Top 10 Book Cover Ideas (and Examples!)

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Books are definitely judged by their covers. Those with more compelling and impactful covers, quite simply, have a better chance of being purchased and read. Book cover design trends are constantly evolving, and they tend to affect the industry as a whole—but there are some tried and true examples of book cover ideas that can guide authors through the book design process. Let's take a look at some of the top book cover ideas and examples.

Book Cover Idea #1
Minimalism: Back to Basics

Minimalism has been growing in popularity over recent years. The simplistic and practical lifestyle approach has impacted interior design, clothing, cuisine, and now even book cover design.

Minimalist book covers are distinguishable by their clean and straightforward designs. There are, in fact, two important aspects of a minimalist book cover—the use of a single color tone and the strategic use of white space to direct focus on a specific element. The basic premise of minimalist design is that a reader’s eye will be immediately drawn to the title and supporting image because there is a lack of other elements to compete for attention.

This minimal design aesthetic works especially well for ebooks. A minimal and uncluttered book cover makes for a more visually appealing and eye catching thumbnail.

Book Cover Idea_InPursuitofGrit

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #2
Millennial Pink and Gen-Z Yellow: #trending

Starting around 2017, ‘Millennial Pink’ started showing up everywhere in droves, and book covers were no exception. This muted and creamy color is still extremely popular today, especially for books geared towards the late teen to early-20’s demographic. Pink does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

The newest color to make waves this year is ‘Gen-Z Yellow.’ This fresh, modern, and inviting color is eye-catching and tends to really pop on social media posts.

Look for book covers using this color in backgrounds and as bright accents in imagery or fonts.

Book Cover Idea_TrampledbyLove

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #3
Botanicals: Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Over the past several years, bookshelves seem to have blossomed with botanical book covers. Flowers appear in several forms. They range from clean and crisp modern patterns to more intricate antique wallpaper designs. What sets this floral trend apart is that the flowers tend to interact with and even obscure text elements. Additionally, flowers are finding their way onto the covers of books written by both men and women and across many different genres.

Book Cover Idea_AdvicefromBabaYaga

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #4
Text Intertwined With Images: Hidden in Plain Sight

One basic rule of thumb for book covers is that the title should never be covered or hidden so as to make it unreadable or indecipherable. After all, who is going to buy a book with an unknown title? A recent trend has emerged, though, which plays with this particular tenet. We are seeing more covers these days that are laying images or drawings over and betwixt the title text. This is, in essence, making the imagery part of the font itself.

Book Cover Idea_BeforetheRipcordBroke

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #5
Real Photos: Insta-Stories

Many books these days are using real life photos as their cover art. The pictures range from historical to modern, from black and white to sepia toned to vibrantly colored. What they tend to have in common is the authentic depiction of everyday life. You won’t find generic stock photos here; instead, covers are opting to use realistic snapshots to connect more to the potential audience and evoke visceral, emotional responses.

Book Cover Idea_TheGreenSoldier

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #6
Double Exposure: Two for the Price of One

Double exposure photos are a way to show several different images in an artistic manner on the cover. Simply put, a double exposure offers an outline within the backdrop of a bigger picture. Typical examples include a face or faces atop a photo of a natural element. The overall effect is really quite impactful, and can be interpreted as dreamy or surreal or even frenetic and frightful.

Book Cover Idea_One Wilde Night

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #7
Retro Touches: Everything Old is New Again

They say history repeats itself. The same can be said for book covers. Retro touches and accents have made a notable appearance in recent years, and they can be found in a number of different ways. Imagery from renaissance art, mid-century modern styled illustrations, and 1970’s era colors and layouts are some of the more prevalent examples.

Book Cover Idea_LittleGames

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #8
Impactful Typography: Big and Bold

A theme across so many modern book covers is big, bold typography. The newest book fonts being used in regular rotation are blocky and clean with long lines. Lydian and sans serif are two of the more popular options. Another twist on the trend is the use of white for text. It really makes the title stand out against a colorful background.

Book Cover Idea_TheSumofAllThings

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #9
Handwriting: The Modern Scrawl

From the title text to drawings to cross-outs, handwritten elements can be found on a variety of book covers this year in almost every genre. Handwriting adds a human element to book covers and can actually be used to convey a wide range of feelings and emotions. For example, child-like writing or drawings looks whimsical or nostalgic on a children’s book. That same writing could be disturbing or creepy, though, when used on a mystery or suspense cover.

Book Cover Idea_AHouseMadeofBricks

Cover design by Ebook Launch

Book Cover Idea #10
Birds and Houses

Two other popular graphic elements are birds and houses. Both can play to a number of different genres. Birds have been used symbolically in literature since almost the beginning of written history. Houses on book covers are typically symbolic of a family drama or psychological thriller. These images are seen often in conjunction with the other elements on this list.

While this is not a conclusive list, these elements can get your wheels spinning to create additional book cover ideas of your own. If you’re looking for a competitive edge when it comes to your newest book, we recommend looking for a professional book cover designer to help create your cover. They are well worth the time and investment.

For more information about book cover design, check out The Ultimate Guide to Master Your Book Cover Design.


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Dane Low

Dane is the co-founder of Ebook Launch, a company that specializes in cover design, formatting and book editing services. When Dane’s not on his computer he’s outside hiking or running in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.