Top Trends in Book Cover Design Forecast for 2018

By Lindsey Vontz, 99designs

Grabbing a reader’s attention isn’t easy when there are hundreds of books on the shelf. But one way to make a book stand out? A great cover.

A great book cover should feel current, on-trend, and push the envelope. But what does that mean in 2018? What are the hot, exciting trends we can expect in the new year? With the help of one of 99designs’ top book cover designers, Meg Reid, we’ve identified the following trends we believe will dominate the bookshelves (both in store and online) in the upcoming year:

Keeping it bold...

Bold typography - the kind that jumps off the shelf and grabs the reader by the collar - has been a steadily rising trend over the past few years, and it looks like that trend is going to continue into 2018. With the bold typography trend, the majority of the cover is dominated by the title text, drawing in your attention and making a serious statement.

This design trend has been a heavy favorite with well-known authors and indie publishers alike, but 2018 will see the trend evolving in some new and interesting ways.

Instead of clean, straightforward typography, you can expect to see more organic elements (like the brushstroke effect of Mohsin Amid’s Exit West or the letter drips on White Tears by Hari Kunzru) and more use of pattern, image, and color laid over the bold text to add visual interest (like Katie Kitamura’s A Separation).

… And keeping it simple

On the flip side of the coin, when it comes to book cover trends in 2018, sometimes less is more. More and more book designers are embracing a minimalistic style, and instead of overwhelming the cover with text, color, and images, they’re choosing one design element as a focal point and giving it the space to shine.

On the cover of Fat, the designer uses white space to bring attention to the graphic typography. For In The Eyes Of Grace’s cover, the single graphic element becomes the focal point, creating a simple, elegant design. And Imagine Me Gone’s purposefully removed title letters draw the reader’s attention and curiosity.

Hand-drawn covers

Hand-drawn covers have exploded in popularity in the past few years, with every genre from children’s literature to crime novels to chick lit to whodunit mysteries embracing the trend. And the hand-drawn style looks like it’s going to continue to dominate book covers in 2018.

Until now, the hand-drawn trend has heavily embraced more feminine elements, particularly floral. And while that will still continue to some extent, 2018 will see more books by and for men - and, in turn, a more masculine feel to hand-drawn covers. The covers of books like Tools of the Titans and Lincoln in the Bardo are great examples of more masculine fonts and elements in the hand-drawn space.

Throwback styles

There’s nothing more on-trend right now than nostalgia. 70’s and 80’s styles have come back with a vengeance in fashion, music, television, and film - and book cover design is no different. Expect to see plenty of throwback styles plastered across book covers in 2018.

Fun 70’s typography, like the fonts used on the covers of Goodbye Vitamin and Sex and Rage, look like they could’ve been plucked off a bookshelf from 1975 (in a room complete with a shag carpet, of course), and the neon colors splashed across the cover of Lovers and Neighbors reminds us that our love for scrunchies, new wave, and all things 80s is alive and well.

People love reliving their glory days, and this nostalgic trend is sure to appeal to readers looking to step back in time and revisit their favorite decades.

All things pink

Pink is going to be huge this year. And not just any pink - millennial pink.

Millennial pink is the blanket term for muted pinks in the greyed rose/dusty quartz family, and if you’ve even briefly walked into a bookstore or done a quick search on Amazon in the past year, you’ve definitely seen it. It has been dominated book covers - especially those geared towards women - and this color family doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere for awhile.

Millennial pinks are great because they appeal to a wide audience; they’re more mature than bubblegum pink but more youthful than straight up neutrals and their pleasant, upbeat attitude has made them a heavy favorite of authors and designers alike.

To keep them from being too sticky sweet (like the rosé all the kids seem to be drinking these days), expect millennial pink covers to be balanced out with rough or simple elements, like handwritten fonts or simple graphics.

Collage it up

Another interesting trend you can expect to see in 2018 is collage. Collage-inspired covers, whether they’re created digitally or the old-fashioned way, are extremely versatile; they work for all genres and can convey multiple ideas or themes. They mix of color, texture, and shape can also be hugely attention grabbing, making them jump off the shelf.

Photo-heavy covers

Photography has always been a trend in book covers, but in 2018, the trend is going to move more toward unique, one-of-a-kind imagery.

In the past, book cover designers were limited in their photo options. Stock images were too generic and custom images too expenses. But thanks to smartphone cameras, high-quality images are easier to capture and more accessible to designers, opening up a huge realm of possibilities for using photography on cover design.

2018 is shaping up to be a visually exciting year in the world of book cover design. And these trends are leading the way. So look for them soon - coming to a bookshelf near you.

1 Comment on Top Trends in Book Cover Design Forecast for 2018

  1. They’re all good designs, but I do wis more designers would worry about readability.

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