10 Book Cover Designs That Push The Envelope - Unlimited Graphic Design Service

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10 Book Cover Designs That Push The Envelope

March 24, 2020, by

person reading a book

Despite the saying, “Don’t judge the book by its cover,” many readers are guilty of doing so. After all, book cover designs are meant to reflect what’s inside the pages. In the same vein, it’s supposed to visually represent the ideas, content, and format of the tome. Thus, merely using a template from an online software or graphics maker may not gear a book for success. It’s crucial to know the basics and common tips to create a unique design that would put the book in the best light.

Whether you’re launching an ebook or a paperback, you’ll need a professional cover design that speaks to your readers. For unlimited designs at a flat monthly rate, check out Penji. Trusted by many brands, Penji has a team of experts well-versed in visualizing ideas and creating designs that convert.

Tips to Create the Best Book Cover Designs

Design is an integral element in business, be it in responsive web design, social media marketing, and many other facets of promotion. It is, however, a lot more crucial in launching a book. Much like product packaging, book cover designs are the first thing that greets the prospect from the get-go. Thus, it can immensely contribute to a book’s success or failure. 

Below are some design elements that need to be considered when designing a cover.


A marketing team’s creative strategy in promoting a book heavily depends on its genre. In the same way, the genre is an important factor in cover design. A design for a comedy book, for example, would look weird if used in a suspense-thriller. 

Color Theory

Just as with any marketing material, color theory is an essential consideration. The colors used should reflect the nature and theme of the book well. The hues chosen for the palette should also work well with one another. 


Not only is typography crucial in a cover, but it also sets the tone of the book. Is it serious or funny? Is it dramatic or spontaneous? The answers to these questions should reflect on the choice of typeface and font style. 


Images or photos are not required in book cover designs. It is, however, essential to use illustrations or pictures if those are the best ways to tell the book’s concept at a glance.

Book Cover Design Examples to Inspire

Here are 10 of the most creative book cover designs we’ve found online. Take a look at how each one applies the design principles mentioned above.

1. Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

book cover design example

This book by the standup comedian looks quite comical in itself. The prominence of the author’s name on the cover is unsurprising. After all, comedy fans can immediately recognize Ali Wong from her standup shows and Netflix specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife. 

The cover’s color theory, on the other hand, shows contrasting colors of green and pink. This palette is eye-catching and would make anyone look twice if they saw it on a shelf. 

2. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

book cover design example

The cover of Rainbow Rowell’s graphic novel is whimsical in a young and playful sort of way. Cool, neutral blue, green, and plum hues cover most of the page. On the other hand, the pastel pumpkin clearing on top and the pale yellow text take away the stage. Thus, the color palette creates an appeal that makes a reader want to flip the pages and know more about the story.

3. Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

book cover design example

The notable element about this book cover’s design is its typeface. The title itself is written in a simple font, with the letter H stretched to look thick. Interestingly, the poignancy of the title is further emphasized through the use of the handwritten font at the bottom right corner of the page.

4. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah 

book cover design example

This design is a great example of how the concept and theme can be incorporated into the cover of the book. It shows a worm’s eye view showing a dark forest canopy and firefly lights over a dark blue star-studded sky. Thus, the image is a literal visual translation of the book’s title. 

5. Tasty Every Day: All of the Flavor, None of the Fuss by Tasty

book cover design example

Tasty is known for its quick and visually-pleasing short-form videos shared online. Similarly, its book edition is eye candy. The cover features rainbow colors formed by various ingredients. In addition, the distinct logo font and the yellow tagline card in the middle give the image an extra dose of youth and excitement.

6. Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

book cover design example

The cover of Rachel Hollis’ latest book shows a color palette that’s easy on the eyes. The palette isn’t loud enough to overwhelm. At the same time, it’s punchy enough to grab attention from prospective readers. In addition to the choice of hues, the font style used for the title looks spontaneous and unapologetic. This makes it perfect for the theme of the book.

7. Do You Mind If I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti

book cover design example

It’s sunny yellow color might be the first thing about this cover that will catch your attention. At a closer look, however, you’ll see the image of a man’s limbs looking like it’s running away. The image goes very well with the title of the book as it illustrates someone who’s flaking out.

8. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

book cover design example

This book is the first installment in Marlon James’ The Dark Star Trilogy. The cover design is superb. It features a slew of shapes and curves that can be associated with the wild. Incorporated in it are images of the animals as described in the title.

9. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

book cover design example

This book from Caitlin Doughty features a minimalist but bold and edgy cover. The cover is mostly scarlet with a simple and cartoonish black cat-shaped vector drawing in the middle. The title and author font style, on the other hand, gives a human touch to the cover. It makes the title sound like a question an actual person might ask.

10. Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale Hardcover by Adam Minter 

book cover design example

The cover of Adam Minter’s latest book aptly reflects its theme and content. Known for his pieces about waste, recycling, and what happens to things when we discard them. The cover features an image of a pile of secondhand items formed into a globe. In the same vein, the curved path of the book’s tagline further drives focus on the round shape in the middle.

About the author

Carla is a freelance writer and television producer. She is also the founder of Inspired Space, a blog and eCommerce shop for freelancers and passion pursuers.

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