book cover design trends

On the Recent Colorful and Creative Trends of Cover Design

March 29, 2020 6 Comments

When it comes to picking out books, I like to think I do look deeper into the story, but I’m also that shallow book reader who is swayed by a pretty cover. But it can also go the other way. I see many a pretty cover that I have a “get-on-my-shelf” reaction to, only to read more about the book and decide it’s not one I’d be very likely to enjoy. Nonetheless I’m a book cover art snob, and I love talking about the pretty “dresses” that adorn them. I’m so some different things going on in the designs of books these days, so I thought why not chat about book cover design trends?

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What I’ll do is break this down into four categories, four different “themes” or trends I’m seeing as I browse places with book lists (and probably waste too much time on this – anyone else do this?) or upcoming releases. There seems to be a lingering trend I keep seeing, two of which that, in the genres I read, seem to be surging in popularity.

I’m looking at these trends, and sharing some of the cover designs that implement them.


Colorful and Creative Book Cover Design Trends

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1: Don’t Underestimate a Good Title (Text)

For some time now, the prominence of title text has been a “thing.” It also surprises me to see that most are also actually constructed (made by hand and then assembled for a photoshoot) vs. made in some type of digital editing software. This adds so much texture and interest to the cover. Here are a few “text takes center stage.”

Books: More than Maybe on AmazonGoodreads | The Shortest Distance Between Love and Hate on AmazonGoodreads | Not Like the Movies on AmazonGoodreads | Frankly in Love on Amazon Goodreads

2: Let’s Get Creative, Illustrated

This is the one I’m seeing so much. It seems to especially be a happening trend in YA contemporary. For the most part I really like it, but yesterday I did run across some illustrated cover designs that at first glance are cute, but take a closer look and the people have no facial features. That seems maybe a little… strange?

Despite this, I do honestly think this trend works really well. Some are even being re-designed to match the times like Katie Catugno’s books or The Library of Lost Things, which has a paperback re-design in this trend. Another thing this “look” seems to bring with it is vibrant, and fun colors, which makes it all the cooler.

book cover design trends

Books: No Offense on Amazon Goodreads | Well Played on AmazonGoodreads | Party of Two on AmazonGoodreads | If I Never Met You on AmazonGoodreads | The Code for Love and Heartbreak on Amazon Goodreads | Beach Read on AmazonGoodreads | What I Like About You on AmazonGoodreads | A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow on Amazon ● Goodreads

3: No to Faces. Yes to Colorful Things.

Putting faces on cover art is a long standing point of conflict. Most readers do not like it, or at least that’s been my experience. I’m the opposite. I quite enjoy it. One of the more frequently used elements I see in more recent times is a “no model” look when designs that use buildings, shapes or other means to distort a face. For example, More than Maybe has illustrated people, but it distorts them more by overlaying text.

Books: What you Wish For on AmazonGoodreads | The Honey-Don’t List on AmazonGoodreads | Of Literature and Lattes on AmazonGoodreads | Some Bright Someday on Goodreads

4: Shape it as Disproportionate

This is a design I only just picked up on. I see it in the featured cover designs (below) and am unsure how I feel about them. I think it’s not really one I love (although I confess to really liking Hannah’s), but I do hope to enjoy the stories inside, and find it interesting that these, like any of the other elements I talk about, seem to combine multiple concepts.

Books: Meg and Jo on AmazonGoodreads | Paris is Always a Good Idea on AmazonGoodreads | Of Curses and Kisses on AmazonGoodreads | Head Over Heels on AmazonGoodreads


…and I could go on (seriously, I had a lot more book cover images in my queue), but one has to stop somewhere, right? How about you? What are your favorite book cover design trends; what are you seeing more or less of? Is there any you’re loving? Comment all of your thoughts down in the comments.

On the Recent Colorful and Creative Trends of Cover Design. Talking about book cover design trends. What are YOUR favorite? Text © Rissi JC
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About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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6 Comments

  • Sara March 30, 2020 at 4:28 am

    I must admit I prefer not to have faces on the covers of my books. I think it’s because I’m secretly a little worried that the faces will somehow have an impact on how I see the characters in my head, which I realise is probably a little silly, since covers always have an impact on how we approach the story, I think, even the ones that just feature typography or abstract designs.

    Personally, I’m quite a fan of the books that make the title the focus (I love the David Yoon cover you showed, for instance), but I also think it depends on if it’s done well or not, if the fonts are well-combined and the colours work well together.

    • Rissi JC April 13, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      That’s ok. I know LOTS of readers don’t like people/faces on the cover. 90+ percent of the time I like it, but I understand why readers don’t.

      David Yoon’s is cute. :) I like typography, but also enjoy the whimsical “sketch” trends and yes, abstract, too. All in all, there’s just so many to like…! Appreciate your visit, Sara.

  • Angela March 30, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I love a good font! And as much as I like more realistic covers with pretty dresses, I also really like the trend of illustrated covers – not only for YA, but also for adult books, especially romance. It’s just really eye-catching!

    • Rissi JC April 13, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      These illustrated covers are SO pretty. Not sure how long this will last, but it definitely IS a popular trend just now. :) Thanks so much for the visit, Angela.

  • Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books April 2, 2020 at 2:48 am

    I have always loved cool fonts on covers!! The illustrated trend…. I have to admit I HATE it. I don’t remember there ever being a trend that was SO pervasive. It feels like all the non-fantasy books have to be done this way now and I just want some uniqueness and variety!! It might have been cute at first, but everything gets old when 5,000 books look the same. Also, I just do NOT see YA when I see these. I think Adult Contemporary, but that’s just me. Great post!! I love seeing what other people think about trends :)

    • Rissi JC April 13, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      It is fun to read what everyone likes/enjoys! I suspect one of these days the illustrated trend will go by the wayside, although it’s interesting because I do see some books being re-published with this trend, so time will tell if it’ll happen. ;) Thanks for sharing your viewpoint, Michelle.

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