Create animated book covers using canva.

Learn how to create animated book covers that stop social media scrolling and get noticed.

What you need to get started.

  • Sign up for a Canva account
    • Either a Free account or Pro will work. Your selection of templates and graphics is limited with Free accounts, but you can still purchase individual elements for a small fee.
    • If you created your book cover in Canva, you’re all set to start animating. Because it’s easy to delete, change, or alter the book cover elements while you’re learning, duplicate your project and save it as a backup.

If your book cover lives in a 3rd party graphics program like Illustrator or PhotoShop, you’ll need to export each layer with a transparent (.png) background and recreate the cover within Canva. Yes, you can create animations within those programs, but they’re not as user-friendly, especially if you’re not a media pro.


 Watch Tutorial (12 minutes)


Tips for making your animated book covers look professional.

  • The motion should relate to your genre and the book’s cover design elements. Serious books should not have playful, bouncy cover animations, but if it’s a kid’s picture book, that would be the perfect fit.
  • You don’t need to animate every element. Use the motion to draw attention to the title and author’s name or to a specific area of your cover.
  • Can you read your title and name when the video (and book cover) are viewed as a thumbnail? Use high-contrast colors to make your title and name stand out and be sure the text can be easily read even when displayed at its smallest size.
  • Motion in the video has a powerful connection to emotion. Faster movement can elicit excitement or tension, while slower-moving elements deliver a calming effect or can suggest the tone of your book.


How long should your book cover animation run?

  • Social media audiences are skimmers and scrollers. You have about a half-breath to catch their attention. Keeping your video between ten and fifteen seconds increases the chance that they will see enough to want a second look. Longer running animations won’t allow the whole composition to come together into a recognizable book cover before they’ve moved on. And, shorter videos may appear too frantic as they repeatedly loop, never giving the eye a place to rest and comprehend what they’re seeing.


Align the animation style with your genre and plot.

  • Canva offers a variety of motion options, some going the extra step and allowing you to change the direction, speed, and whether the movement is triggered at the beginning, the end, or both. Think about your genre, specifically the type of characters and plot in your book. Match the tone of the movement to the tone of your book.
  • Playful, quirky, bouncy movements may work with kid-lit, YA, cozy mysteries, or a rom-com. But, reconsider if you have a science fiction, thriller, or mainstream novel.


Where to use your animated book covers.

  • Social media platforms love video, and their algorithms give video preferential treatment. Upload directly to the platforms (no 3rd party tools) for even more boost. Facebook might say they don’t care how you post, but hard-core social media managers who post in bulk and can see these behaviors firsthand say otherwise.
  • Embed the video into your website in place of the static book cover.
  • Add the animation to your author newsletters (Be sure to upload the static version as the alternate for subscribers who prefer text emails over HTML.)
  • Display your book cover animation in the sidebar of a blog post for added exposure.


What other ways can you use Canva animation?

  • Everywhere. Create custom content promoting your blog posts to announce a book signing or conference appearance.


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