12 Brilliant Book Cover Ideas for Design Inspiration

Spark your creativity with some of our favorite book covers that feature artistry, style, and eye-catching designs.

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A book cover is an incredibly important piece of design. The art of capturing the most important essence of a book on it’s cover can be quite challenging! Though there are many ways to market a book to an audience, having an impactful cover that can pique a reader’s interest can be a real game changer.

Luckily, there are tips and tricks to designing a cover that will look great, be it on a bookshelf, a coffee table, an online marketplace, and more. Explore our guide to brilliant cover designs to get inspired to start making something magnificent for your next book.

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, and even echoed in the title. Think about the meanings that different colors carry, and how featuring one as an accent in your design can support your story.

2. Grab Your Reader’s Attention with Contrast

Contrast pins two opposing 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 black page, indicating it’s the cover’s focal point. If your book is written to make a statement, consider using strong contrast to communicate that.

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 topic of typography by filling the cover with text. You can use type to emphasize a point by changing the type, color, shape, size, or placement. Don’t feel obligated to feature an image on your cover, as typography can provide amazing opportunities for a brilliant cover design.

4. Showcase Handwritten Type

Sometimes books are written from the first-person perspective, such as diaries, tell-alls, or confessions. Provide a preview of this intimate relationship with the narrator by using handwriting (that sometimes, could be assumed to be theirs) 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. And don’t be afraid to use your own handwriting or the writing of someone you know instead of a typeface for something truly unique!

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 you can 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 eyes of the man as it maintains his secrecy as a whistleblower. Of course, so does his gesture, as well as the lighting only on half his face. Needless to say, 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, which is all typed out in a vintage computer typeface, really sticks to 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, any 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 has caught our attention, and we’re interested to find out if the story inside is just as delectable as the cover image is telling us! When it comes to imagery, explore options such as photos, illustrations or even Photoshopped compositions to create a fantastical 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, and in fact 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 instead of focusing on the imagery. Explore with ways you can intertwine text and imagery together to serve the greater cover design.

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 sometimes much more than any words can, so explore with what type of imagery 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 that also speaks for the book inside.

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. And, you don’t need much! Take a look at the Robot Thinking book – all the cover has is four icons and a silhouette, which when added together with the title and author, makes for an incredible composition and paints a clear picture about what the book has to offer.

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 as it is now? More likely, spiderwebs would make us think about Halloween or something creepy.

But instead, using minimalist lines to represent a real web, we as readers clearly understand that we’re talking about webs in the context of ideas instead. When you have an idea of what you want your cover to look like, see how you can strip it down to the bare minimum while being able to communicate the sentiment.

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 sort of 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.

How to make a book cover with Adobe Spark

  1. Start with Inspiration

    We hook you up with thousands of professionally designed templates so you’re never starting from a blank canvas. Search by platform, task, aesthetic, mood, or color to have fresh inspiration at your fingertips. Once you find a graphic to start from, just tap or click to open the document in the editor.

  2. Remix to Make it Your Own

    There are lots of ways to personalize the templates. Change up the copy and font. Sub out the imagery with your own snapshots or short video clips. Or browse from thousands of free images right in Spark. Spend as little or as much time as you want making the graphic your own. With a premium plan, you can even auto-apply your brand logo, colors, and fonts so you’re always #onbrand.

  3. Amp up the Flair

    It’s easy to add extra flair and personality to your projects with Spark’s exclusive design assets. Add animated stickers from GIPHY or apply a text animation for short-form graphic videos in one tap. We’ve taken care of all the boring technical stuff, so you can focus on your message and style.

  4. Resize to Make Your Content Go Further

    Gone are the days of having to memorize image dimensions for every single platform. Once you’ve landed on a design you like, you can easily modify it for any social network by using Spark’s handy, auto-magical resize feature. Simply duplicate the project, hit resize, and select the platform you want to adapt it for and our AI will take care of the rest. Boom! Content for all your channels in a fraction of the time!