Design tools for writers – create your book mock up & more

Whether you are designing a header for your website or publishing a book or study guide, it feels like you need to be a professional designer with subscriptions to all the tools so that it looks professional and not like Stuart the intern did it in Word! The following list of design tools for writers will help you get results without hiring a designer.

We have access to online tools to design a myriad of things and even templates that take the hard work out of design. But where to start? The choice is overwhelming. Here is a round up of guides, books, websites, and online design tools you can use. I’ve used many of these in designing my own e-books, social media, booklets, and more, sometimes it’s easier than starting from scratch in Indesign or Photoshop even for a professional.

This list of design tools will help you get started in creating your visual identity, website and social media graphics and a book cover mock-up.

Design tools to create your visual identity


This is a great tool for making vision boards for all kinds of things. Make a board for your visual identity, pin colours or images, or packaging that you love to build your identity from. Pin the image below to your design board on Pinterest for reference!

Design seeds

While not a specific design tool for writers, if you love colour and want to choose a colour palette for your identity or other materials, then this site will give you inspiration. You can search by colour or their collections. It lists the colour hex codes sampled from photos which you can then use in Canva or other design programme to get the same colour. Beware, if you are very colour specific then there are differences between how colours appear on screen and in print. You will need to talk about this with a designer or your printer. But basic guide: RGB values or Hex codes for screen, CMYK values for colour print.

design tools for writers

Style your brand book

This is the book I continually recommend to those starting out to think about how to represent their identity visually. It will walk you through your brand personality, values, colours and give examples.


Canva is your best tool for all the design things, there is a free version which is perfect for starting out. Preset templates for your social media, or documents, there is not much you can’t design in even the free version of Canva. Before going crazy with all the things, start with your colours, typefaces and image style that fits your visual identity then apply those to the graphics or files that you need.

You can use Canva for blog headers, images for social, presentation graphics, videos for social, moving images, bookmarks, marketing materials, so much more.

In the paid version you can even collect your logo, colours and fonts in a brand kit. You can also have a team so your assistant or team can access and create graphics and more for you to use.

Canva will suggest the file type you need to download, depending on what you have created.

Design tools to create your book mock up

Mockup world

Mockup world has a curated collection of mockups you can download to use for creating an image that looks like a book.

If you don’t have Photoshop then Place it is a free and paid mockup tool you can use in your browser.

You can publish a magazine
This mock up was created in Photoshop with a free image download from mockup world.
iola bookazine change issue mock up design tool
iola change in a free mockup photo

Book brush

Book brush is a design tool for writers that is free and paid to create your book mock ups, ads and marketing materials in. It is focused on helping authors so understands their needs.

Creative market

Creative market is a paid resource for photos, illustrations, canva templates, typefaces, mock up photos and so much more. Created by creatives, there are a host of mockup photos.

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Having designed covers for books both for clients and myself I have recognised that there are at least seven things that your book cover needs in order to connect your message with a reader visually. I’ve rounded these up in a handy download pdf for you. Leave your email below so I can send it to you.