Social Marketing and Advertising in the Age of Social Media Book Cover Design


  • Brian Llagas
  • Lukas Parker
  • RMIT University


Social Marketing and Advertising in the Age of Social Media is a timely book revealing what makes for strong social marketing and advertising campaigns. A clear albeit uninspiring title needs a cover that is current and visually compelling. Academic book covers don’t have to look drab and boring, unfortunately, this is the norm rather than the exception. The book cover goes against the grain by using illustration as visual essay to capture the essence of the book. The visual elements and neon colours act as metaphors to the avalanche of visual and information stimuli we are constantly bombarded with online.

Key Features


The design excellence of the book cover comes from breaking away from the unwritten rule that seems to constrain academic book covers within a templated boring space. The book itself might be groundbreaking but the cover usually isn’t reflective of that. This design aims to change that by making the cover as interesting as the book contents – for academics at least. It challenges perceptions of what a serious academic book should look like. Importantly, the illustration is an amalgamation of the authors’ and illustrator’s collaborative vision for the book.


The design impact of the book cover has been significant for both the authors and the publisher. From the authors’ perspective, the ingenious illustration as visual essay strategy delivers to the book’s currentness and reinforces credence of the contents. For a book on marketing, the visual impact of the book cover illustration also dials up the book’s marketability. On the publisher’s side, the book cover adds a breath of fresh air to their current repertoire of mundane book covers.


The project pushes the boundaries of academic book cover design. It aims to change the book cover from being just a functional component into something that captures the book’s contents in a context-rich and visually compelling way. The illustrator and the authors have worked together to create a book cover that followed the strict guidelines of the publisher and yet delivered a design outcome that stands out from the crowd.


The design innovation comes from the illustrator thinking outside the confines of standard academic book cover aesthetics and instead borrows a visual approach more common to editorial illustrations, graphic novels, and movie posters. Using illustration as visual essay is a huge leap from the standard functional and uninspired book covers in academia. Being part of the Horizons in Marketing Series, the illustration also follows the story of the yellow character first introduced in the book “Social Marketing and Behaviour Change” ( from the same authors.

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