Become inspired by amazing book cover ideas
Coming up with book cover ideas that are perfectly suited to a book can be a tough task. To create a cover that readers will love, graphic designers need to think outside the box.
Our list of the 100 most creative cover ideas takes a look at the book covers that really stand out from the crowd. From minimalist book covers to complex and extravagant, this list has it covered.
Each of these covers were chosen because of what they add to the books they feature on. Book cover designs should be more than just a cover for its pages, but rather thoughtfully created designs that tell you something about the story.
Covers that span a variety of genres
These ideas come from titles in a number of genres, including drama, thrillers, art, crime, romance, science and much more.
The cover designs in our list are just as diverse as these genres. They are all worth their place and will give you lots of inspiration for thinking up your own cover ideas.
Albert Camus – Exile and the Kingdom
The cover of Exile and the Kingdom uses asymmetry to make a strong visual impact. The cover designer experiments with the black and white rectangles to create a disjointed look.
The contrasting colours of the pattern is a suitable metaphor for the characters of the book, who are constantly at odds with the world they live in.
They feel lonely and ostracised from society, and the uneven appearance of the cover is a good representation of the unstable nature of their lives.
Nicholas Rombes – A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982
The plain background and the hand scrawled typography are fitting choices for a book about the punk movement.
The drawing of a man with a vinyl over his face is unique and engaging. It’s an alternative illustration that fits the subject matter of the book very well.
The word ‘punk’ is underlined to highlight what the book is about and draws the reader’s eye towards the text.
Anne Michaels – All We Saw: Poems
The starry night sky creeps slowly up the hand on the cover of All We Saw: Poems. It’s an eye-catching piece of abstract design that’s minimal yet expansive too.
It captures the imagination and hope of the book, which looks into what love allows us to do and what love prevents us from doing.
The text is small and reserved for the bottom of the cover, allowing readers to focus on the image in the design.
Eldritch Priest – Boring Formless Nonsense: Experimental Music and the Aesthetics of Failure
The 3D cover of Boring Formless Nonsense is anything but boring. The book discusses experimental and avant-garde music and the cover is a good representation of its off kilter style.
We see a music sheet, but it’s tilted upwards, giving us a chance to see it from a completely new perspective.
The clean font is easy to read and works well with the rest of the cover. The main part of the title is highlighted through the use of larger text.
Kevin Young – Brown Poems
The cover of Brown Poems uses some 80’s style texture and a collage technique to create a highly artistic look.
There are also some Dada vibes at play here in a book which shares with us a recollection of a black Kansas boyhood.
If you’re trying to come up with unique book cover ideas that use unusual design styles, then Brown Poems would make for a good source of inspiration for you.
Jim Johnstone – Dog Ear
Dog Ear instantly stands out from the crowd due to its inventive typography. The paper clipping style is eye-catching and arouses curiosity about the contents of the book.
The black background allows the text to jump out and really makes the reader take notice of it.
The title is a reference to the folds we make on a page to mark where we are in a book. Similarly, we leave our marks on an ever changing world.
David Salle – How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art
The text on the cover of How to See uses a simple font, but it’s incredibly striking. Not just because of the vivid colour scheme, but the ordering of the words too.
Instead of placing ‘How’ at the top of the cover, the designer inserted it between the words ‘To’ and ‘See’. This causes the reader to pause momentarily to take a closer look.
This choice of layout is perfect for a book that questions how we should view art and examines the effect it has on us.
RMIT University – Little Spines
Created by Vibeke Illevold, the cover for Little Spines is a unique and captivating design. A partial cover is used to create the effect of a tree with one half full of leaves and another half without them.
The earthy appearance of the background highlights the green leaves even more, while the stark white background on the leafless side emphasises its bareness.
Little Spines is an anthology of creative writing by students of RMIT University, and the cover was a fitting choice for such a book.
Asa Boxer – Skulduggery
The cover of Skulduggery uses multiple different hand gestures to create an intriguing pattern.
The white and black color scheme allows the design to easily stand out and it’s tempting to peruse the cover to closely examine each hand gesture.
A collection of poems, Skulduggery warns the reader to trust nothing. The multiple sleight of hands on display is apt imagery for this warning.
Rob Roberge – Liar
Liar, by novelist Robert Roberge, is a story that speaks about subjects such as memory and mental illness.
The hole burnt into the cover has conveniently been placed over Roberge’s head. It is a metaphor for his memory, which has been slowly disintegrating.
Typography interacting with real world objects is very popular right now and we can see the man on the cover being used as the ‘I’ in ‘Liar’.
Walter Isaacson – Steve Jobs
This classic black and white image of Steve Jobs is featured on Walter Isaacson’s eponymous biography.
Photographer Albert Watson is known for his iconic pictures of famous figures, and he captured the personality of Jobs perfectly in this picture.
Despite the fact that the entire shoot only took 20 minutes, Jobs said it was possibly the best photo ever taken of him.
Casey Gerald – There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir
The thin black and white lines of the cover of There Will Be No Miracles Here appear almost as if they are the rays of the sun about to reveal itself.
The black coloured strip at the bottom of the cover acts as the horizon and serves to display the author’s name.
The book itself shines a light on the American dream, showing how the elite prevent those below them rising to power.
Michael Skerker – An Ethics of Interrogation
A lightbulb hangs low and barely illuminates the cover of Michael Skerker’s An Ethics of Interrogation. The lack of light is fitting for such a dark and murky subject.
Interrogation is bleak and uncomfortable, so it’s only right that the imagery of the book cover is displayed in an understated way.
The book addresses every aspect of such a complex issue and moves past the standard representation of torture that we see in movies.
Robert Phillips – Trust Me, PR is Dead
To emphasise the message of the title, red brush strokes are used to partially obscure the text of this cover.
Red is a good choice for redacting the text in this instance, as it’s attention grabbing by nature. The plain background helps to highlight the strength of the red.
If you’re looking for book cover designs for text-based designs, then Trust Me, PR is Dead is a good example to follow.
Derek Raymond – How the Dead Live
A broken plate on the cover of How the Dead Live hint at the violence a reader can expect to encounter within.
Negative space is used to depict an image of a skull on the plates, and an orange background serves to emphasise it.
The text in the design allows for the image to take centre stage. It’s clear and easily legible, using a simple font that doesn’t cause distraction.
Kazuhiro Kiuchi – Shield of Straw
The uselessness of a shield of straw is made clear on the cover of Kazuhiro Kiuchi’s books. Despite straws covering the text, it’s still clearly visible.
Book covers like this one are simple, but effective. The cover brilliantly conveys the message of the title.
The straws are white, contrasting with the stylised black typography and the dark green background.
Dinaw Mengestu – All Our Names
Appearing as if it was a blackboard, the cover of All Our Names references the initial setting of this story.
Two young men get drawn out of their college campus and into a revolution which completely changes who they are.
The fact that the text is crossed out on the cover could be saying that the two men’s old lives have been crossed out and irreparably changed.
Daniel Alarcón – At Night We Walk in Circles
When coming up with cover ideas, choosing the right colours can be key to making your design stand out. At Night We Walk in Circles is a great example of this.
The twisted purple and white design is extremely striking and it is a good visual metaphor for the main character’s descent into a life of chaos.
Despite it being repeated four times, the capitalised typography is unobstructive to the reader.
Joshua Cohen – Book of Numbers
The mystery of Joshua Cohen’s Book of Numbers is very well conveyed by its cover. A man’s face is partially revealed, leading us to ask who he might be and what role he plays in the novel.
Binary code and computer circuitry appear on the cover, hinting at technology’s all-pervasive role in the story.
Red, yellow and blue are chosen as the background colours for each section of text and this makes it stand out against the black background.
Kelly Loy Gilbert – Conviction
A bird’s eye view is used here to show a car moving through the night. Its light illuminates the book’s tagline, ‘a lie will set him free’.
It’s a tantalising line, even without any context, but it’s even more interesting when you find out the plot of the book.
The title is arranged in a haphazard way and the font is thin and streaky. The ‘t’ in conviction is displayed like a cross in a nod to some of the religious themes in the book.
William Shakespeare – Hamlet
This minimalist cover of Shakespeare’s Hamlet brilliantly uses negative space to display the poisoned sword that plays such a huge role in its plot.
We can also see the letter ‘H’ in the design, which takes up the remainder of the book’s cover space.
Book covers that display plot devices using a new and unique perspective can work very well.
Jonathan Safran Foer – Here I Am
Lines of text are used here to make a colourful background. Red and blue words are scribbled haphazardly over an orange canvas.
The incoherent ramblings are intended to be hard to read and their main goal is to create the unique aesthetic of the cover.
The transparent white title stands out above everything. It’s a large, all-caps font and is easily noticeable.
Kirsty Gunn – Infidelities
The irregular lettering of Infidelities works very well here against a floor plan background that shows the setting of the book.
Highlighting every letter ‘I’ in red adds a sense of danger and urgency to the cover, while also providing structure to the title.
Infidelities is a series of short stories about lust, deceit and regret that overlap with each other. The cover does a job of hinting at the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere.
Elizabeth Greenwood – Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud
Playing Dead is a book that investigates everything to do with death fraud, making the cover image a very fitting choice.
It’s a great visual metaphor that shows a man who doesn’t exist, but is still living his life. Negative space is used brilliantly to convey this idea.
The text in the design is well laid out and is easy to read against a segmented red background.
Jesse Ball – Silence Once Begun
The theme of silence in this novel is cleverly represented here by the author’s signature covering where the man’s mouth should be.
It’s one of those simple, but effective, cover ideas that instantly makes an impression when you see it.
Despite only showing the man’s eyes and nose, the designer manages to create a very emotive facial expression.
Lisa Brennan-Jobs – Small Fry
For Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter of Steve Jobs and his high school girlfriend, things didn’t always go smoothly.
Jobs wasn’t always around to care for her and this is reflected in the cover of the book, which shows a silhouette of Lisa, an often invisible child.
Her silhouette is composed of blossoming plant life, which is a reference to the field in which Lisa was born.
Karan Mahajan – The Association of Small Bombs
Vivid pops of colour are used to represent small bombs hidden between the letters of this book’s title.
All those involved in the fallout of an explosion are featured in this story, from the victims to the perpetrators.
The links between the bombs on the cover serve as a representation of the link between everyone affected by a bomb.
Herman Koch – The Dinner
The front of The Dinner is one of the many ideas on this list that perfectly captures the spirit of its story.
The cover image shows a burnt table cloth, symbolising the simmering tension between the two married couples in the story who sit down for dinner together.
We know from the outset that the dinner in question isn’t going to be straightforward and the cover helps to build anticipation for what’s to come.
Lisa Manterfield – The Smallest Thing
The cover of Lisa Manterfield’s The Smallest Thing features an extremely creative blend of a man wearing a gas mask and a forest.
Negative space is used to create the effect of the trees, and the birds flying away from them add a wonderful finish to the design.
Besides the book title and the author’s name, the rest of the cover is left blank, presumably so it wouldn’t take away from the image.
Anuk Arudpragasam – The Story of a Brief Marriage
A very simple cover adorns Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage, effortlessly breaking up the text in the design.
Not all good book covers have to be complex and the design of The Story of a Brief Marriage is proof of that.
The two strings can be interpreted as the two characters in the book who get married. The strings overlap briefly, but then go their separate ways once more.
Javier Marías – Thus Bad Begins
A dark and foreboding image of a young woman staring into the distance is the cover for Javier Marías’ Thus Bad Begins.
The image is surrounded by a white border that nicely frames it. Text is displayed at various intervals along this border and the choice of font fits well.
The black and white colour scheme is a suitable choice for a book that does not contain a great deal of joy.
Kim Hooper – Tiny
A vivid, beautifully-painted scene captures our attention instantly and draws us straight into Kim Hopper’s Tiny.
Broad brush strokes are used to paint the sky, giving it a warm and peaceful look. On the contrary, thin lines are used on the road to represent speed.
The bold white title text complements the design and serves to enhance its impact on the reader.
Thomas Clerc – Interior
Thomas Clerc’s Interior, which explores materialism, self-obsession and sociology, is just as impressive on its exterior.
A humanoid figure is creatively constructed from random objects that appear in Clerc’s urban Parisian dwelling.
In the book, all of the objects we see are scrutinised and their value is questioned. When combined to form a stick man, these objects are shown to be quite useless.
Anthony Burgess – A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess’ infamous A Clockwork Orange might already be well known, but this cover certainly helps it to attract even more attention.
The yellow text works well against a red background and the mesmeric eye of the illustrated character helps to draw you in.
When thinking of ideas for your book cover, it can be good practice to consider bright primary colours that stand out for your design.
Janna Levin – Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
The designer of the cover for Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space pulls off one of the most fitting cover ideas here.
Using the themes of sound and space, a design is created that appears as both a vinyl and outer space.
The orbit lines are similar to the lines and grooves present on a vinyl too. The moon can also be compared to the centre hole of the vinyl.
Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451
There is nothing preventing a cover idea from being interactive, as this iteration of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 proves.
While giving readers a match to light their book on fire with might not be the most conventional idea, it suits the story of this book down to the ground. After all, few people will actually light the book on fire!
Due to clever additions like this one, sales of a book can increase and more people might find out about it.
Ben Fama – Fantasy
The mysterious figure on the cover of Fantasy feeds into the general feeling of uncertainty in these poems, which question many elements of society.
Pink, blue and grey combine to create an interesting and understated colour scheme for the design.
The font is all caps, but small in size, allowing the image in the design to take centre stage.
Malka Ann Older – Infomocracy
Bright blue shapes and patterns make up a machine-like image on the cover of Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older.
Politics play a big role in the story and this machine of many parts is a good visual metaphor for the global micro democracy in the book.
The imagery on the cover, such as running men and warning signs, hints at the danger ahead.
Jon Jodzio – Knockout
This hastily drawn illustration of a tiger is related to one of the short stories in this book, which involves a recovering drug addict stealing a tiger.
If you think that’s a bizarre story, there’s are even more crazy tales inside this book. The haphazard nature of the drawing is a fitting reflection of the unhinged nature of this collection.
The text in the design adds to this look. It’s loosely handwritten in a font that appears like chalk.
Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita
This design for the cover of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita almost seems to have the appearance of a love letter.
The text is handwritten, as if by Nabokov himself, and this adds a personal touch to the cover.
Red lips in the centre of the page brings the design together and hints at the romance in the story.
Georges Didi-Huberman – O que nós vemos, O que nos olha (Imago)
Using geometric design for your books can help you create unique and interesting covers.
This can be seen on Georges Didi-Huberman’s O que nós vemos, O que nos olha (Imago), which emphasises its well put together geometric design with a striking yellow colour choice.
The text of the cover is displayed at an angle, allowing it to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the design.
Darby Larson – Ohey!
This book cover shouts out at you and lets you know it’s there. Ohey! uses extra large text to emphasise the book’s title.
The backdrop is a mess of long blonde hair that is likely a visualisation of the story’s female protagonist.
This is one of the covers in this list that really uses contrast to its advantage, creatively using black text over a lighter background.
David J. Peterson – The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building
Language expert David J. Peterson’s book on language creation has a cover that’s a perfect fit for the book’s content.
The phoneticization of the book’s title is represented on the cover in large, blue text. In between this, the title is written as normal.
Creating a design like this offers something that a reader can engage with straight away. For example, if we see a piece of text that is not instantly legible, we are inclined to try and decipher it.
Umberto Eco – The Name of the Rose
The cover of The Name of the Rose is simple and minimalist, but this makes for a very intriguing design.
We see a solitary bird beside a chair and we are inclined to wonder what is the significance of both. In the book’s title, the word ‘rose’ is crossed out, adding to the sense of mystery.
The colour combination works well here too. A soft blue colour that makes up most of the background is accompanied by a light grey border.
April Ayers Lawson – Virgin and Other Stories
This geometric composition is made up of triangles within squares that combine to form an unconventional collage.
The various shapes in the design may represent the individual stories in this book that come together to form the whole.
The stories in this book are different from each other, but they are also many similarities between them.
Hari Kunzru – White Tears
Large typography dominates the cover of White Tears by Harry Kunzru, resulting in an eye-catching design.
There are no images on the cover, so this allows the bold text to flourish. All of the letters are set at different heights, creating an irregular appearance.
In between the spaces of this text, the title is written in a smaller font alongside the author’s name.
Blanche Vaughan – Egg: The Very Best Recipes Inspired by the Simple Egg
If done right, covers that use minimalist design are often memorable creations that give a subtle hint about what the book is going to be about.
Here, there is nothing subtle. A book called Egg is given a cover that is a direct reference to its title. Despite the subject matter being a humble egg, the design is still very impressive.
There is a hole in the cover that allows the bright yellow of the inside page to appear as the yolk and illuminate the design.
Paul Roberts – The End of Food
Paul Roberts’ grim account of the huge problems facing the global food industry has a very apt cover; an empty food tray.
The label of the tray is cleverly used to display information about the book, such as the title, the author’s name and his previous work.
The fonts chosen in this design could actually be used on packaging like this, making it appear very realistic.
John Beckman – American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt
American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt takes a look at what fun means to Americans and how it has shaped their history.
The cover itself is in the realm of fun and takes inspiration from the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.
‘Fun’ is spray painted over the rest of the text, symbolising an unwillingness to conform and a desire for expression.
Chuck Klosterman – But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past
A cover where everything is turned upside down is a suitable visual metaphor for Chuck Klosterman’s But What If We’re Wrong?
Klosterman attempts to predict what future generations will think of the world we live in today. He questions whether things will be perceived completely different to how they are now.
The upside down text allows us to view things from a new perspective straight away. The black text and on a white background emphasises the message.
Adam Smith – The Wealth of Nations
The Wealth of Nations is a classic book that has had many covers, but this one in particular stands out from the crowd.
A scenic bird’s eye view overlooks an expansive valley covered in ploughed fields, as a flock of geese fly gracefully past.
Using negative space, a hand breaks through the composition and carries the name of the book and the author.
Jeff Ryan – Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America
The cover of Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America uses simple, pixelated typography alongside an image of Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario character set against a sky blue background.
For the numerous people who have played the Super Mario games, this cover image is instantly recognisable.
By using the familiar, the designer taps into a reader’s feeling of nostalgia, making them more likely to pick up the book.
Frank Rose – The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories
The cover for The Art of Immersion makes fantastic use of negative space, depicting a human head surrounded by black and white stripes moving outward in a wave-like motion.
The book documents how we have gone from merely consuming media to being the media. It explores how entertainment is quickly becoming a two-way street.
The waves almost seems as if they are an extension of the head’s consciousness. When taken in the context of the book, it could be seen as a visual representation of the amount of information we are now able to get our hands on and share with the world.
Matthew Desmond – Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Following the stories 8 families in some of the poorest areas of Milwaukee, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City puts a spotlight on the inequality in modern day America.
The idea behind the cover of this book is simple, but poignant. We see a wall that is left marked by picture frames that have been taken down after an eviction.
It makes us think of the memories a family have shared in that house and how an eviction can strip them of everything they hold dear.
Nacho Carretero – Fariña
Fariña tells the story of drug trafficking through Galicia in Northern Spain with accounts from drug lords, pilots, affected families, policemen and journalists.
The cover, an opened bale of cocaine, is a clever piece of design that’s highly relevant to the story. It wastes no time in getting right into what Fariña is about.
For a book like this, the designer would have known that he had to create an impactful cover that did justice to the stories inside.
Brian Phillips – Impossible Owls: Essays
This collection of essays from journalist Brian Phillips has a cover that instantly attracts your attention.
An image of a young queen is partially obscured by an image of an owl and a tiger. The tiger’s mouth replaces the woman’s and the owl makes up part of her head. Phillips’ attempts to find tigers in India is just one of the interesting stories recorded in this collection.
Cover ideas don’t have to be conventional. Here the designer takes inspiration from unique elements in the book and creates an unexpected design.
Dave Furman – Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials
The torn page on the cover of Kiss the Wave offers a suitable analogy for the ethos of the book, which says that we should work through pain and not merely seek instant relief from it.
The page might be torn, but they can still form a complete cover. It doesn’t need to be instantly fixed to form something of value.
The tears in the design also look like waves. The title refers to a quote from preacher Charlie Spurgeon, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”
Michael McAfee and Lauren Green McAfee – Not What You Think: Why the Bible Might Be Nothing We Expected Yet Everything We Need
Ripped paper features again in this design for the cover of Not What You Think. This time it’s used to highlight passages of the Bible that may be of use to modern society.
These paper clippings are placed over a light turquoise background. However, it’s hard to prevent the strong title text from dominating this cover.
It goes to show that when coming up with ideas, nothing is off limits; even if that means using cutouts from your own book!
Robert Moor – On Trails: An Exploration
After hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor started to think about the origin of all trails and what role they play in our lives. This question subsequently led him onto exploring even bigger questions about life.
The cover of his book reflects its focus on trails. A long, winding trail meanders down the book, making its way through different letters as it passes.
The gold font has a nice shine to it and stands out clearly against the black background. A silver border is used to frame the design.
Caitlin Doughty – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells the story of a girl who works in a crematorium and how her experiences there shape her attitude towards death.
The tray used to collect ashes from cremated body is used as the cover. It’s a stark image that may shock some, but it’s consistent with the ethos of the book. Sometimes your book cover ideas won’t appeal to everyone.
Text on the cover is displayed on labels that are placed in the ashes and the fonts used are suited to the design.
Jose Revueltas – The Hole
The cover design of The Hole cleverly makes use of its text to form something that represents the story. The ‘o’ in hole is enlarged so it actually looks like a hole.
The font is done in a simple, handwritten style and overall the design is minimalist in nature.
It might be one of the simplest covers on this list, but the design fulfills its purpose by cleverly hinting at what the book will be about.
Eli Horowitz – The Silent History
Alternative typography over a ringed background is used in this design for the cover of The Silent History by Eli Horowitz.
The book tells the story of children who have been born without the ability to speak and the struggles they go through.
Since the children can’t speak, they need to communicate in a different way. The fact that the font is very different is fitting in this regard. It represents the fact that there are alternative ways of communicating.
Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager – Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member
The fascinating story of the plot to kill Hitler is laid bare in Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager’s Valkyrie.
The image chosen perfectly captures the gravity of the mission. We see such a well known figure, Adolf Hitler, and a red dot over his head that indicates he is the target.
The red dot is emphasised by the fact that the rest of the cover is left black and white.
Naomi Guttman – Wet Apples, White Blood
A lone white droplet streaks down the plain red cover of Wet Apples, White Blood by Naomi Guttman.
The design is highly minimalist and very thought provoking, prompting the reader to open the book to find out what it is about.
Wet Apples, White Blood is a collection of poems that was inspired by the role which nursing has played in human evolution and culture.
Robert Seethaler – A Whole Life
A Whole Life is the fictional story of one man’s relationship with the mountain valley where he has spent his entire life.
The cover of the book illustrates this by depicting a solitary man walking through a valley of trees. It appears hand drawn, which would be in line with the humble motifs of this novel.
A large type size and a gold colour is used to make the text stand out, but this doesn’t detract from the illustration.
David Means – Assorted Fire Events
David Means’ collection of 13 short stories, Assorted Fire Events, has a cover that is very suited to the book.
13 matchsticks are arranged in a row, each one representing one of the short
stories in the book.
The book is about more than just fire events though. It offers a deep exploration of the fragility of all the things we cherish the most.
Jenny Offill – Dept. of Speculation
Great book covers can be cryptic too, as we can see from the cover of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation.
Making the entire design a puzzle causes a reader to wonder about what the book is going to be about.
One of the pieces of the puzzle is removed to display the title of the book, adding some asymmetry to the design.
Lee Tulloch – Fabulous Nobodies
Fabulous Nobodies features a silhouette of a girl on a red background. The book’s title is written endlessly on repeat within the silhouette.
We can imagine that the girl is fabulous, but because we can’t actually see her, she is a nobody to us.
A dog ear is added to the right top corner of the cover to encourage readers to turn the page and read the book.
Rivka Galchen – Little Labors
The colour scheme of the cover for Rivka Galchen’s Little Labors instantly make it stand out from the crowd.
Red, pink and yellow might not be the most natural color combination, but it works very well in this instance.
The design style is simple yet impactful. The text is created using an all-caps, sans serif font and the background has no images.
Merritt Tierce – Love Me Back
The dull, unlit neon lights that form the text on the cover of Merritt Tierce’s Love Me Back can be viewed as a visual metaphor for the unfulfilling nature of the main character’s life.
Marie is a young waitress on a downward spiral, who loses who she is in a world where she must be a false version of herself.
Like the neon lights on the cover, there is no brightness to be found for Marie. Only a descent towards self destruction.
Ben Marcus – Notes from the Fog: Stories
This instantly memorable book cover shows a man with his face firmly placed against a pane of glass.
It’s a strange, unexpected image that fits well with the collection of weird stories that await a reader of this book.
*The text in the design is mirrored, making it appear as if it is facing towards the man instead of the reader.
Allison Britz – Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD
As this cover shows, the constant buzzing of bees can be compared to the incessant struggle of a mind dealing with OCD.
The hand drawn illustration represents how the normal life of the young teenager in this book has been turned upside down by the disorder.
The word obsessed is written in a clear, bold font that emphasises the powerful grip OCD has on Allison.
Rebecca Schiff – The Bed Moved
The bright pink letters on the cover of The Bed Moved are randomly displaced as if a bed has actually been moved.
Despite the fact that the letters are askew, the text is easy to read and the overall design ends up standing out more.
Pink and black is always a great color combination and the designer uses it effectively in this cover.
F.Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
Some book covers consist of very thoughtful visuals, and this cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic has it all.
Negative space is used to create what would be Jay Gatsby’s chair and a cocktail glass doubles up as the ‘y’ in Gatsby.
Black and yellow is known to be one of the most eye-catching color combinations and it lives up to its reputation on this cover.
Elif Batuman – The Idiot
A stone might typically be quite an uninteresting object, but on the cover of The Idiot, it is the central element of the design.
It’s a curious choice, but it manages to work. The pink background adds energy to the cover and contrasts with the grey of the stone.
The font that has been chosen for this cover is a formal serif font that adds structure to the design.
Upton Sinclair – The Jungle
The darkened silhouette of man is filled here by a city skyline at night to create an enigmatic design.
Bright red typography is used to add a sense of danger and that pervades this book from beginning to end.
First published in 1905, Upton Sinclair’s classic novel The Jungle tells the story of a Lithuanian immigrant trying to survive in a chaotic Chicago.
Brit Bennett – The Mother
Brit Bennett’s The Mothers might have an uplifting cover, but the story inside deals with issues such as abortion, suicide and abandonment.
The cover design has a plethora of bright colours, combining blues, greens and oranges to great effect.
Book cover ideas don’t always correspond to the story. In this case, the design of The Mothers stands out in its own right.
Jess Row – Your Face in Mine
Varying shapes merge together to form an intriguing origami-style design on the cover of Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine.
It looks as if we are viewing the cover from above and there is a gap opening to reveal the author’s name.
The colour tones are desaturated and make the cover look as if it was designed many years ago.
Semih Çalışkan – Bir Bar Filozofu
The cover of Bir Bar Filozofu is thoroughly inventive in its design. It uses close ups of two faces to create the appearance of a gorge.
In between the kissing heads stands a man gazing upwards, who seems to be observing the scene.
The effect of this cover is enhanced by the fact that the image appears as if it is real.
Mike Roberts – Cannibals in Love
Two hands interlock, forming a small line that snakes its way down through the cover of Cannibals in Love.
In an unusual typographical technique, the skin on each person’s hand is partially used to create the letters on the cover.
This is ultimately a very engaging design that is aided by its eye-catching title, which prompts a reader to wonder what the book might be about.
Aziz Ansari – Modern Romance
Modern love is often quick, insincere and corrupted by technology, which makes the cover of Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance an apt symbol for it.
We see a see a man in a suit with hearts in his eyes holding a phone, but with a disappointed look on his face.
Ansari himself is the man on the cover, and as a comic, he may not be trying to convey a profound message here. However, book cover ideas can be interpreted in many different ways.
Keith Ridgway – Never Love a Gambler
Negative space is used on the cover of Never Love a Gambler to create the appearance of two dice.
There is a really nice structure to this cover. The text and imagery are well balanced and effortlessly complement each other.
Minimalist book cover ideas like this are intriguing enough to catch the eye of a reader without being intrusive.
Susan Briscoe – The Crow’s Vow
An image of an actual crow is used here to replace the word crow on Susan Briscoe’s The Crow’s Vow.
It’s an innovative piece of design that draws the eye to the book. The black crow stands out well against the soft pink background.
The text that the designer has chosen is clean and crisp, subtly complementing the rest of the cover.
Stuart Dybek – The Start of Something: The Selected Stories of Stuart Dybek
Stuart Dybek, a master of the short story, gets a cover worthy his talent with this unique design.
Like a chef showing all the ingredients that went into his recipe, Dybek shows all the worn down pencils that have been used to write his book.
The pencils are carefully arranged in a way that allows the title of the book to be written down along them.
Eric G. Wilson – Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy
A bright yellow cover might seem to betray a title like Against Happiness, but upon closer inspection we can see that is not the case.
The curvature of the text can be viewed as a downturned mouth and makes the cover appear like a sad face.
It’s an easily noticeable cover that is bound to stand out from the crowd on any bookshelf that it finds itself on.
Toni Morrison – Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word
‘Burn This Book’ is certainly an unusual message to read when you pick up a new book at a bookstore.
However, for a collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship, it is a suitably ironic cover.
The black and white colour scheme helps to accentuate the text and no imagery is needed to convey such a stark message.
Steve Parker – Evolution: The Whole Story (Spanish Edition)
A chimpanzee looks out from the cover of Evolution with a meaningful expression on his face.
It’s a suitable design for such a book, after all, it’s a widely held belief that all human beings have evolved from apes.
The best book cover ideas can often consist of a single, powerful image that offers a good representation of what the book will be about.
A.Zee – On Gravity: A Brief Tour of a Weighty Subject
On Gravity does to the letters of its cover what gravity does to everything, it mercilessly drags them down.
Luckily, the jumbled layout of these letters is the perfect design for this superb science book.
The background is left completely white, but the text is a bold, black font. This creates a strong contrast that makes the cover even more noticeable.
Jack C. McCormac – Structural Analysis
Here we see a brilliant piece of geometric design being used on the cover of Jack C. McCormac’s Structural Analysis.
We see a simplified structure, composed of thick black lines, absorbing the weight of a red ball. It’s an uncomplicated design and a fantastic way to show the idea behind the book.
The colour scheme works very well too, with the red ball standing out against the black and white.
William Carlos Williams – The Doctor Stories
A cellular structure or a blob of paint? The cover of William Carlos Williams’ The Doctor Stories is open for interpretation.
Either of those options would be suitable for someone like Williams, who was both an esteemed doctor and writer.
The text in the design changes colour as the colour of the background changes, creating an interesting aesthetic.
James Gleick – The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
Information is the name of this book and the cover lives up to its name by providing us with lots of it.
This intriguing design technique repeats the title of the book over and over again until it fills the entire cover.
Some of the text is highlighted in red, and this is intended to be read, but the rest of the text can be viewed as a background.
George Orwell – 1984
Such an iconic book deserves an iconic cover. Luckily, that’s exactly what George Orwell’s 1984 gets.
Book cover ideas that can say so much using so little are very rare, but this cover manages to convey a great deal about what this story is all about.
The apostrophes in the design serve two purposes: they represent the all-seeing eye of the omnipresent Big Brother and one of them is used to create the 9 in 1984.
Lili Wright – Dancing with the Tiger
Dancing tigers are vividly illustrated in this energetic design. The tigers appear poised, as if they are ready to attack.
In the book, no character can be trusted, and the cover reflects this. Some of the tigers carry weapons, highlighting their devious intentions.
The foliage in the design provides another layer for these scheming tigers to hide behind and further cloaks their motivations in mystery.
Timur Vermes – Look Who’s Back
A simple combover and a moustache are all we need to recognise one of the most despicable figures in human history.
There isn’t a lot of detail in the design on this cover, but what is there is used to cleverly create an image of Adolf Hitler.
The title of the book doubles as Hitler’s moustache and the empty space leaves us to come to our own conclusions about where the rest of his face would be.
Carl Jung – Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Carl Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul has an expansive cover that fits with such a lofty title.
Multiple circles make up a design that seems to be constantly in motion. These circles have a hand drawn look.
The circles could be interpreted as the trajectory of a planet’s orbit or as lines on a mathematical graph.
Kevin Brockmeier – The Brief History of the Dead
Pale hands pull a trench coat open, but there’s nobody inside it, symbolising that this person has passed away.
The greyscale colouration emphasises the themes of the book, which is a novel that looks at life, death and everything in between.
The book’s title is displayed inside the coat and is highlighted by a large white capitalised font.
Jonas Karlsson – The Room
Book cover ideas that show typography interacting with real world objects are usually very well thought out designs.
A man walks through the ‘o’ in room as if it was a doorway to an actual room. In the novel, the main character claims to have discovered a secret room in the office he works in.
The typography dominates most of the cover and is subtly shaded, giving it a 3D appearance.
Steven Millhauser – Voices in the Night
The designer of the cover of Voices in the Night added a unique rippling effect which gives the cover an enigmatic appearance.
The ripples contrast with the straight lines in the design. The straight lines can be interpreted as logical and rational thought, and the ripples can be seen as the forces in the book that constantly threaten to overwhelm them.
The cover of the book almost looks as if it is a page being turned, which encourages the action of opening the book and finding out what lies within.
Sofi Oksanen – When the Doves Disappeared
A silhouette of a dove ties this design together. It helps to seamlessly merge both of the photos on the cover.
One photo is taken in an older sepia style, but the photo in the background appears to be more recent.
The combination of the two men facing opposite directions creates a unique, eye-catching appearance.
Penguin Books – Travel Guides
In this collection of travel guides, some of the classic icons of each city are displayed on their covers.
The letters in each design are brilliantly used to create the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower and a London bus.
It’s a clever way to show imagery from the chosen cities while keeping the design completely minimalist.
Now that you’ve taken a look at all of the cover ideas on our list, it’s time to start coming up with your own ideas. All of these designs use a variety of impressive design techniques that you can take into your own work. Once you’ve chosen your source of inspiration, you can start creating your own designs.
Share your thoughts on these book cover ideas by tweeting @getdesignwizard. Let us know which ones are your favourites or tell us about any great covers that we haven’t included on the list.
Michael Cole is a content writer at Design Wizard. He has completed a BA in English and History and an MA in Journalism, and is hopefully finished with college at this stage! Michael has extensive experience writing for both print and web and can turn his hand to any subject. From wedding dresses to football matches, Michael has written about it all. One day he hopes to write his own novel and hopes even more that people will actually read it.