12 brilliant book cover ideas for design inspiration.
Ignite your imagination with some of our favorite book covers that feature artistry, style, and eye-catching designs.
1. Use colors as accents.
Accent colors create focal points in compositions and also highlight certain elements of your choosing. In the black and white photo seen in this example, using red as an accent color draws our attention to the color flare.
Red is a powerful color, and in this particular design, we feel the passion of this bright color soaring across the page. Think about the meanings that different colors carry and how featuring one accent in your design can support your story.
2. Grab your reader’s attention with contrast.
Contrast pins two contrasting colors against each other to make a statement. Black versus white, light versus dark, etc. By doing so, contrasting designs emphasize the light, which naturally draws our eye to whatever it is. Here, we see contrast at play where the white area grabs our attention in the middle of a black page, indicating it’s the cover’s focal point.
3. Make bold choices with typography.
Typography is an eye-catching design tool and can be as artistic and impactful as strong imagery. You can play with the curves and shapes of letters to make interesting negative space or communicate emotions through a specific typeface. We like how this cover embodies the essence of typography by filling the cover with text. You can use a font to emphasize a point by changing the type, color, shape, size, or placement.
4. Showcase handwritten type.
Sometimes books are written from the first-person perspective, such as a diary. Provide a preview of this intimate relationship with the narrator by using handwriting on the cover. For example, you could feature nice, flowy calligraphy if your book is a period piece or slightly manic scribbles if your story is more of a thriller.
5. Get creative with composition.
Allow yourself the opportunity to experiment with composition design meaning, getting creative with where you place things on the page. There is no standard way to design your book cover, so experiment with ways to make your design as unique as the content inside.
We appreciate the simple trick at play here: placing the title in a text box directly over the man’s eyes, maintaining his secrecy as a whistleblower. Of course, so does his gesture, as well as lighting only half his face. It doesn’t take much to make a compelling stylistic choice. The goal is to create something that stands out and speaks for your book.
6. Convey the mood of the book through the cover.
A book cover is one way of drawing a reader into your story. Like peeping through a keyhole, a reader can see a small clue to the bigger overall picture of the story inside. Here, the design is communicating a very specific theme to the book inside.
The binary code alludes to the title, “Code Breaker,” and having the author and the title placed in the code, all typed out in a vintage computer typeface, really sticks to the theme. Think of how you can curate your design and imagery to make your readers feel the mood through the cover alone.
7. Feature compelling imagery.
Fiction or nonfiction, every type of book deserves to have a mesmerizing cover. A cover that will catch a reader’s attention, pique their curiosity, and inspire them to open up the book and dive in. This delicious photo caught our attention, and we’re interested in finding out if the story inside is just as delectable as the cover image. When it comes to imagery, explore photos, illustrations, or even Photoshopped compositions to create a fantastic cover.
8. Use imagery as an accent.
You can go for a simpler approach while still using imagery. An image doesn’t need to take up the whole cover. It can serve quite well as a complement to the overall design. Here, we have the paper peeled back to reveal the book’s title. While the paper is graphically interesting, it merely leads us to read the book’s title as the focal point. Explore ways you can intertwine text and imagery together.
9. Choose imagery that makes an impact on your audience.
As the old saying goes, a photo is worth 1,000 words. Images can communicate emotions or sentiments much more than words can, so explore the type of imagery that can speak up for you on your book cover. This example is impactful for an audience who cares about design and architecture, as this staircase is cropped in a way that represents the golden ratio, an important tool in art. Know your audience and choose an image that will catch their attention.
10. Showcase icons and graphics as imagery.
There are many forms of imagery. Photographs are one, as well as illustrations, paintings, graphics, and even icons. Each medium has its own strengths in communicating certain messages, but let’s talk about icons and graphics.
These digital imagery options work well for creating modern, minimal designs, and their size and color can be easily adjusted for consistency. Take a look at the Robot Thinking book – all the cover has is four icons and a silhouette. When added together with the title and author, it makes for incredible composition and paints a clear picture of what the book offers.
11. Use graphics to allude to imagery.
A “web of lies” is a commonly used phrase and the title of the book we see here. If the designer had chosen to use spiderwebs, would the design work as well? More likely, spiderwebs would make us think about Halloween or something creepy.
Instead, using minimalist lines to represent a real web, we clearly understand that we’re talking about webs in the context of ideas.
12. Keep it simple and straightforward.
You don’t need to overwhelm your readers with a loud, jam-packed design. Putting everything that’s inside the book on the cover defeats the purpose. Just give your readers what they need to know on the cover that will intrigue them enough to open up and learn more. This cover keeps it simple with a plain, minimal composition. Having the title in the bottom corner is a stylistic choice appropriate for a design book. Remember that negative space is just as impactful as any other design element.