The art of book cover design  is not as simple as it might appear. There are various important factors to consider while designing a compelling book cover. The genre of the story, mood, tone, characters and many other factors define a book cover. As an aspiring author you must be acquainted with the different book cover design styles to choose a befitting book cover for your story. 

There are five main types of book cover designs that an author must know. In this article we would discuss these five types and guide you on how to determine the best one for your story. 

5 Main Types of Book Cover Design Styles

Book cover designs introduce your story to the audience and hence the images on the book cover designs matters. Let’s check out the categories of book cover designs based on the images. 

1. Arranging Stock Photo

This is the easiest book cover design style where you can effortlessly create a collage of stock images using photo shopped.  Several disparate photos are meticulously incorporated in a uniformed collage to make an appearance of a single photo. Creating an impeccable collage requires excellent craftsmanship of the designer. 

However, you can easily access stock photos from the internet and design a creative collage by yourself. This makes it the cheapest book cover design. For instance, if you are writing a story on a famous landmark like the Eiffel Tower, you can get thousands of shock photos of the Eiffel Tower online and can easily use it on your book cover. 

On the other hand, nowadays people are also using graphics images instead of real photos to create stunning book covers. Shutterstock and Adobe Stock are the two famous websites you can use for accessing stock images. However, one of the drawbacks of stock photo book covers is that you can find the same images on other author’s book covers. So, if you want to create a unique book cover design it is better to avoid stock image based book covers.

2. Illustrated Cover Design

Illustrated book cover designs offer ample scope of creativity and unique visual styles. The design is based on how much of the story you want to reveal on the covers. For instance, if you want to provide a glimpse of a protagonist or of the story’s main theme, keeping a simple and subtle illustration would be appropriate. On the other hand, if you want to convey the complexities of your story you can use intricate designs with key characters and elements of your story. 

Illustrations are best for book series covers such as the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Fantasy and science fiction are also appropriate for illustrative book cover designs. However, it is both time consuming and costly, because a designer has to start from scratch from chalking out ideas to finishing the final design. Moreover, in the USA, book cover designers charge hefty amounts on the basis of hourly input.  

3. Original Photography

Original photography is a bit obsolete today due to graphics and stock photo availability. Designers take recourse to photography as the last option if they fail to find suitable stock images. However, for memoir and biographies this type of book cover design is the only option to go for.  

But you should be aware that this is more expensive than the other types since you have to arrange a photo shoot and pay some amount to the photographers, designers and so on.

4. Readymade Book Cover Designs

Readymade book cover design or premade book cover designs are a great option if you want instant book cover for your story. You can select from a range of designs including 3D graphics, illustrative, minimalistic and so on that match with the genre and tone of your story. 

One of the key advantages of instant book covers is that it does not involve mistakes or the need to redo any design. Moreover, you can avoid the long waiting time for your book covers. Additionally, these ready-made book covers are much cheaper as no additional making charges are involved.  

Lastly, the ready-made designs are sold only for once and thus, there is no chance of another author purchasing the same design. However, you need to purchase the one you choose without waiting since the demand for premade book covers is quite high. 

5. 3D Designs

Using 3D mechanisms in your book covers allow your story to grab the audience’s attention amidst the 2D book cover designs. 3D designs create illusion with photorealistic designs which appeals to the fiction lovers and young readers making it suitable for fantasy and detective stories. In the era of digitization and automation, choosing digitally printed book cover design would allow your book to create a lasting impression on the audience. 


We have discussed five main book cover design styles that include, 3D designs, readymade book cover, and original photography, illustrated and stock photos. All these types cater to different genres of stories. Before choosing any design consider the specific genre of your story, your budget, time requirement to make the best decision for your story.

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Eliana James (Tracy)

Crypto and NFT enthusiast, sharing insights on the exciting world of blockchain technology and digital art.

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crypto & nft lover

Eliana James (Tracy)

Passionate writer creating engaging content on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle for modern enthusiasts.

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