Okay – I admit it. I’m completely guilty of judging a book by its cover. Good design does that – it pulls you in until you reach out and grab it. It’s the first impression; the face a book shows to the world.
Let’s take a look at covers of a few recent bestsellers and see what trends we can uncover.
Text Rules Nonfiction
If you’re releasing a serious tell-all, a philosophical mandate, or a self-help book, consider text and contrast.
Two controversial books, Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life and James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, both stuck to neutral backgrounds for their more serious offerings. The formal colours lend an authoritative air.
For less sober topics, add colour: the eye-catching orange of Mark Manson’s self help book is positive. It’s the visual counterpart to the giant curse word in the title.
2. Filtered Photos for Poetic Titles
If you just wrote a novel and are really into long titles than have I got the cover design for you! It’s a simple formula: pick an appropriate picture full of moody colour and stretch your title over two-thirds of the cover in blocky white sans serif font. Ta da! You’re basically a New York Times Bestseller now.
3. Textured Minimalist
Less is more. These covers of recent best selling fiction from the literary, science fiction and mythology genres respectively all use one focal element that informs the reader of what lies beneath the pages if only they’ll pick up the book…
These covers all use texture well – the rock, the moon, and the stars behind the warhammer all add interest to covers that otherwise might have skewed on the side of boring. The fonts do work too – the geometric font on Artemis has a hieroglyphic feel that works so well for science fiction.
BONUS! Trump Extravaganza
The most controversial president has had a plethora of books written about him this year which means he got the cover treatment. I have to imagine seeing his likeness on so many books made him happy – until he gets someone to read him the inside.
If you have a horror novel that needs a cover, consider red and white, with a hint of orange. Chilling.
Which of these books would you reach for?