B&N Top 15: What do the bestsellers book covers have in common?

Today I would like to analyze the covers of the fifteen best-selling books from Barnes & Noble to see if it is possible to distinguish some trends or common characteristics among them. This knowledge may prove useful for people designing their own cover, but it could also help me to create designs that could rival the covers of the world best-selling books.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_Cover

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, fantasy; one graphic element relevant to the story on a simple background
  • typography: two types of font, one unique for the title; one color; sans-serif font for the rest of the texts, all letters are uppercase
  • colors: yellow, gold, brown, black

A Great Reckoning

greatreckoning

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, moody; typography is the main element, simple background (trees and night sky)
  • typography: two types of sans-serif fonts, all letters are uppercase
  • colors: blue, yellow, white, black

Truly Madly Guilty

0726_truly-madly-cover

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, elegant, subtle; typography is the main element, simple background (splash of water)
  • typography: two types of fonts: sans-serif and uppercase for the author’s name, serif and sentence case for the title
  • colors: white, blue, orange, pink

The Girl on the Train

girlonthetrain

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: scattered
  • style: minimalistic, artistic; typography is the main element, simple background (blurred landscape)
  • typography: one type of font: sans-serif, uppercase, doubled for the title (imitating movement of the train)
  • colors: blue, green, brown, white

Gravity Falls: Journal 3

gravityfalls

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, cartoonish; one graphic element on a simple background (imitating journal)
  • typography: using branded title, subtitle in a simple uppercase sans-serif font
  • colors: red, gold, brass

Milk and Honey

milkhoney

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: left
  • style: extremely minimalistic, refined; simple typography and two graphic elements on a black background
  • typography: one type of font: serif, all letters are lowercase
  • colors: black, white

Mostly Void, Partially Stars

mostlyvoid

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered, but only on the right side of the cover
  • style: minimalistic, graphic; simple typography and symbolic graphic elements on a gradient background
  • typography: one type of font: sans-serif, uppercase
  • colors: brown, black, yellow, white

Great Glowing Coils of the Universe

greatglowingcoil

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: right
  • style: modern, graphic, simple typography and abstract graphic elements on a hand-drawn background
  • typography: one type of font: sans-serif, uppercase
  • colors: orange, purple, grey, black

After You

AfterYou

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, elegant; typography is the only graphic element, simple one color background
  • typography: one type of font: decorative, sentence case
  • colors: pale yellow, red, grey

5% More

5more

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, modern; typography is the only graphic element, simple two-color background
  • typography: one type of font: tall, sans-serif, uppercase
  • colors: red, white

Just Friends

justfriends

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: minimalistic, casual; one graphic element on a simple one-color background
  • typography: two types of fonts: title in cursive, author’s name in serif font, both written in sentence case
  • colors: blue, black, white

A Man Called Ove

mancalledove

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: movie-like; photographic elements on a simple sky background
  • typography: two types of fonts in uppercase: handwritten for title and author’s name, simple sans-serif for the rest of the texts
  • colors: blue, green, white, orange

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

wrongsidegoodbye

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: centered
  • style: simple typography on a photographic background
  • typography: one type of font: uppercase, tall, sans-serif
  • colors: blue, grey, yellow

The Black Widow

The-Black-Widow-Gabriel-Allon-by-Daniel-Silva

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: scattered
  • style: simple typography on a photographic background
  • typography: one type of font: serif, sentence case
  • colors: yellow, white

The Woman in Cabin 10

the-woman-in-cabin

Book cover design traits:
  • alignment: left
  • style: minimalistic, typography on a simple photographic background (blurred landscape)
  • typography: two types of fonts: sans-serif, uppercase, smeared (imitating melting in the rain), typewriter font for additional texts
  • colors: blue, turquoise, white, black

Conclusions

kadrowanie

The analyzed covers were representatives of a wide variety of genres – fantasy, thriller, non-fiction, romances, literary fiction…┬áIt was quite surprising for me to find out how much they have in common. Few dominant trends in book cover design can be noticed:

  • central alignment
  • minimalistic style
  • no more than two types of fonts on the cover
  • limited color palette – one distinctive, main color for the cover
  • focus on typography
  • no photomanipulations
  • no faces, no human silhouettes
  • simple backgrounds
  • very limited number of objects on the cover

It is interesting that similar trends (maybe except for the central composition) are rarely seen on the covers of the self-published books. This is a topic that I will try to discuss in the next post.

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1 Comment

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» Smashwords Bestsellers : What do the self-published books’ covers have in common?
19 September 2016 at 12:04

[…] the last post I was analyzing the covers of the fifteen best-selling books from Barnes & Noble to distinguish […]

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