All the genres are divided into fiction and nonfiction. Each of the genre directions has their specific features in the content as well as in the cover art. In this article, I will tell you what the difference between the fiction book cover design and nonfiction book cover design is. Of course, these are not the rules how the covers should look like, but the general tendencies in the design.
Let’s compare the fiction and nonfiction book covers up to three criteria:
It is better to use blocky fonts for nonfiction book cover design. The best solution is to use one of sans-serif family fonts. The font should be minimalistic and flat. Of course, there are cases when one may need to use handwritten fonts like for example for biographies. But alongside with the handwritten font for the title, you should use a blocky one for the author name or the subtitle. In this way, you can save a balance in the cover look.
Unlike nonfiction book cover designs, to fiction covers can be applied a wider range of fonts. There is no need to remind that fiction genres are very different from each other and the font which is suitable for horror book cover is not good for romance one. But, in general, for the fiction book cover design we can use more textures, add the glowing to the letters and other decorative elements.
A picture on the nonfiction book cover should be simple which directly shows what the book about is. Even if there is a combination of a few images, they should be integrated with each other as a simple image which reflects the theme of the book. If you are going to publish a book about time management, the picture should show how a person looks at the clock or how he creates his calendar plan.
The fiction book cover design shows the central theme of the book indirectly, through symbols and hints. A lot of authors want to show the main characters on the cover. Sometimes such cover shows too directly what is the book about and what the reader will find out at the end.
The best decision is to show only some element from the novel which is critical for the whole story. For example, if one sees the watch on the cover, he can imagine that the book will tell about some events where time will be very important to the heroes or that it is a staff which belongs to the main character. But in this way, the reader will never guess what is the story about for sure.
As for the style of each of the covers, it depends on the exact genre of each book. But in general, for fiction book covers more different effects are used. For example for romance covers, we may use a lot of glowing effects, for urban fantasy covers we often show swirls of magic, etc.
The style of the fonts on fiction book covers is different as well. Designers more often use different textures for fonts. For example, the texture of fire, gold or ice. It gives a special feeling to the cover and shows us the atmosphere of the novel. The most of the readers’ attention is attracted by the picture. Titles are mostly short but big, which allows using different structures but still make the title readable.
For nonfiction covers, designers use a few effects. Mostly such covers are simple and clean. The nonfiction book covers mostly have long subtitles, and that is why the background should be plain so the reader can easily get the words. The graphic elements should be minimalized as the main emphasis is on the text.
Sure there are covers which totally break these tendencies and look absolutely awesome, but if you decide to create the cover for your own book, it’s better to stick to general design rules. Also, hope that you will get some inspiration from covers created by MiblArt as well.