Wouldn’t it be a dream to be able to sense whether a book is of quality in terms of its content? Readers can read blurbs and reviews all day long and still be on the fence about whether a book is worth investing the time into. However, most will only glance past a book if its cover is bland or simply unfitting for the genre it is meant to represent. There are unspoken rules amongst readers regarding the appeal of a cover design. As with all rules, there are always exceptions. However, you cannot guarantee that your book will be that one in a million that gets a pass from following the formula.

Think of book design like giving a gift. The wrapping paper or gift bag you use to conceal the contents will affect how excited the person receiving the gift will be to discover what is inside. These visual influences are psychologically conditioned in our brains from early childhood and either draw us towards what we typically like or alert us to avoid the undesirable. Hopefully, this list of pairings painting out colors’ correlation to the themes that they evoke as highlighted by Tympanus will assist you in choosing your future cover designs.

  • Black: Books that are primarily black with very little secondary color accents give off an air of elegance or even mystery to the readers. This color would be perfect for works surrounding wealthy characters or lavish events.
  • Brown: The shade of brown can alter the meaning, giving you a wider range of options to choose from. Lighter shades create feelings of purity or convey that events of a story will be calm. Tan hues may come off as being duller while deep browns can be used to represent a comforting read.
  • Blue: As we see with many religious or medical books, lighter shades of blue are associated with faith or health, respectively. Dark blues are representative of knowledge or intelligence as well as power.
  • Green: Similarly to brown, the range of greens have distinct meanings from one another. The typical boldness of emeralds helps convey a message of prosperity. Greens with yellowish undertones would suggest events surrounding illness or even plagues. Muted earth tones such as olive are more heavily associated with peace or harmony.
  • Orange: This color is a prime example of how some of the integral themes associated with certain colors come from outside influences such as the food industry and other product marketing. Stemming from brands such as Gatorade, the color orange is a really good choice to make when you are looking to express energy.
  • Pink: To no one’s surprise, the book industry like many others is still gendered in regard to a binary. Therefore, pink remains a staple for covers that are supposed to be more feminine or directed towards a female audience. Pinks also are a staple for works of romance.
  • Purple: Lilacs and lavenders present themselves very softly and can even evoke nostalgia. Plums and violets, on the other hand, are used primarily as a signal of gloominess and emotional frustration.
  • Red: Much like pink, lighter variations of red complement the portrayal of love and infatuation. Darker reds seem to be on the opposing end of the spectrum of emotions, Rage, anger, and fearlessness are recalled by these shades as they reside in a multitude of action books and thrillers.
  • Yellow: Lastly, yellow is a color that is sprinkled throughout daily life that almost anyone can recognize its intent. With lighter shades being used as a warning of caution and darker tones being a signal of joy and auras of freshness, yellow is a popular choice for accent colors.

At the end of the day, your book is a product. Curated color selection and a pleasing cover design immediately tells the reader that you were passionate about the project from start to finish and that they should trust you to provide them with an enthralling story wrapped with the appropriate bow. In the current market driven by BookTok and Instagram, the colors you choose could determine whether your new publication fits the aesthetic social media influencers strive to uphold which will generate the publicity to propel your book to a wider audience.

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