Whether you’re hiring a professional or using a free book cover maker, design is important.
If you’re trying to come up with a design, it can be helpful to take some direction from the experts. Looking at amazing covers can give you inspiration for your own.
Here are 15 of the best book cover designs to get you started.
A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange has been inspiring writers since it came out, but it has been inspiring designers, too.
The bold primary colors give the cover a simple, timeless look. But the illustration with its one cog-like eye turns what could be childish into something sinister.
The eye perfectly captures the theme of clockwork while alluding to the main character’s use of mascara.
This classic novel has had many covers over the years, but none capture the spirit of it quite as well as this one.
The old-fashioned typography and coloring immediately places the reader’s mind in the proper era.
The eye at the bottom gives you a sense of feeling watched, perfectly capturing the “big brother” theme of the book.
Not all book covers have to be complex. Against Happiness features simple, small curved text.
But the yellow backdrop immediately calls to mind the classic “smiley face,” which turns the curving text into a frown.
This simple design perfectly evokes a feeling of being unhappy without going overboard. It’s subtle and bright at the same time, making it very innovative.
The Bell Jar
This is another classic book with too many covers to count. But there’s something incredibly evocative about this particular one.
The circles give off a feeling of hypnotic hopelessness, of being trapped. You feel like if you stare at it too long, you’ll sink right in.
This perfectly captures the narrator’s feeling of despair and hopelessness. It captures her slow, spiraling descent.
The very simplicity of this cover is what makes it so brilliant.
On the surface, it seems like an innocent enough picture of two people walking. But as you look at it, the silhouettes of the dead trees hint at something much more sinister.
This perfectly captures the feeling and themes of the book without being overly morbid.
Procession of the Dead
Horror covers are difficult to pull off. You want them to be sinister without being off-putting. There’s a careful balance you need to achieve.
Procession of the Dead pulls this off perfectly. Making the title out of the shadows of cut-out letters is a particularly nice touch.
This cover evokes a feeling of dread like something is lurking in the shadows.
Everyone has probably seen this iconic cover at one time or another.
But the image of a man made of burning books is one that immediately gives the reader a feel for the story.
It also adds an extra layer of meaning that the book dances around but does not say — the idea that by destroying books, we are destroying ourselves.
Lord of the Flies
This kind of cover won’t work for everyone — it’s a bit hard to read, so for books less iconic than this one, the typography would not work.
But the way that this cover invokes a Rorschach ink blot test immediately gives the reader a sense of psychology.
It plays into the themes of death and human nature perfectly.
Everything Leads to You
We love how this book cover takes the title literally. The text slants towards the figure in the center of the cover — leading to her.
This gorgeous design matches the feel of the book’s title perfectly without being over the top or obvious about it.
The typography also gives off a feminine feel without being incredibly traditional about it. It’s a great example of modern book covers.
Little Red Riding Hood
We love the beauty of this book cover. The way that the figure’s red cape makes up part of the “R” makes it instantly iconic.
Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood, so just seeing that R would be enough to tell you what that book is about. It’s a beautiful design.
The Wealth of Nations
This beautiful cover takes a different approach than most covers for this book.
While most invoke an old-fashioned feel, this one makes the story feel timeless with a simple, line-art based design.
The white cut out of the hand and the birds effortlessly conveys a sense of authority, and the simple font of the title allows the design to take center stage.
This is a design that says a lot with just a little.
The way that the simple “trail” goes through the “o”s in the title and author’s name invokes the feeling of a journey. You get the sense that you’ll be “passing through” various experiences.
The shining gold text also lends this book a bit of adventure that simple black and white would not.
The Stargazer’s Sister
This image of the woman getting overwhelmed by the star design says a number of things.
We get the sense of female empowerment by having the woman looking straight at the camera, giving her a sense of fearlessness.
Even with such a slight view of her face, we know immediately that this is a period novel.
The Lesser Bohemians
This book cover was named as Buzzfeed’s most beautiful cover of 2016, and it’s easy to see why.
The innovative way that the text cuts into the image are immediately striking and eye catching.
The simple font works in its favor, letting the unique design of the image cut into strips take the main focus while still being legible.
Good on Paper
This design is perfect — giving the effect of lined paper but with the lines, all jumbled, subverting the idea of order and clear-cut solutions.
Everything from the coloring to the font was clearly chosen with a lot of care. Having the text hanging off of the skewed lines gives the feeling that everything is hanging by a thread, ready to fall.