The Four Types of Book Covers

So recently I have been thinking once again about book covers; especially as I have been working on the one for The Men She Loved.

My research has led me to the realization that there are four types of book covers:

  • ILLUSTRATION: This is a pretty broad category and in many ways it’s my favourite. This type of book cover is appropriate for children’s book, fantasies, romance, self-help; any genre really depending on the type of illustration. For adult novels, having an illustrated cover gives it a quirky, sometimes even comedic feel. It’s light-hearted and it’s fun. You can however, have a ‘dark’ illustration but it would still leave a sense of the surreal.

ill3 illustration 1

  • PHOTO: I think this can often be the hardest book cover type to attempt, because it can be difficult finding just the right photo and having it blend with the rest of the elements in just the right way. Nonetheless, it is an excellent choice for people with little artistic flare and can set the mood for the book from the onset. Crime novels make great use of photos of guns, knives, arms etc. Romance novels also make excellent use of bare chested men, or couples in a sexy embrace.

photo3 photo4 photo1 ill4

  • TEXT: This is my second favourite type – I like the simplicity and the boldness of it, but it has to be done right. Text book covers are always in danger of looking too plain and finding the right font can be a challenge. Keep in mind your font also gives the potential reader an idea of your genre. You would be hard-pressed writing a bibliography on Mother Theresa and using Comic Sans as your font.

text3 text4 text2 text1

  • ABSTRACT: Know what you are doing before you attempt an ‘abstract’ book cover. It is safest if you are doing a cover for a textbook, and for a compilation of articles; you may consider it for memoirs and so on. But I would strongly advise having someone with the ‘eye’ work on the cover for you so it comes out classy and interesting rather than amateurish and lacking… This category is extremely subjective and I like to call ALOT of things abstract. Anything that makes me turn my head that little bit to the right or needs a little extra interpretation or includes a lot of circles and squares gets put in this category.

abstract1 abstract2 abstract3 abstract5

If there is a type I missed, do let me know.

Also, there are exceptions to every rule, so if you have an idea that bends these types or doesn’t fall into them (though I can’t think of any now that wouldn’t fall in), then be bold!

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