A book cover should be impactful enough to draw in the right reader while still providing hints about the theme, story, or genre of the book inside. Books printed through publishing companies may have an art and design department to develop the concept and graphic design of the book’s cover, but self-published authors make decisions about how the cover is designed themselves. Since the cover of your book is key to helping draw in potential readers, getting this visual element right is critical to your book’s success. So let’s look at some book cover ideas that work well for all different types of books so you can create the right one for your next project.
Book Cover Ideas — Trendy or Timeless?
We all have that one thing in our possession that is indelibly dated by its design. Whether it’s a jacket with design elements that belong to a specific time period or an art piece that echoes a popular era, some graphic designs, color schemes, or even typography are easily recognizable as belonging to a precise time. While these trendy elements are fine to use in small doses, no one wants a wardrobe, home, or book design to be completely designed with an overly trendy look.
Finding a balance between the trendy and the timeless is usually the best way to go for just about anything that is expected to stand the test of time – like your book cover ideas. Combining an on-trend element with timeless typography, for example, is a great way to make currently popular book cover ideas look just as good today as they will in the future.
Book Cover Ideas Featuring Stylized Text
One of the best ways to design a compelling book cover is through the use of interesting text elements. While using a graphic design or picture on book cover ideas can be a good option, interesting typography can catch a potential reader’s attention just as easily.
- Bold Typography: Using oversized fonts in sleek or blocky styles like Sans Serif and Lydian is a popular way to make book covers pop. Layering bold colors, singular graphic elements, and white text make bold book cover ideas stand out from the rest of the books on the shelf. Self-publishing authors that employ bold typography can play with color combinations and graphic elements to reflect the theme and genre of their book while still using this punchy, bright book cover ideas concept.
- Handwriting: For some types of books, like mysteries, horror, or even children’s stories, cover typography that mimics handwriting is the perfect way to project the book’s contents to a potential reader. Handwriting fonts can project feelings of fear to childlike emotions and everything in between so they are an excellent choice for authors who want their book’s cover art to project a human element with a lifelike scrawl within the design.
- Intertwined Words and Images: Both trendy and timeless, book cover ideas that employ intertwined words and graphic elements like lines or simple images are becoming more popular now. But be careful to make the title of the book easily recognizable and not hidden inside the graphic elements. Readers should be able to visually follow the book cover ideas while still easily noticing the book’s title at a glance. Using a spare but impactful color scheme is a way to do that with this interesting and visually appealing book cover ideas.
Book Cover Ideas — Book Covers That Use Photography
We all know that a well-balanced photograph can command attention, evoke emotion, and, in some cases, tell a story in one snapshot. But using a photo on a book cover is a little bit trickier, because the photo can’t overpower the cover. Putting a photo on your book’s cover can bring life and clarity that other graphic elements may not be able to deliver.
- Double Exposure: Layering multiple pieces of imagery is the perfect graphic design trick to use on a book’s cover. By using a primary photographic element overlaid with a smaller, more emotion-evoking picture, book covers can be designed to stir up feelings of fear, excitement, curiosity, or even love.
When using a double exposure type of cover design, the contrasting elements play a large part in the design’s success. In addition, the color choices also contribute to the mood and feel of the cover, so using muted hues and cropped versions of the photos is key so that the overall shape of the images is the main draw rather than vibrant colors or secondary images that may be included in another part of the original photo.
- Real Photos: When the content of the book calls for it, using a real photos for the cover has become a justifiably popular option. The authenticity of a real photo can bring more credibility to your book than stock photos or graphic designs might. Sepia or black-and-white photos add life to historical stories, but they can also look just as compelling on the cover of a modern story. Real, raw photographs are a great way to connect directly with the audience by evoking strong emotions with pictures that make the subjects look just like they stepped out of their lives onto the cover of the book.
Book Cover Ideas — When Less is More
The cover of a book needs to do a lot in a small amount of space: tell the reader what to expect, provide the title and author’s name, and connect with the genre expectations so potential readers won’t be put off by mismatched cover and book content. But a spare cover design can do all of that, surprisingly, even in a world where more usually equates to better.
- Birds: Often used symbolically in literature, birds are a graphic design element that can create a big impact on a book cover as a stand-alone design element. But they can also be used in combination with other cover elements like double exposure or bold typography with just about every genre from mysteries to young adult fiction to children’s stories.
- Houses: Long understood to represent family, history, or even a psychological thriller, the visual of a home or a graphic representative of a house is the perfect spare graphic to use on a book cover. A peek in a window, the outline of a home, or even the stylized representation of a front door are all ways to use a spare visual of a house on a book cover.
- Minimalistic Designs: Society’s recent love affair with the simple life has trickled into just about every aspect of our world, including home design, clothing, food trends, and yes, even book cover design. Minimalistic design that works well includes two distinct components: the use of strategic white space and an otherwise singular color scheme.
By using very little color variation, the design will feel less cluttered while the white space will further direct the attention to the remaining graphic or photo elements that remain. This minimalistic design is also perfect to use for covers that may end up as a thumbnail as these simplistic book cover ideas translate well when reduced to a smaller size.
Leaning Into Trends
Although overly trendy concepts don’t usually provide evergreen book cover ideas, sometimes using a trend is a good way to make sure that your book is visually included in current must-read lists.
- Botanicals: Perennially popular botanical prints have made a resurgence back into book cover design. This repeating trend is full of flowers and all things green and may be represented with a sleek, modern vibe or even a flowery, wallpaper-esque rendition of roses. The use of botanicals is unique because it has been seen in books of all genres and themes, making it a widely versatile option for every author.
- Millennial Pink and Gen-Z Yellow: Colors can be connected directly to different eras and time periods, like 2017’s emergence of Millennial Pink and the more recent explosion of Gen-Z Yellow. Both hues have colored fashion, advertising and even book covers with their soft yet recognizable colors for the past few years and their popularity doesn’t look to wane anytime soon.
Using the familiar colors on a book cover is perfect for books appealing to late teens through young adult readers since the colors used on backgrounds or on fonts or other graphic elements pop especially well on social media where these books are often marketed.
- Retro Elements: What’s old is new again is the old adage, mirroring the trend of using retro elements that have once again resurged in the literary world. Common retro themes are the popularity of 70s-era colors and designs, mid-century modern graphics and fonts as well as even Renaissance art representations.
Authors needing book cover ideas can turn to these trusty, familiar and rich retro elements to add a touch of whimsy and authenticity to their book’s cover.
Once you’re ready to print your book, be sure to check out Dazzle Printing’s quote calculators.