Best Book Cover Design Trends, Ideas, & Principles You Can Use

hermit-chawla_0.jpg  Marketing Manager, Sprak Design

   WWS contributor


Books are everywhere. Even in this digital age, readers can’t seem to get enough of books. And today’s creative book covers are reeling in more readers deeper into books.

Books in Library Shelf Image for Six Trending Book Cover Design Ideas & Principles in 2021

The invention of paper and printing opened a mesmerizing world of books and fictional characters that persist even in modern society. There are millions of recorded texts and books that contain ages of knowledge. And today’s creative book cover designs are captivating people’s minds and imagination even more.

Book covers are a combination of designs and words that explicitly or partially set the idea of the content. Developing a book cover is an important task as it acts as the first impression a viewer gets. It includes some primary elements, including:

  • Color: hue, saturation and tone
  • Design: symmetry, abstract, surreal etc.
  • Typography: typeface, type families etc.
  • Image making: methods and techniques

These major cover design components directly and indirectly influence people’s senses. By studying which elements appeal to which senses, one can successfully entice people to choose a particular book, allowing it to stand out from the others.

As an author or other stakeholder, it is important to know which cover design fits best for a given book. Authors, graphic designers, and other design-oriented professionals should stay updated on current and emerging trends in book cover design, and align themselves accordingly with the prevailing trends. That way you can meet (and even exceed) what exactly the market and readers expect and want.

In this article, we’ll highlight top book cover design trends and ideas that are bringing great results, while also helping you keep track of fundamental design elements and principles you should consider for book cover design success in the market.


Top Trending Book Cover Design Elements and Ideas


Let’s dive in:


1. The Pixelated Look


Pixels usually remind us of old arcade games, the age-old technology produced a form of art which is seemingly still popular these days.

Using elements such as pixels from our past is a sure way to grab viewer’s attention, because it reminds us of a good experience. Adding it on to modern displays can improve sales and popularity within a distinct customer pool.

Design your book with pixels if you want to convey an age-old message to the audience. Usually, pixelated looks go great for books based on fictional stories.

Since designers from all eras get inspired by elements and borrow styles from the past, a combination of modern and retro book covers sure does make an aesthetic look. We can observe and incorporate pixel art, coded designs, glitched imagery, and mechanical typefaces that hint towards a virtual perspective.

The pixelated look on book covers is a relatively new look and not commonly found in past book covers, until recently. It introduces the viewer to a fresh, new impression, and yet it also brings a sense of familiar nostalgia upon seeing the pixels.


2. The Surrealist Look


This look captures a sense of unrealistic aesthetics on the readers, much like how last year went by like a dazed afternoon.

Surrealism art is not made to conform with elements seen in reality, rather it focuses on tapping into the unconscious psyche to release creativity. And a toll comes with creativity, irrationality.

Going for a thought-provoking design is considered risky as the ideal message is hard to pinpoint. Not to mention the execution can be tricky, whether the cover describes the message from the author’s point of view or from the audience’s.

However, implementing surreal images, art forms and designs on book covers could potentially attract readers to pick up a new book.

Surrealist designs will turn up in illustrations for marketing, album covers, or on supply tools. You can discover more uses of surreal art by checking out booklet designer sites and newsletters.

Booklets are another form of written communication, while booklet designers are designers who create the composition of a booklet. Involving cover trends in smaller articles such as booklets furthers the trend.


3. The Blurry Look


The inability to identify blurred objects or images makes the viewer curious and thus, builds on to a feeling of suspense. It can help to capture the attention of readers.

Using this look arouses people curiosity and even some doubts about what the blur really is, and consequently, what the book actually is about. And when people feel uncertain about how a thing looks, we usually want to take a closer look so as to find out and reveal the truth.

That’s just human nature. We are naturally curious creatures and this is what has led to awe inspiring inventions and discoveries.

This year book covers will be filled with blurred looks, one of its main components being glitch art. This form of art lets the viewer perceive an odd sense of the futuristic reality we may live in, where we cannot survive comfortably without technology.


4. Titles with Interruptions


The title is another important element when it comes to designing book covers. Here’s where the key elements of typography are most prominently used.

Did you know that each font has a distinct associated experience to it? Say for example, Papyrus typeface has a cryptic feel to it - judging by the way the letters grow and end. Futura typeface, on the other hand, has a clear feel to it. That is to say, fonts and typefaces carry certain emotions that help can be used to direct and help readers and viewers understand the message of the book in question better.

Ordinarily, interruptions in words or sentences would annoy any reader. Even in conversations, interruptions disrupt the harmony we all keenly appreciate. People generally prefer designs and art, including paintings, that are symmetrical. Symmetry creates a sense of harmony between the viewer and the art. This is how the brain usually works, it prefers things that move from point A to point B in an orderly way. Any disruption in the process creates ripples and can tip the balance.

However, when it comes to the design of book covers, interrupted or partially hidden titles can be used strategically to cox and tease readers with what to expect.  Currently, this look is seen (and will continue to be seen) in more book covers.

The basic idea behind this book design trend and look is to make the cover three dimensional and eye-catching at first glance, before disrupting the chain of words in the title. It taunts readers to flip the page.


5. Loud and Bold Color Patterns


We have a tendency to appreciate and look into things that attract our senses the most. Color, being one of the fundamental principles in design, used smartly, can help manipulate the viewer into feeling certain emotions towards something.

For example, it is generally known that seeing the color green relaxes our nerves whereas the color yellow stimulates our taste buds. So, using the appropriate book cover color combinations can help create a desired sense that is as eye-catching as it is appealing to readers.

Currently, trends have shifted to loud patterns all over book covers – front and back. These loud and bold covers compel people to stop and look. They’re accompanied with bold, matching colors to grab attention from even casual bystanders.

By using a loud and bold cover design, your book should scream out the most and grab attention when on display, as compared to when bland texts and colors are used.


6. Rough Sketches for a Change


People tend to notice things that are out of the ordinary and different. It makes things pop out from the crowd. Not surprisingly, therefore, book designers often go all out with design, color, and imagery to make book covers pop out. One way they are doing that is using rough sketches designs to make book covers stand out.

Rough sketches are not meant to be the final artwork, rather they are called rough sketches for a reason. Drawing out the idea in a raw form or sketching the skeleton structure of the subject. The fact that the work is incomplete draws our attention.

Going for a simple sketch as the book cover can bring in more to the table than loud imagery and bold colors in some cases. Sketches can make the reader feel a certain rawness to the book, which can be very compelling.

Covers are designed to reflect the stories inside pages, and by successfully delivering the impression that the message of the book - illustrated on the cover - is raw and authentic, it can drive many more readers to identify with a book and be drawn to it.

Sketches for book covers give off that very unique vibe that stands out from the rest.


In conclusion


Judging a book by its cover is oftentimes a logical and necessary step for most readers, albeit often unconsciously. Always remember that a lot of thought goes into making good book covers, and that has a direct impact on book sales.

Book cover design is part of the story even though it is not written text—besides maybe in the title. The cover is a critical, non- verbal form of communication that stimulates the senses and sends an instant message to readers.

While different book cover designs may work in different situations for both fiction and non-fiction, they are key to success. Keep to proper design principles and trends to captivate readers with your covers and make their experience worthwhile.

Hermit Chawla is a Marketing Manager at Sprak Design, a professional Graphic Design Company. He loves to write and share thoughts on Design, Brand Management, Lifestyle, Branding, and more.