lay out each page. If you’re talking about statistics, add a chart. If you’re describing a process, create an illustration that details that process end-to-end. If you are conveying someone’s thoughts, include a photograph of them. Scour the content to find ideas that you can turn into graphic elements that will enhance the design of each page.

6. Include a Call To Action

Every ebook should have a clear call to action (CTA). Suppose your audience has read your ebook and they are interested in what you have to say and in your company. What do you want them to do next? Your CTA should make sense in the context of the ebook and help the prospect further their customer journey.

For example, if you are a dentist and your ebook is about the benefits of flossing, perhaps a call to action is to receive a free package of dental floss by making a checkup appointment. Or if you are a videographer publishing an ebook about proper lighting at outdoor events, a call to action may be to schedule a free consultation. The key to a successful CTA is its appropriateness to the reader’s situation and an offer that is in line with what they want or need.

7. Make it Shareable

Help your audience help you. Add social links to your ebook so that readers can easily share it on their preferred platforms. Since most ebooks are gated to generate leads, the destination URL for social shares should be the campaign landing page for the ebook.


An ebook can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Set yourself up for success by following these tips to get the design just right.