There’s that centuries-old sentiment that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and while it still holds some merit, it shouldn’t be accepted as an axiom or taken for granted. And why is that?
Well, the most prevalent hubris when surmising the cover is similar to the act of criticizing the literary work itself – jumping to conclusions often leads to a dead end.
In recent years, in accordance with the ruling book cover designs, the best print design companies focus on two goals:
- Attracting readers with striking visuals
- Reflecting the publication’s plot, atmosphere, and author’s general vision with evocative imagery
With all due respect to the writers of the titles listed below, we firmly believe that the most critical part of these books is their covers, as they are the chief reason why we’re so attracted to them.
With this in mind and without further ado, here are the eight book cover design ideas that will stop you right in your tracks:
Table of Contents
- Blood, Water and Lies by Dissect Design
- Schattenseiten by JD&J Design
- The Birds and the Bees by Wunderman Thompson
- The Startrail Portal Painter by Fenix Cover Designs
- The Conspiracy by Hannah Linder Designs
- The Football Code by BookBeaver
- Taking Civility Out of the Box by AuthorPackages
- Powerless by Laura Duffy Design
1. Blood, Water and Lies by Dissect Design
- Striking color scheme
- Evocative imagery
- Stylish typography
The list of the best book covers starts with Blood, Water, and Lies by Dissect Design. Transitioning from an English teacher to an accomplished writer, Sarah Haven stepped onto the scene with a new book, Blood, Water and Lies, sure to scratch that reader itch of anyone enjoying quality intrigue.
The story about a boy, deprived of love and kindness, who sets out to find his true identity and finally become the person he wants to be, demands an equally alluring cover. Enter Dissect Design!
Their solution perfectly encapsulates the plot with multilayered imagery. The symbolic tear across the protagonist’s head evokes his challenges and the feeling of losing oneself. The fairly monochromatic color palette is “severed” with an ample red tint that perfectly complements the book’s title.
2. Schattenseiten by JD&J Design
- Atmospheric layout
- Subverting expectations (compared to the blurb)
- Bold typography
German author Stephanie Ahlen unveiled a new crime thriller based on the other side of the globe – Hawaii. When a British police officer is found dead in a luxury hotel in Honolulu, the Schattenseiten’s (Downsides) spiraling fall to the rabbit hole is about to start.
The book cover, designed by industry veterans JD&J Design, simultaneously subverts expectations by pulling thick thunderous clouds over the paradise island but also communicates the thriller aspect of the plot, evoking the atmosphere found in Hollywood noir blockbusters like Se7en or Chinatown.
The combination of the simplistic, bold typography and dour, dark blue color scheme is sure to turn heads on bookshelves worldwide, from Honolulu to Dortmund.
3. The Birds and the Bees by Wunderman Thompson
- Playful typography
- Illustrative color choice
- Fun visuals balance out the severe topic
Today’s children will be more affected by climate change than any other generation beforehand. A recent UNICEF report revealed that every single child in the world is at risk from at least one climate change event today, including massive heatwaves, floods, hurricanes (or typhoons, depending on the hemisphere), diseases, droughts, and air pollution.
Birds and Bees are there to set the record straight and explain these risks, along with the way to alleviate their effects and mitigate their causes to generations set to inherit the planet. Traditionally a big challenge for parents is to have that “big talk” about “birds and the bees” with their children.
This version of ‘The Birds & The Bees’ isn’t a story about how life is made, but how life on Earth can be saved.
The publication’s cover (paired with engaging illustrations within), designed by Wunderman Thompson, is a sight to be seen. It’s fun and playful, but it’s easy on the eyes also reminds the youngsters that they (will) have the power to protect Nature by taking the reins themselves.
4. The Startrail Portal Painter by Fenix Cover Designs
- Symbolic elements
- Intertextual meaning
The first book of The Startrail fantasy series, Portal Painter, is a tale of friendship, adventure and fantastical realities that will make you look more profoundly at the natural world around us.
While the cover, designed by Fenix Cover Designs, retains all the classic elements related to the genre, mainly the typeface style and color scheme, it adds another layer of meaning.
By playing on William Blake’s (English romantic poet) famous verse: If the doors of perception were cleansed, then everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite, the agency transformed the title’s cover into a door, or rather a portal to Startrail’s fantastical world.
The lapidary set of keys and painter brushes communicate that art itself is “a key” to understanding reality. Any reality (or realm), for that matter.
5. The Conspiracy by Hannah Linder Designs
- A classy combination of classic and bold typography
Now, this is the textbook example of how a redesign should end up looking! While Jasmine Cresswell’s thriller ruled the bestseller shelves for over two decades, the original book cover design didn’t follow the same, let’s say – evergreen path.
However, when designing this refreshed look, Hannah Linder Designs kept all the original motifs and infused them with a new way of interpretation.
The bare, knotty branches that dominate the front cover creep around like cobwebs communicating to the reader just how wide the international terror and geopolitical insanity that the protagonist must face spreads.
While the trendy minimalistic design approach is nice to look at, it also helps readers get immersed in The Conspiracy effortlessly.
6. The Football Code by BookBeaver
- Serif typography
- Banner-like quality
The Football Code outlines an innovative, ground-breaking game philosophy that is bound to change the way you watch the beautiful, most popular sport in the world.
Designers behind the book cover, BookBeaver, aimed to frame the publication as the go-to address for the scientific approach to football. Besides the comparison to Moneyball (a baseball-oriented bestseller and a Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt), the cover visually “unlocks” the secrets of the game.
Additionally, it’s hard not to connect to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Besides the title, the lock calls to mind the cryptex device – the book’s primary plot point.
Besides looking classy, the serif typography adds a veneer of authority to the cover, making it a prime source of previously undisclosed, data-driven, predictive systems.
7. Taking Civility Out of the Box by AuthorPackages
- “Handle others with care” tagline
- Calming color scheme
Taking Civility Out of the Box jumps straight into the public arena of anger and impudence that is bombarding us from every direction; answering questions you have probably asked yourself at one point or another:
- Why is everyone always so angry and mean-spirited?
- Will the lack of civility toward others damage our democratic society?
- Am I the only one who is frustrated and fed up with leaders whose speeches are petty and meaningless, and whose actions are mainly self-serving?
- Is there anything that can be done, or do I just have to learn to live with this?
It’s time to delve deep into the metaphorical box and deconstruct every question and social phenomenon.
When thinking about the ideal design for the book cover, AuthorPackages must’ve asked one of these questions and opted for the most effective solution – making the said box the star of the show. While simplistic, this design approach screams even louder today in the aftermath of the global pandemic.
8. Powerless by Laura Duffy Design
- Playing with a light source
- Bold typography
“When all goes dark, they’re left alone. As starvation provokes chaos, can one man defend all he holds dear?”
What’s the only thing that can overshadow such a blurb and convey the ultimate horror of solitude?
It’s simple - the book’s masterful cover by Laura Duffy Design. Never before has the “picture worth a thousand words” sentiment rang truer. The lone candle, representing the last fleeting hope, only casts the shadow of doubt in oneself, while the darkness is everything that remains.
Additionally, LDD plays with light in such an interesting way that it illuminates the flat, bold typography of the title, which gives a clear answer, or a feeling of dread once everything else fades.