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In the oversaturated market of fitness books, one of the best ways to choose a book cover that will stand out is to split test your choices with a highly specific audience.

That’s what one author recently did on PickFu with three potential book designs. The author asked a target audience of people who take nutritional health supplements daily and who read self-help books, “Which book would you pick up in a store?”

The books have the same title and subtitle: 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew: The Ultimate Collection of Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Life.

But the covers are wildly different.

Option A has a plain blue background, while Option B is an explosion of colors and fonts. Option C features a red-and-white theme with an illustration of a man and woman lifting weights.

Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option C! With a score of 56 to Option B’s 38 and Option A’s 6, readers clearly favored the red-and-white theme.

Let’s find out why.

The illustration matters

Many respondents agreed that Option C does the best job of showing readers what they’ll get with this book.

“[Option C] made it clearest that this is a book about fitness since there are graphics of people exercising,” said one respondent. “[Option B] looked like a tech book since it had the Apple logo (the leaf) on the title font. [Option A] looked like it had nothing to do with fitness as there were no graphics whatsoever.”

Though Option B also featured an illustration, it didn’t make readers think of health and fitness like Option C did.

“I like how the people look so healthy and physically fit,” said a female respondent. “I would want to look like those people and be in better shape…[the illustration] is inspiring.”

Tellingly, the cover with no illustrations or graphics only received six votes.

Avoid visual overload

Respondents also made it clear that while Option B was a better choice than Option A, its graphics were overwhelming.

One male respondent called Option B “amateur” and said he’d “assume the quality of the contents would be amateur, too — too colorful.” He didn’t care for the rainbow colors, saying it geared the book more toward women. He also said there were “too many mixes of fonts.”

Option C projected the message that the target audience wanted to hear.

“I like [Option C] because it shows people actually lifting weights. That makes me feel like the book is written by someone who knows what they are talking about….[Option B] looks like it is a rip off of Apple and Microsoft with their logo.”

One respondent put it simply: “Option C seems the most credible, and I like how its color scheme is consistent. Option B is too colorful.”

Key takeaways: fitness book covers

If you’re writing a book about fitness, include an illustration or visual on your cover that motivates your readers to get fit. On the other hand, too many visuals might push potential readers away.

Are you deciding on a book cover for your own fitness or nutrition book? Read this guide to split testing, then take your cover designs to PickFu and test them on your target audience. helpful, unbiased feedback.


Laura Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in,, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle-grade novel, Missing Okalee, was published in the fall of 2021 by Shadow Mountain Publishing. Find her online at

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