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2021 Book Design Trends We Love for Self-Publishing

November 16, 2020 (Last Updated January 26, 2021)

Marcy G.

Just like with fashion, book design follows trends, with some things “in” and some things “out.” No one person decides a trend; rather, trends blossom and fade according to what is new, interesting, and appealing. Consider some of these cover design trends we’re seeing for 2021.

5 of the hottest trends in book design

At 48 Hour Books, we’re proud to help so many authors self-publish their books. Along the way we’ve noted a number of beautiful, striking trends in book design, which have been strong for 2020 and are poised to be strong in 2021 as well.

Bold typography

One of the most visually striking book cover trends, and one we forecast will continue through 2021, is the use of bold typography—the font, size, and spacing of words.

In fact, we’ve seen many gorgeous covers that rely almost exclusively on exquisite typography to carry the theme. Heavy san-serif fonts (Helvetica is a classic example), sized up to a striking scale, immediately catch the eye and convey authority. Lighter sans-serif fonts convey a more subdued approach, but still are dramatic when scaled to a large size.

For more emotional appeal, hand-drawn fonts and hand-lettered titles are a popular design trend. Typographically, hand lettering conveys a down-to-earth tone that is appropriate for many topics.

Minimalistic designs

Whereas in the past a designer might try to fit “everything and the kitchen sink” onto a book cover, with a palette full of colors, several font designs, and multiple graphic effects, we’re seeing a return to clean, simple, minimalistic designs. These book covers let the title do the talking, often supported by a single image.

Creative use of photography

Speaking of images, we are seeing a creative use of photography rising as a book design trend. In this trend, the typography remains very simple, even dialed-down, as a single, impactful image takes the forefront. Often this will be combined with a lot of negative (or empty) space, further emphasizing the subject of the image.

Bright colors

One book design trend you’ll often see combined with other trends is the use of bright colors. Orange, in particular, is enjoying a revival, but so are several shades of blue, including aqua, teal, cerulean, and cobalt. You’ll see bright colors like these often paired with similarly bold typography, or a single striking image or photo.

Retro imagery

The last book design trend to consider for your book is the use of retro imagery, perhaps as vintage line art or halftone photographs. Depending on the other design elements (such as color and type), retro imagery can convey a fun, irreverent tone, or it can serve as a callback to previous times in history.

Incorporating trends with your design

When designing a cover, consider how you might incorporate one or more current design trends to give it a modern feel. While you don’t want to blindly follow every trend, incorporating one or two of them can communicate a level of professionalism and authority via your book design. They show readers that you’re current with the times, and that can help establish a level of trust.

Book design templates

We offer book design templates to help you get started on the right foot. You can simply download a book cover template to get the exact specs you need to design a picture perfect cover, no matter what type or images you use. Our templates are available in a range of sizes and page number combinations (from 54-440 pages):

   4.25x7”

   5.5x8.5”

   6x9”

   8.5x11”

Custom book printing

Once your book is designed, take your design a step further with custom book printing. You can customize so many aspects of your final printed book with our high-quality materials and paper. For example, add a dust jacket to your case bound book. Just like commercial books you can buy off the shelf, we offer full-color dust jackets for an extra dose of protection and flair.

For perfect-bound books, the foil-embossed elements of our Diamond 3D covers will stand out, catching the eye and showing your readers your books are professional, high-quality works of art. You can actually see—and feel—the difference with our specialty book cover designs.

Best of all, you don’t have to go it alone. Our professional book designers are ready to help you give your book a boost, no matter what style or book design trend you’re going for. Give us a call at 800-231-0521 or reach out online to connect with us. We’ll help you design a one-of-a-kind book that truly reflects your story.

Partner with us today, to self-publish a book. 

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