The power of visuals cannot be overstated. When it comes to book design, visuals play a major role in enriching the readers’ experience. Visuals such as images and illustrations convey the essence of a story, create a point of visual interest, and stimulate the readers’ imagination to keep them engaged with your work. Book printing has become something of an art form, as it fuses the power of storytelling with the beauty of illustrations to allow authors from across the globe to get their work in front of readers. This article explores the significance of illustrations in book designs, focusing on the different illustration styles authors use and the layout options available.

Why Should You Include Illustrations in Your Book?

Authors include illustrations in their books for various reasons. First, illustrations attract the readers’ attention. Pages that include images are far more eye-catching than those that consist of walls of text. Illustrations also help to clarify the text for readers, meaning it’s easier for them to recall your work at a later date. Finally, illustrations can also add emotion or humour to the text, which will make it more enjoyable to read.

Illustration Styles

Now that we’ve explored the reasons why you should include illustrations in your next book, let’s explore some of the different illustration styles out there:


Realistic illustrations depict people, scenes or objects close to how you would see them in real life. This type of illustration ranges from photo-realistic to roughly realistic and is commonly found in historical or scientific books to give readers an accurate representation of the individuals, places and concepts being described.


Stylised illustrations are another popular book illustration style. This illustration style moves away from natural shapes and forms by simplifying (and sometimes exaggerating) real-world elements. Stylised illustrations are commonly found in children’s books, graphic novels and anime and help to convey a specific mood or tone to immerse the reader.

Line Art

Line art illustration is a minimalist style representing people, scenes or objects as distinct straight or curved lines. This illustration style is typically found in colouring books or technical manuals, where simplicity and clarity are vital.


Another illustration style that is growing in popularity is flat illustration, which relies on the use of simple shapes, clean lines and flat colours to create easily digestible but eye-catching images. Typically, flat illustrations have a limited (but bold) colour palette.


The cartoon illustration style features simplified, exaggerated characters and settings, usually with a humorous or whimsical tone. This illustration style is commonly used in children’s books and comic books.

Illustration Layout Options

Once you’ve selected the illustration style that best suits the content of your book, you need to decide how you would like the illustrations to be laid out. There are several layout options:

Full-page illustrations

Full-page illustrations take up entire pages in books, either as standalone images or behind the text. This illustration option is commonly used in children’s books and graphic novels because it helps set the tone for the story and creates a more immersive experience for readers.

Spot illustrations

Spot illustrations are small images that are featured throughout the text, often used to highlight major plot points or important concepts to augment the text. This illustration layout is commonly used for textbooks or manuals, where readers may benefit from illustrations to help them understand or visualise complex ideas.

Borders or decorative illustrations

Borders or decorative elements help to frame the text by adding structure and visual interest to the page. This illustration layout is used to establish a consistent theme throughout the text, and illustrations can range from basic line patterns to intricate designs.

Vignette illustrations

Vignette illustrations blend with the text and are often located at the beginning or end of a chapter. They are used to set the tone of the text or introduce new places, characters or concepts and typically have a soft, blurred edge.

In Summary

If you’re publishing a book and you haven’t included illustrations yet, consider including them in the final design. Illustrations play a central role in the book design process, as they add visual interest and aid comprehension to enrich the readers’ experience. They act as a bridge between the text and the imagination of the readers, providing important visual cues that stimulate the senses or enhance understanding to increase enjoyment.

The choice of illustration style and layout influences the visual appeal and impact of a book, so selecting the right options for the book topic and audience is vital. For example, if you’re publishing a children’s book, you may want to include stylised or cartoon illustrations that span full pages. Alternatively, if you’re publishing a romance novel, you may decide to include realistic illustrations in the spot layout style.

Author Bio

Kelly Harris

Kelly Harris lives a life in CMYK as the Business Development Director for YouLovePrint – Making professional printing available to everyone online. As part of the Pureprint Group, they print everything themselves in the UK on industry leading printing machines. They’re also CarbonNeutral®. Click here to see Kelly’s LinkedIn Profile.