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15 Famous Book Cover Designs That Will Inspire You To Design Your Own

by Anne Carton Tweet - in Book Cover Design

Book Cover Designs

Last updated on October 29th, 2021

Books tell stories or give information on issues of our interest. But they are products that need to be sold in a market. So, marketers treat books as commodities that require people’s attention. Attractive and purposeful book cover designs are, therefore, crucial to selling the stories to the people. Like in other graphic design fields, there are inspirational book covers too that have attained legendary status.

There is a saying that never judge a book by its cover. But the fact is that a shelf in a bookshop or library is crowded with hundreds of books, and even a potential customer doesn’t just read the book right away at the spot while visiting a bookstore. The book cover design, however, may convince the customer to make their choice.

Now, the chances are that if the cover design is impressive and tells a story, the customer may think of buying it. But if the cover design fails to make an impression, chances are that the customer will simply put the book back on the shelf.

Book cover designs that are well-thought-of and stand out graphic designs, will surely attract the customers. After all, an aesthetically created work of art does entice people. Marketers know this fact and they use it to sell products or services.

They even build a brand identity of a business around artistically crafted graphic design products, such as logos and brochures. Same is the case with book covers.

A basic purpose of creating a professional book cover design is to make a good first impression on the potential customers. It is important for a book cover that it intrigues readers, so that they pick up the book. Remember that the cover is the first thing that the customers will see.

But what makes an impressive book cover? One of the characteristics of a good book cover is that it sets the mood of the customers or readers for the book. Just having a look at the cover is often good enough for readers to know the content or story inside the pages.

A good book cover can instantly communicate the main elements of story. The cover gives just a hint of the story without overwhelming the customer. At best, the cover will compel the reader to flip open the book to read the first few pages.

Another desirable trait of a good book cover is that it is unique and simple. The design should stand out with its unique use of typefaces, colors, images, and other elements. But overall look of the cover should be simple so that viewers can grasp its message instantly at the first glance.

Many people shop online for their choice of books. So, a thumbnail image of your book should appear as an impressive image with all the details. This means that the cover design should be scalable down to the smallest size.

Here Are 15 Famous Book Cover Designs That Will Inspire You To Design Your Own


The novel titled “1984” was authored by George Orwell. Shepard Fairey was the artist behind this amazing book cover design. The novel is about a tale of Big Brother surveillance. The cover design suits the content of the book efficiently. The big and all-seeing eye speaks about the content.


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02. Against Happiness

The book cover design of the title “Against Happiness” which is authored by Eric G. Wilson, is an iconic graphic design work. The designer Jennifer Carrow used minimal design principles. The designer used the traditional yellow acid color as a large background color. There is only the mention of the title and author in the design, which makes it a simple and effective work.

graphic design

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03. The Bell Jar

This is one of the iconic book cover designs. Sylvia Plath is the author of this novel and Shirley Tucker is the designer of the book cover. The protagonist of the novel finds herself in the tunnel of despair. This is reflected by the concentric circle design of the book cover. This design becomes the metaphor for the protagonist’s agonies.

Bell Jar

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04. American Psycho

This is one of the legendary book cover designs. Marshall Arisman designed the book cover titled “American Psycho”. The design depicts the character Patrick Bateman as part-man, part-evil.

book cover

05. Amsterdam

The author of the title “Amsterdam” is Ian McEwan. The book cover designer Herman Houbrechts is known for non-linear letter arrangements and Pop Art style typefaces. This book cover design displays these design style and skills best.


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06. The Brief History Of The Dead

This cover design is a visual pun on the title “The Brief History Of The Dead”. The designer Archie Ferguson used black and white color scheme to emphasis on the creepiness of the character in the novel.

Brief History

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07. A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess is the author of the title “A Clockwork Orange”. Artist David Pelham designed the book cover. This is one of the iconic book cover designs that was created ten years after the book was first released. The design was created to mark the occasion of making a film based on the novel. The book cover was a runaway success and a classic.

Website design

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When designing your book cover, make sure that it has good use of colors as used in this cover design. In fact, colors are useful to evoke some emotions from the readers or users. So, if you are creating a website to sell your books, make sure that your website design has right use of colors and other elements.

08. Columbine

Book cover design of the title “Columbine” is another great design that goes down in the history of graphic designs as legendary. The designer Henry Sene Yee created this design for the non-fiction book about the Columbine High School Massacres of 1999. The iconic cover is a minimalistic design that incorporates a school building and a grey sky. The loneliness depicted in the design symbolizes the emotions after the massacre.


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This is also an excellent example of simplicity of the designs. In fact, simplicity is a key element that helps a design stand out. Even when you create an education logo design, keep its concept simple and use only one or two colors and fonts. You should avoid complicating the design with the use of too many elements.

09. On Seeing And Noticing

Laura Oakden designed this book cover of the title “On Seeing and Noticing”, a novel by Alain de Botton. The question mark and clothes hanger symbolically stand for questioning the self-worth that the protagonist of the novel is searching for.

book cover design

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10. The Craftsman

The author Richard Sennett wrote this book about dealing with simple tools to create things that matter in a great way. The graphic designer Coralie Bickford-Smith uses some randomly arranged pencils as a main theme of the book cover. It surely is one of the coolest book cover designs.

social media

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It is important that you create social media page to promote your book sales. Create the page in your own unique way. Then, invite the reviews and comments about the books from your audience.

11. The Psychopath Test

This book cover by Alex Metro is another iconic design that is known for its contrasting effect on viewers. There are two design styles on display in this book cover. In the left, it’s a stagnant and formal design style; while, the right one depicts a ripped paper, which stands for the craziness and psychedelic to suit the title.

Psychopath Test

12. You Only Live Twice

This book is about those typical Bond stories which are later made into the films. The designer Michelle Gillette depicts an inseparable element of the Bond stories – the Bond girls. But these girls and such images are not based on a particular person. Instead, the graphic design services designer uses the girls as archetypes.

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13. The Stranger

The Stranger is a famous novel by Albert Camus, about the leading character’s emotionless personality and detachment from the society. The book cover was designed by Helen Yentus. This book cover has an optical illusion of white and black shards.

graphi design

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This creates a sense of vertigo, which is typical of Camus’s subjects. The importance of lettering in graphic designs has been highlighted in this book cover design.

14. The Road

The Road, a novel by Cormac McCarthy, depicts the aftermath of an unspecified cataclysm. The book cover expresses the scenario after the civilization is blasted off. There is a father and his young son going down the road. The graphic designer Nick Lowndes is known for stick-figure style, which is evident in this cover design. The skeletal trees give expression to the post-devastation scenario.


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15. The Great Gatsby

F.Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” is a widely read classic book. This book has seen many cover designs, but this particular cover outshines all of them. The yellow backdrop speaks about the monochromatic man. The man is depicted as having the damn ‘y’ as a cocktail glass, which draws our attention instantly.

Great Gatsby

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So, these are the iconic book cover designs that are widely considered as legendary. One of three characteristics of these designs is that they are minimalistic.

This means that they convey their messages in a clean and clear way. You can get such book cover designs or brochures design or other design products by crowdsourcing your design work to Designhill.

Here Are The Book Cover Designs From Designhill, Which Is A Leading Crowdsourcing Platform

01. Nada Es Lo Que Parece

This book cover design attempts to depict some seriousness of the subject of the book. Dark colors used in the design and some spark of light at the bottom add to the mystery.

book cover design

[Source: View Case Study On Designhill]

This book cover is designed to give a glimpse of the story inside. The three protagonists of the story seeing the destruction happening in front of them. This creates some curiosity in the minds of readers, compelling them to read the book.

These book cover designs are inspirational due to their minimalistic approach in conveying the subject and story of the books. Are you also looking for book cover designs that are unique, memorable, and inspirational?

You can crowdsource the design work to Designhill, which is a leading platform to bring together business owners and graphic designer. You can launch your book cover design contest to receive dozens of unique designs from as many graphic designers at affordable price.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation


These legendary book cover designs are inspirational in many ways. They are simple but memorable book covers that have achieved iconic status over the years. The use of concepts, colors, fonts, images, and other elements is with a purpose. Each of these cover designs gives a hint of the story inside of the pages effectively.

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Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce. Facebook | Twitter

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