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Six Minutes with Cover Designer Donika Mishineva

Six Minutes with Cover Designer Donika Mishineva

The talented Art Director, Graphic Artist, and Book Cover Designer (who we have the pleasure of working with at Aurora House), Donika Mishineva, joins us for a Q&A. If you’ve ever wondered how magical book covers get brought to life, now if your chance to find out…

  1. When did you start designing covers?I have been doing graphic design for more than fourteen years, but it has never been my passion. I have always missed something – art and the feeling that I am doing something significant. Before I found myself as a book cover designer, there was a long period in which I was engaged in art collages, and although I liked making beautiful prints, I also didn’t find the significance I needed there. Just a little over a year ago, I decided to specialize in cover design. I love literature and photo editing, and you also meet people with non-standard thinking, with whom you are always curious to communicate with. It gives me that cheerful impulse to wake up every morning – to create something beautiful for book lovers.
  1. What is the first thing you do when you are approached to design a cover?Before I start working on a cover, I need to know the target audience group, the genre of the book, the story, the characters, and the message that the author wants to leave in the minds of their readers. Creating the right image is like a psychological game in which you have to know your audience’s behaviour.
  1. What’s your favourite part of your job?Satisfied clients, hahaha. I like to make authors happy. They put so much effort into writing their story; their philosophy of life, beliefs. What perseverance and patience they have invested for months to share their work with the whole world! To create an excellent cover for such a person, to feel their happiness, faith in their success, makes me happy, and I feel that I leave a trace in someone’s soul.
  1. What is one memorable experience from when you designed a cover?Years before I decided to focus on book design, I spontaneously decided to take part in a book cover contest entitled – Mind Beyond Matter by Dr. Gavin Rowland. Designers from all over the world uploaded their interpretations. Some of them already had several versions; apparently, they talked to the author about corrections and offered new options. There were about twelve hours left until the deadline for me to get involved. I could feel my heart beating fast; something inside me was pushing me to do it. Even though my mind was telling me that I had almost no chance in this competition, especially when you had never designed a book cover before, I managed to upload a single image four hours before the finale. I closed the laptop and went to bed, knowing that at least I had done my best. The following day I was shocked because I saw the message – ‘You are a WINNER.’
  1. What do you think makes a great cover?There are a few rules a graphic designer should think about while working on a book cover design.A significant title, written in proper font and style suitable to the book genre, is the first thing a great cover needs. It is essential the potential buyer could read the title from a distance while walking between the stands and bookshelves of the bookstore or looking at the titles on Amazon.The second most important criteria are suitable photos professionally mounted in an image that tells or hints at the story in the book or influences the audience. We only have three seconds for the reader to decide whether or not to stop and look at a particular cover.

    In design, everything has its meaning and is like a psychological map of the mind, affecting the potential buyer and readers. Every detail, colour, shape speaks to the observer with psychological impulses that will decide their choice.

  1. Is there a secret to creating the best cover?

The best cover is the one that inspires readers, that makes them smile or dream about the story in the book.

Happy reading and collecting bookworms!

              Find out more about Donika’s work here:


Written by Kathleen Tamara Loxton