Fiction Book Cover Design: The Definitive Guide

Fiction Book Cover Design: The Definitive Guide

It’s great when a book is not only a captivating read but also an eye-grabbing beauty that people want to put on a shelf to enjoy the view every day. 

Creating such a fiction book cover design requires some serious planning and masterful execution. Fortunately, there is not any secret knowledge you need to possess to come up with trendy book visuals that sell.


In this article, we’ll be sharing with you the essentials of creating an alluring fiction book cover. Read along for insights about typography, color palette, imagery for each genre, and examples from our experience.

Fiction book cover design tips

Custom book cover design for fiction books is where your can let you imagination go places and 

  • Experiment with images and fonts 
  • Test various imagery and typography layouts 
  • Convey the concept of your writing with pictures, illustrations, and signs 

However, there are some general guidelines you better follow to ensure a neat and professional-looking final result.  

Fiction book cover typography

The primary rule of typography is to make it suitable for the overall design of your book cover. 

Above that if you want your typography to look consistent, here are some general tips you should know:

Try not to use more than two different typefaces

If you’re a novice in book cover design, it’s better to use one of the Sans Serif family fonts. You can also try to combine different fonts but that’s thin ice. Tread it carefully to ensure that your book cover will not look cluttered. Use this tool to check out if the fonts combine well together.

Avoid distracting your reader from the title

Choose a smaller size for the subtitle. It may be placed above or beneath the book’s name. Placing it between the lines is also an advantageous option, especially when it serves as a supplementary element of design

Choose the size of the font for the author’s name

Unless you are a popular author, your name on a book cover should not be bigger than a title.

Align the text against the same margin   

You can place the title, subtitle, and author’s name in the left, right, or central part of the page. Yet, the central layout is the most optimal solution. 

Select the winning color scheme

Try to achieve a pleasant contrast with your color selection. For example, you can use three different colors to make the title, subtitle, and author’s names look different. However, be cautious with colors as they are a powerful yet finesse-oriented tool. 

Experiment to trick your reader   

Try to use an unexpected color palette for your book cover design. For example, yellow is associated with energy and optimism. However, using it for the title in a thriller or crime may bring about other feelings and emotions. It throws you off the scent

Fiction book cover imagery

Choosing imagery for your professional book cover design can be a real struggle. The process includes such all-time classic questions as 

  • What art/photo is better to choose?
  • How to combine images and graphics? 
  • Which approach works for the genre?
  • And dozens of other mind-numbing doubts 

We feel you. 

Check out these ideas and tips on book cover design for different genres to know better when and how they work the best.

A background scene with a foreground character

A character and a background should be simple enough without unnecessary details and appeal to the target audience. Also, such book covers often hint at the plot. 

Character in the top and a background scene in the bottom

This is a great way of creating visual metaphors between characters and environments. It works equally well for widely different genres and moods.

Scene with a small character 

The design of the book cover with a small character focuses on the significance of the moment rather than a character. 

It reflects a symbolic representation of described events and their powerful influence on the heroes. 

Focus on the character’s face 

A trend popular during the years — a big face that peers right into your soul. It has its unique charm and can easily attract attention as people are “programmed” to look for faces. 

A face-focal idea perfectly fits different genres because the details of one’s face may show additional emotions and enhance readers’ interest. 


Minimalism is always a great choice regardless of the genre. Minimalist book cover design features a single graphic element, plain color scheme, and ascetic typography

Floral Motif

The floral motif is a leading trend in a book cover design in 2019. The multicolored palette of flowers makes the book cover vivid and sophisticated. And I can imagine your skeptical countenance if you write thrillers or crimes. Yes, this kind of design also fits these genres. Floral motifs intrigue and attract readers quite well. 

Focus on typography 

Typography can play into the book concept really well and attract the audience’s attention. Simplicity, readability, and clarity are key factors. You can also use some background images to support the genre and enhance the mood.

So, those were some prevalent approaches to crafting a memorable book design. 

It’s time to dive into the secrets of covers for fantasy, romance, crime/mystery, and thriller.

Mind these tips when you choose a book cover design company and feel free to provide the designer with your ideas.

Fantasy book cover design tips

A proper fantasy book cover gives a promise of exhilarating adventure and intrigues the reader to open the book. 

Wander how to reach that?

Here are the tips on how to choose the fonts, images, colors, and layouts for your book cover design.


Each font has its unique vibe, so it can amplify whatever mood you want your cover to communicate. 

The most basic example: bold fonts are good for implying power and strength, while round fonts — for softness and comfort.  

Typography helps you communicate with your reader, so don’t miss this chance.

There are plenty of fonts that work for the genre. However, the following fonts for fantasy book cover design are faultless:

  • Serif, 
  • Gothic, 
  • Baskerville, 
  • Apple Garamond, 
  • Trajan Pro,
  • Cinzel
  • Optimus Princeps
  • Oranienbaum

The options presented above are basic for fantasy. They look organically and reflect the mood of the genre. Though you still are free to use other fonts. 

Font color and size

The choice of the font colors depends on the palette and hues used in the book cover design. They may be either of the same spectra or contrasting. If in doubt, you can always use white. It is an option that matches any color of the cover design. 

You can mix the upper and lower case letters or use capitalization for the entire title. Nick Kolenda in his useful guide on font psychology reveals the following insights: 

  • Mixed case letters are the most readable;
  • Letters in bold show power;
  • Slanted letters convey a sense of movement; 
  • Straight letters refer to stability. 

Mix them to get the best title for your writing. Read here for more detailed information on fantasy book cover fonts. 

Color palette

Fantasy book covers usually have vivid colors. Neutral black can be combined with bold red, green, purple, and others.

Choosing a single pure color as a core element and then working around with the variation of its shades and tints is also a great option. 

In addition, consider the language of color to highlight the focal message of a fantasy book cover:

  • Purple is good to demonstrate mystery, 
  • Golden – royalty, 
  • Red – anger or danger, 
  • Green – renewal and balance.

If it comes to combining several colors, consider the following advice:

  • Try a gradient to make a book cover catchy; 
  • Use a color wheel to find matching colors that work together well;
  • Contrast black against one of the basic colors (red, blue, purple, orange, yellow, green);


How to come up with imagery for the fantasy book cover?

Here are some variants: 

  • Focus on the main character’s quirk, special power, or supernatural ability.
  • If your book relies on some magic system, try to visualize it on a cover.
  • Emphasize the supernatural element to hint at some extraordinary events in the book. 

Romance book cover design tips


Romance is about the relationship, tension, emotion, passion, and what all these things do to a person. And the typography on romance book covers should send appropriate vibes. For example, fonts with flourishes or handwriting style guarantee a romantic mood.  

Some of the most suitable fonts for romance book cover design include

Or if you strive for a modern look, try these:

Also, keep in mind the time period described in the novel. For instance, you can apply script-based fonts for modern times and edgy fonts for 17-18th centuries.

Following font psychology tips, it’s also a good practice to use light and rounded fonts. They endue your title with beauty, comfort, softness, and femininity. 

Font color and size 

You can select the font color depending on the emotions your book evokes. Gentleness and sensitivity require a specific palette. 

For example, you can also use the following tints that convey light and peaceful emotions.


As for the size of the font, the upper case is common for romance book covers, but its combination with a lower case is suitable too. 

Color palette

Considering that 84% of the romance audience is women, it is beneficial to know the colors women love most. For example, a lot of women prefer blue and purple while brown, grey, and yellow get the L. 

However, all in all, women and men have very similar tastes in colors, except for purple, which men seem to like less more than women. Poor purple doesn’t deserve such bad treatment from men. 

Another important part is knowing common color associations. For example: 

Red is often associated with passion, and pink commonly stands for gentleness and sweetness. 

Turquoise and purple can be perceived as energetic.

Deep, bright colors are preferably used in erotic romance novels. 


Romance is about people and their emotional connection, so you won’t miss by making it a focus of your book cover. 

There may be different ways to demonstrate it:

  • Some tasteful nudity can go a long way in implying romance. 
  • A couple of lovers in a passionate embrace is an old-as-time yet still effective imagery
  • Focus on a single body part, for example, hands or faces, can communicate intimacy and tenderness quite well. 

However, minimalistic covers with inanimate objects work too. They can intrigue and provoke readers without a direct appeal to the physical display of affection or beauty of the human body. 

Also, the background image should fit the setting of the novel to help the audience to get into the vibe of the story. If writing tells a maritime love story, it is not the best option to depict gardens and castles. 

Crime and mystery book cover design tips

Crime and mystery book cover should thread the line between hinting at the trilling story and avoiding any spoilers. How can you do so?


In crime and mystery book cover design, titles can help build the tension and set the mood. The following fonts can help you achieve the desired result: 

Color palette

A dark color scheme with stark contrasts is popular for crime and mystery book covers. For example, dark hues combined with green, red, blue, or yellow are common choices.

In particular, blue refers to mental engagement; red shows aggression, angst, and anxiety; black signifies death; green is associated with the supernatural. White and grey are used rarely but they may evoke a sense of mystery.  

On the contrary, using soft, tender hues can be a nice way of creative a feeling of dissonance and tension as well as grabbing attention.


The crime and mystery book covers don’t focus on images much to inspire a sense of mystery. The genre often uses photos of locations or abstract, vague imagery to evoke a certain feeling without telling much about its characters or world.  

Blurred and faded background adds some extra mystery to the book cover desgin. Another trend is vanishing characters, which also imply danger or suspense. 

Thriller book cover design tips

Thriller book cover design has a lot in common with crime and mystery books. 

The key purpose is to arouse curiosity without revealing major plot points. 


The titles of thriller book covers are printed predominantly in capitals. The fonts are bold and clear. 

The typography should be clean and simple without extra elements. You can apply texture and gradients to letters to enhance the tension or mystery and reinforce the mood. 

The same fonts that work for the mystery genre work for thrillers as well. 

Color palette

The predominant color style for the thriller consists of dark tones with harsh contrasts. Navy blue or black serves perfectly for the design of the background, prompting suspense, and mystery. 

The elements in the foreground may be depicted in red to boost tension and create the desired contrast. 

Orange and yellow, which often symbolize optimism, confidence, ambition, and creativity, can be used as well to achieve the desired focus. 

You can also use light blue or pale green to double down on the mystery vibes. 


The book cover for the thriller often uses perspective to reinforce the feeling of danger or confusion. 

Also, characters can be depicted moving toward a reader or away from them. Overall, feel free to use any methods that create a tense atmosphere that is full of action and danger. 


Those were some basic ideas to keep in mind when approaching fiction book cover design. 

Here are the main takeaways: 

  • Balance typography, imagery, and color scheme;
  • Consider the specifics of fantasy, romance, mystery, and thriller; 
  • Try to use two fonts from different categories. A single font can look boring, while three — too busy; 
  • Match the font and its color to amplify the message of the cover;
  • Use imagery to convey emotions

Consider these guidelines but don’t be afraid to experiment. Try out different things and see what works for your book and always remember to keep your target audience in mind.  

We hope that this guide will help you to come up with various ideas. If you have any questions or need advice, we’re ready to help!

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Jessica Stone
2 years ago

daym thank u

Jessica Stone
2 years ago

Can you recommend free but good stocks sites like deviantart

2 years ago

It’s too bad that you all don’t advertise doing Christian book covers. That’s a huge market.

I prefer to work with Christian artists.

You certainly seem talented!

2 years ago

I guess this will fit in my book cover design for my next thriller mystery book. Loved the way you think. Genius!