If you’re starting to think about your cookbook design, you’ve probably already done most of the hard work! You’ve picked a theme, spent months (possibly years) in the kitchen tasting and perfecting your recipes and now you’re ready to preserve them forever in print.
Choosing a cookbook design is exciting, but also overwhelming. You’ve got to think about color schemes, fonts, cover designs, photography styles, layouts, and lots of other considerations that go into designing a cookbook.
And not only that, but you have to make sure it speaks to the right people and inspires non-cooks to pick up your cookbook and experiment in the kitchen.
Thankfully, here are seven cookbook design ideas that will help you figure out how to design a cookbook that is eye-catching and enticing to both keen and novice cooks.
Choose the right style and design for you and your recipes!
- Minimalist Design
If you’re looking for a modern cookbook design, then a minimalist style might be the best direction to take. Minimalism is very fashionable at the moment so it’s an ideal design choice if your recipes include on-trend superfoods or focus on clean eating.
For a cookbook cover design, consider a crisp white background with simple black lettering. A minimalist design usually sticks to shades of black, white, and grey but any simple color scheme is still minimalist.
Brighten your pages with clean, whole food flat lays. Choose easy-to-read block fonts rather than cursive and let the recipes speak for themselves.
Check out Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple cookbook for inspiration.
- Notebook and Journal Design
Do you cook food just like Grandma used to make? If so, then a rustic and makeshift journal cookbook design might be the best way to display your recipes.
You could choose a ring binding and lined graph paper to really make it look like a notebook and opt for a handwriting-style font. Adding graphics of sticky notes and torn-pieces of paper will add to the illusion that it’s a homemade recipe book.
This DIY style recipe book design would work well with traditional recipes and timeless one-pot meals.
The photographs of the food could be illustrated, or feature real people making and enjoying the food. If you want to write a cookbook for newbies, this is a great way to design an accessible cookbook.
- Prioritize Photography
Crumbling bread, juicy lemons, steaming dumplings… Prioritizing photography in your cookbook’s design will mean that potential cooks will not only be further enticed to cook your recipes, but they will be able to see what the end result is actually supposed to look like, too.
Full-page photographs and a glossy hardcover will make your cookbook look extremely professional, like a coffee table book. This would suit artistic photography styles.
Or, you could go down a completely different path and include photographs with each step of your recipes including the finished product. This is a perfect option if you’re designing a cookbook for children or students.
- Illustrative Design
Alternatively, choose a completely different cookbook design and not include photography at all. You might prefer to use illustrations and graphic design to enhance and embellish your recipes.
One direction might be to embrace hand-drawn pictures or more uniform illustrations using graphic design. And the more colorful, the better! Choose fun fonts and experiment with design as much as possible to create something unique.
Illustrations work well with cocktail and dessert cookbooks. They’re generally bright, and most people know what the end result is supposed to look like anyway, so they won’t miss photographs.
Whichever you pick, creating a consistent house style across your cover and cookbook page design layout is a smart idea long-term. It’s easier to create and replicate illustrations and graphic designs than photography in future books which will help build your overall brand.
- Novel and Storybook Design
Nowadays, a lot of cookbook readers expect a heartwarming story to accompany a recipe. If you’re writing about a meal that has a traditional or personal connection, then people want to know about it.
And you can incorporate this storytelling side of your cookbook into its design.
Choose a textured hardback cover that you might find on a book of fairytales and pick a cursive typeface that inspires thoughts of faraway lands and different cultures. If you’re writing about Polish cuisine, take inspiration (while being respectful to the culture) from other Polish books, fabrics, and artworks.
Check out Frances Mayes’ cookbooks if you want more design inspiration on how to blend storytelling and recipes in cookbooks.
- Menu Design
Menus come in all shapes and sizes but there is plenty of inspiration you can take from a good menu design that transfers to a good cookbook design.
Good menus use big, bold fonts and often capitalize every word. Often, they include photographs of the food, particularly the most eye-catching and delicious-looking meals.
Menus that are designed well include just enough description of the meal, so you know what is in it, but not so much you feel like you’re reading a biography. They’re incredibly clear and concise. Flow is important in a menu and different types of food are grouped purposefully.
That doesn’t mean you should model your cookbook design on the local fast food restaurant’s menu just because it’s clear and simple! But you can use these design tips to make sure your cookbook looks great but isn’t intimidating to new cooks.
- Classic Cookbook Design
Though some might see them as outdated, many of us grew up cooking from recipe books that our parents owned. And they grew up cooking recipes they learned from their parents…
Ultimately, food never goes out of style. And the best way to choose a timeless, classic cookbook design is to look for inspiration in the timeless cookbooks.
Find the oldest copies you can of books like The American People’s Cookbook and Joy of Cooking. You will discover they have simple, unfussy cover designs, strong binding, and thick pages to withstand splashes and spills.
They also have easy to follow, simple page layouts that aren’t cluttered with superfluous information or too many images.
The Right Cookbook Design for Your Recipes
Hopefully, you now have a much clearer idea of how you want your cookbook design to look.
As long as you’ve considered your readers and your cuisine then you’ll definitely have a cookbook to be proud of. You just need to get it published!
If you love cooking, check out our website for more food-related articles.