Designing a book cover or working on any kind of a creative project requires a lot of motivation and inspiration. Motivation can fuel you with trivial things like a burning deadline and good fees, with inspiration it’s a bit more complicated.

You never know when inspiration will strike you, so you should be ready to look for it near and far. For instance, these creative book cover designs can inspire you to launch a new project or complete the one you’ve been working on a long time ago.

Your daily dose of inspiration is just around the corner but first, check out the guidelines of what makes a good book cover design…

What makes a good book cover design

Although a good book cover design may seem like a subjective notion, UNESCO Publishing has defined guidelines that can be taken into consideration by everyone working on books. This guide is a tool that helps make the design process easier and smoother, as well as explains what makes a good book cover design.

1. Preparing in advance

Designing a book cover is a complicated process with a lot of constraints. You may be limited to particular stylistics, budgets, and technicalities. Thus, planning and preparation are important for those who have strict deadlines.

2. Working with professionals

A graphic designer who already has experience in designing book covers will make your book’s appearance stand out.

25 Creative Book Cover Designs to Inspire You

3. Observing visual hierarchy

If you’d like you cover to appeal to your audience, following visual hierarchy is a must. Using size and color you can point out what your readers should pay attention to and in which order.

4. Getting high-quality images

UNESCO Publishing suggests resorting to stock photography platforms for licensed and high-quality images. For instance, the Depositphotos website features over 140 millions of visuals and you will definitely find a photo or illustration that will perfectly match your book cover idea. Moreover, there’s also a thematic featured collection with dozens of cover-ready images.

See collection

5. Following the minimalist route

Over-designing is one of the most common design mistakes that can throw off viewers. A cover with too many typefaces, mismatching fonts, and diverse design styles shows a lack of experience and ignorance of basic design rules. In short, if you’re not sure about the solution, choose the minimalist route.

6. Using one theme or idea

If a book is a collection of poems or stories, it might be hard to decide what should be put on the cover. The solution here is to highlight one central theme or idea and stick to it so that the audience is not misguided.

7. Considering the audience

The last but not the least thing to consider is the audience. Keep in mind that the cover is designed for readers who will make their purchase decision based on what they see on it. Thus, a good book cover design is the one that appeals to the target audience.

Now you know what makes a good book cover design and it’s time to dive into the works that not only follow design rules but also creatively break them.

25 creative book cover designs

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), a professional association for design, annually holds a competition on the 50 best book cover designs. We’ve gone through their massive archive collection and narrowed it down to the top 25 creative book cover designs to inspire you.

1. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

source: AIGA Design Archives 

2. Florentine Nights

Florentine Nights

source: AIGA Design Archives 

3. Elefant

Elefant

source: AIGA Design Archives 

4. Heating and Cooling

Heating and Cooling

source: AIGA Design Archives 

5. Jerzy

Jerzy

source: AIGA Design Archives 

6. Ann Hamilton: Habitus

Ann Hamilton: Habitus

source: AIGA Design Archives 

7. Once Upon a Time… The Western

Once Upon a Time... The Western

source: AIGA Design Archives 

8. Sleepy

Sleepy

source: AIGA Design Archives 

9. Stephen Ormandy: Only Dancing

Stephen Ormandy: Only Dancing

source: AIGA Design Archives 

10. The Secret History

The Secret History

source: AIGA Design Archives 

11. The Tribe of the Esraris

The Tribe of the Esraris

source: AIGA Design Archives 

12. The Vanishing Futurist

The Vanishing Futurist

source: AIGA Design Archives 

13. Twitter and Tear Gas

Twitter and Tear Gas

source: AIGA Design Archives 

14. Unsettled

Unsettled

source: AIGA Design Archives 

15. Writing Not Writing: Poetry, Crisis, and Responsibility

Writing Not Writing: Poetry, Crisis, and Responsibility

source: AIGA Design Archives 

16. Boy Erased

Boy Erased

source: AIGA Design Archives 

17. Database of Dreams

Database of Dreams

source: AIGA Design Archives 

18. L’Heure Bleue or The Judy Poems

L'Heure Bleue or The Judy Poems

source: AIGA Design Archives 

19. Manly Health and Training

Manly Health and Training

source: AIGA Design Archives 

20. Redskins

Redskins

source: AIGA Design Archives 

21. Claus Porto – 130 Years

Claus Porto – 130 Years

source: AIGA Design Archives 

22. Corpo a Corpo: A Disputa das Imagens, da Fotografia à Transmissão ao Vivo

Corpo a Corpo: A Disputa das Imagens, da Fotografia à Transmissão ao Vivo

source: AIGA Design Archives 

23. Espírito de Tudo

Espírito de Tudo

source: AIGA Design Archives 

24. Mr. und Mrs. Derdon

Mr. und Mrs. Derdon

source: AIGA Design Archives 

25. 3NÓS3 Intervenções Urbanas

3NÓS3 Intervenções Urbanas

source: AIGA Design Archives 

Hope you now have enough inspiration and insights for your projects. However, if you’d like to explore even more inspirational articles, check these out:

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