The Publishing Post
Book Design Trends in 2022
By Giulia Caparrelli, Beccy Fish and Juliette Tulloch
As with all trends, the designs of book covers are constantly changing and returning to previously popular styles. Progressing from the era of minimalism dominating book covers, with an array of straight lines and block colours, 2022 should provide us with a refreshing set of design trends for readers to keep an eye out for.
Spring Flowers and Mythology
With the rising popularity of the fantasy genre, and its books inspired by women in Greek mythology, Spring has come early to these book designs. Soft pastels and flowers adorn the edges of these book covers, notably the UK version of the hotly-anticipated Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Linn Tan. Xingyin has been accustomed to living on the moon but must now confront the secrets that have kept her safe and the power within her, travelling to the Celestial Kingdom to face various creatures as well as her enemies. The gold leafing, a very popular trope seen on the likes of Ariadne and The Songs of Achilles, perfectly encapsulates the magical quality of this book, with immense detail in the birds and flowers. Isobel Allende’s Violeta follows suit with romantic flowers in a slightly colder palette that mimic the book’s theme of war, poverty and heartbreak. Judy I Lin follows this spring colour palette for her two-part series A Magic Steeped in Poison, depicting her weaving of Chinese and Taiwienese mythology, along with Jenna Weathermax’s debut with SmashBear, The Promise of Lightning, which has romance at the heart of its tale.
Script and Handwritten Typefaces
Following the dominance of bold and stark typefaces, 2022 seems to be welcoming script and calligraphic type on book covers. The choice of a typeface is key for a designer in order to convey the correct mood of the story. If the title of One Italian Summer resembles the beginning of a handwritten postcard, the stark, irregular lines on The Paris Apartment look like a detective’s note. The playful and almost childish typeface appearing on Anne Tyler’s French Braid seems to be hinting at the absurdity of the Garretts’ family life, whereas the dignified elegance in You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty’s calligraphic title is quite fitting with the protagonist’s desire to overcome a tragic incident and start anew.
An interesting trend we noticed in upcoming 2022 books is the recurrence of split cover designs. Whether vertical, horizontal, symmetrical or more experimental, a split design makes for an exciting cover where opposing elements, colours and figures face one another in a fight for the reader’s attention. The split is not only pictorial, but also sheds light into the story. In Yerba Buena, YA (Young Adult) author Nina LaCour’s debut adult novel, the design symbolises the “push and pull” between the two protagonists, whereas, in Her Hidden Genius, Maria Benedict unravels the complex inner life of Rosalind Franklin, a brilliant scientist yet an outsider. If the split design in The Lies I Tell strongly conveys the sense of uneasiness inherent to this psychological thriller, the stark colour contrast on Mika in Real Life’s cover hints at the protagonist’s double life. Overall, this technique allows the designer not only to be playful and creative in the use of colour and texture, but also to act as a storyteller and provide the reader with a glimpse of the story.
Members of Penguin Random House believe that images with realistic photography on the covers will prosper in 2022. “It’s very contemporary, and I think the story feels a bit more deeply personal when there’s photography on the cover.” This style has been less common in favour of minimalist art as seen on the cover of Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan and Stephen King’s The Outsider. Now titles such as A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara have reintroduced a wave of photo realism covers after its recent popularity. Richard Flanagan’s The Living Sea of Waking Dreams mixes photography with art, using black and white – which is another popular choice – to communicate the tone. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams follows the story of Anna and her dying mother who escapes constantly out of the hospital window. Parts of Anna’s body, such as her finger and knee, slowly begin to disappear, perhaps represented by the holes in the cover, instead filled with the colours of nature. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson displays his characters who endure life as Black British artists with insights on race and masculinity as well as what it means to only be seen as a Black body. The common theme within these novels is that they are character driven, so seeing the image of the character before reading allows the reader to create a stronger connection with them since they are able to identify them.