Designing a book cover is similar to designing an album cover or the artwork for a film poster. The designer must convey a feeling, atmosphere or genre which can set the scene and begin to tell the story. The challenge can be daunting, with a host of approaches to choose from, but the process also offers a huge amount of creative freedom. The skill and talent that goes into creating book artwork is often under-appreciated but, in an age of e-readers, there’s little doubt that book covers still help to contribute to the ongoing sales of printed copies.
The Publishing Association reported that in 2016 eBook sales fell by 17%, and good ol’ paper books saw an 8% increase in sales. Furthermore, just last year Nielsen BookScan statistics showed a 2.1% growth of the UK book market (an increase of £34m in sales). These figures show us that the printed book industry is seeing a resurgence and that the book worm is still very much alive.
A not-so-secret pleasure for book fiends is the look, smell and feel of a new one. We might be a little biased but scrolling through an eBook app doesn’t hold the same meaning as travelling to a favourite bookshop and seeking out an eye-catching novel. Books and bookshops still continue to hold a special place in the hearts of many readers, printers and designers alike.
With the recent resurgence of books, publishers are always looking for newer, bolder and more unique ideas in which to grab the curiosity of potential readers. Here we look at just a few of the latest printed book cover designs:
One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead
This recent re-cover of Rebecca Mead’s 2007 insight into the wedding industry is a juxtaposition which married people should find relatable. A simple, traditional cover with a grave reminder of the colossal cost in the form of a receipt, stapled in full view. It’s creative, effective and modern; it could easily be re-imagined as a film poster.
Point of Control by Drake Green
A 2017 action thriller, the ominous cover for Point of Control is beautifully designed, evoking a sense of trouble through its typography and use of colour. The contrast of dark, slum-like buildings in the foreground against the brighter, towering skyscrapers in the background, helps imply a tense and conflicting narrative and will certainly catch the eye of browsers who are looking for good reads in this genre.
Take a look at the moody cover here for some inspiration.
Insanity by Andre Gonzalez
In a very cinematographic way, the cover for Insanity has an eerie design, almost as if it’s moving. It takes a few seconds to register the hooded figure behind the text and the impactful print creates as many questions as any horror movie teaser trailer ever could.
These examples, along with the tremendous variety of others available, show the power of great design and how it can play its part in the marketing and storytelling of a book.
When interacting with a book for the first time, a potential reader must be curious enough to pick it up to read the blurb – this is often heavily informed by the design of the cover.
Books are beautiful, simplistic, traditional and have kept us company for thousands of years. Designing book covers is an art form that should not be overlooked. Sometimes, heading to a local bookshop and browsing the exciting array of design, colour and typography on offer can provide a designer with as much inspiration as any art gallery.