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Fantasy Book Cover Design Ideas

11 minute read

Are you a proud author of the fantasy book who is looking for book cover design ideas?

You are at the right place!

We get how confusing it might be to find the perfect fit, and figure out what will work best for your fantasy subgenre. That’s why we’ve collected valuable insights, useful tips, downloadable resources, and video tutorials about:

  • urban fantasy book cover design;
  • epic fantasy book cover design;
  • paranormal fantasy book cover design;
  • YA fantasy book cover design;
  • dark fantasy book cover design;
  • sci-fantasy book cover design;

It’s fantasy time, so let’s get started! 

Fantasy book cover design: everything you need to know before getting started

Fantasy book cover design opens many doors for creative opportunities. You get to use your imagination to represent the fictional world you’ve created. However, as you already know, the fantasy genre includes many different subgenres, which turn the book cover design into an extremely important visual tool. Intimidated? Don’t be. All you have to do is pay attention to typography, images, and color palette when brainstorming ideas for your book cover.

  • Fonts will help you to hint at the specific fantasy subgenre and create a perfect aesthetic balance. As a result, your readers will immediately know what they’re getting themselves into when taking a peek at your book cover.
  • Images help to tease your target audience and hint at some plot details without revealing too much. In most cases, they’ll serve as an attention-grabbing tool that will make readers fall in love with your book cover at the very first glance.
  • If you put enough thought and research into your choice of colors, you’ll be able to pique the readers’ interest on a subconscious level. The best part about fantasy, though, is that you get to select bright colors and stunning sparkles and glows. Turn your book cover design into an artistic masterpiece!

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started! Now, we’re going to share with you mind-blowing insights about how to choose images, colors, and fonts for your fantasy book cover design.

Fantasy book cover design tips

We can’t contain our excitement any longer, since we’ve prepared something exceptional for you. Keep reading, and you’ll learn book cover design tips and tricks that’ll get you one step closer to the stunning epic, urban, paranormal, YA, dark, or sci-fantasy book cover. 

The best part? We’ve attached examples of free images and fonts for commercial use and tutorial videos that’ll show you how to design your fantasy book covers. Keep reading this article, and start collecting your easter eggs!

High or epic fantasy book cover design

The high fantasy novels plot often circles around a fictional world and society with its own set of rules and laws. At the same time, the central conflict is the protest against the existing evil head of state. Basically, the good old good vs. evil trope. Think about “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars”. Thus everything about your fonts, colors, and images should hint at heroism and might have a medieval vibe to it.

How to choose images

  • Let’s take a look at the examples of images that’ll fit the high fantasy subgenre. 
  • An excellent idea for the foreground picture can be sword and sorcery, axes, shields, and other types of weapon.
  • Besides, many designers adapt the technique of portraying the protagonist(s) facing either forwards or backwards. Note: in high fantasy, the female characters won’t be wearing bulky skirts and pretty dresses since they’re fighting alongside men. Make sure you don’t fall into this trap when choosing your characters’ outfits.
  • It’s a wide-spread technique to also leave space for the antagonist. They’re often shown as a dark figure wearing a cape, which hints at unknown dangers and builds tension.
  • Another excellent suggestion is to place a picture of a big animal on the cover design to attract readers’ attention immediately. For example, depending on your plot, you might browse the images of wolves or tigers.
  • Last but not least, dragons! If it’s in the story, then the dragon deserves an honorable mention on your front cover.
  • When it comes to the background, look into typical high fantasy settings, castles, fields, or forests. 
  • You might also want to add some fire every here and there to represent battles and struggle.
  • How to choose fonts

Designers use typography to represent heroism in epic fantasy book cover design. You might want to try fonts with uneven letter height or add some metallic textures and volume. This way, you can turn typography into an attention-grabbing element of your cover design.

Here are some captivating font suggestions:

How to choose colors

Feel free to play with the contrast in colors to represent the high fantasy genres better. Try using a deep grey color for the stones, sky, or castles with a silver shade. It’s a great strategy to display the mood of rebellion times. On the other hand, add glows and, for example, bright orange, mystical blue, and captivating bright green to portray some magic atmosphere.

Last but not least, take a look at this fantastic video tutorial. Everything you need to know about epic fantasy book cover design is right here!

Video tutorial: 

Urban fantasy book cover design

The distinctive features of urban fantasy combine unnatural elements with spells and curses, rooted in the urban life setting.

How to choose images for urban fantasy covers

Here are a few suggestions on the images for your urban fantasy book cover design:

  • To make sure that readers know what they’re getting into, it’s a good idea to include an urban setting and paranormal magic elements on the cover. 
  • A great idea to represent urban life is with images of skyscrapers, towers, streets, old temples, arches, etc.
  • Also, add some flashes, fireballs, and bolts of lightning. Urban fantasy worlds are often densely populated with creatures like zombies, vampires, werewolves, demons, etc. That might be an idea. 
  • Besides, you may consider portraying a protagonist facing both worlds, real-life and fantasy. It’s a very popular trend in urban fantasy book cover design.
  • Many designers choose a female character to represent the novel. Outfit options quite often include leather and jeans. Also, it might be a great idea to picture a side-kick creature.

How to choose colors for urban fantasy covers

The colors on urban fantasy book covers should be bright and shiny. A common practice is to choose one or two dominant colors and experiment with their shades and hues. Seriously, if you feel like you’re out of ideas, just follow the rule: make it even shinier. Also, feel free to add overlays and drop-shadows that’ll help you represent the urban lifestyle. Just try it!

How to choose typography for urban fantasy covers

Make sure that your font conveys the book’s mood and shows the mix of supernatural elements and urban life. Artisan, Oranienbaum, and Optimus Princeps are well-balanced captivating fonts that will look great on the urban fantasy book cover. You might add some special effects, like sparkles and glows, to make your typography pop. 

As promised, here’s another video that’ll walk you through the world of urban fantasy book cover design. Enjoy!

Video tutorial: 

Paranormal fantasy book cover design

Paranormal fantasy often combines a romantic story with wizardry and magic. Why don’t you try to sum up the main storyline on your book cover then?

How to choose images for paranormal fantasy covers

Check out these awesome ideas that’ll help you turn images into an eye-catching element of your paranormal fantasy book cover design:

  • A good idea might be to portray the couple. Depending on your plot and types of creatures, you might want to give your readers a sneak peek at what’s going on. For example, wings, angels and demons, vampire-like teeth, elf ears, etc.
  • Many book cover designs will also have a natural force present on the front cover. For example, the full moon, lightning, thunderstorm, waves, dawn, enchanted forest. These elements hint at supernatural events and help to pique the readers’ interest.
  • Another idea is to include a protagonist surrounded by a magical glow. This way, you’ll represent a mystical phenomenon that your book is about without revealing too much.

Shatzely Cinorlo's " The Alpha's Chick" as an example of Paranormal Fantasy imagery tips Katherine D Graham's "Splitting Duks" as an example of Paranormal Fantasy imagery tips Khardine Gray "Thempted by the Vampire" as an example of Paranormal Fantasy imagery tips

How to choose fonts for paranormal fantasy covers

The typography in the paranormal fantasy genre has quite a tricky task since it should reference both fictional events and romance. Designers often borrow fonts from fantasy and chick-lit genres to achieve their goals. Check out these excellent font options and rock your paranormal fantasy book cover design: 

How to choose colors for paranormal fantasy covers

For your paranormal book cover design you might look into black, purple, indigo, and light pink colors. Don’t forget to toss in some sparkles and glows. If your romantic story is the core of the plot, designers suggest considering a feminine color palette. So check out pink, purple, red, and white color combinations.

Let’s watch one more video tutorial and dive into the world of paranormal fantasy book cover design together. 

Video tutorial: 

Young Adult fantasy book cover design

YA genre usually covers important topics for teenagers, such as first love, friendship, identity, peer pressure, family conflicts, fashion, etc. The key to success is to add some magical vibes to the whole deal. Let’s take a closer look!

How to choose images for YA fantasy covers

Follow these ideas and find images that’ll be a perfect fit for the YA book cover:

  • The background might give a glimpse of some plot details. The feel of the unreal or magic world is conveyed through sparkles, glows, gleam, and shine. Don’t forget that the protagonist should be young to represent the subgenre better.
  • Quite often, since there might be a love story involved, the couple would be present on the book cover.
  • Another exciting idea is to show the superpowers of the protagonist directly. You can make their eyes glow, have them holding fireballs, or make it appear as if they were flying.
  • Furthermore, you can try a typography-oriented book cover design for your YA novel. Choose a bright color for the background, and use illustrated typography to draw your readers’ attention.

Isabella Winters's "Vampire Blood" as an example of YA Fantasy imagery tips

How to choose colors for YA fantasy covers

Follow the rule: The brighter, the better. Vivid colors are most often present on the YA book covers. Intense reds, bright greens, strong pinks, bold purples, you name it. 

Jenna Tran's "Sea Sister's Mirror" as an example of YA Fantasy color usage  R.R Born's "Day of the Dead" as an example of YA Fantasy color usage

How to choose typography for YA fantasy covers

Designers use eye-catching typography, sometimes borrowed from fantasy and chick-lit genres. You might consider trendy Aleo, Organic elements, Storybook, Fondamento, and more classy Tusar, Fortunata, or Essendine.

Check out this video on how to design the YA book cover design that’ll woo over your young readers.

Video tutorial:

Dark fantasy book cover design

If your book falls in the dark fantasy category, then most probably you’re describing a frightening topic with a horror vibe or a gloomy and unpleasant agenda.

How to choose images for dark fantasy covers

Let’s take a closer look at what might work best as foreground and background image in dark fantasy book cover design:

How to choose typography for dark fantasy covers

Join us on the dark side with these typography ideas for the dark fantasy genre. You might also want to experiment with colors, glyphs, and shades of your font. Whatever will tell your readers that they’re about to embark on a gloomy journey. 

How to choose colors for dark fantasy covers

The darker, the better, huh?

Well, almost. Make sure you use colors that’ll also hint at the fantasy genre. 

  • Blue is an excellent option according to color theory and psychology since it evokes excitement, anticipation, and suspense at the same time.
  • Deep purple is also a great weapon of choice for dark fantasy. It’ll help catch the readers’ attention and immediately associate it with abnormal activities and mystery.

Are you looking for dark fantasy cover design inspirations? First, watch this outstanding video tutorial. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Video tutorial:

Science fantasy book cover design

This one is relatively easy. Combine everything you know about the sci-fi genre and fantasy and try to fit it on the cover. Don’t get too carried away and aim for aesthetic balance.

How to choose images for science fantasy covers

When it comes to images, imply that the events take place in outer space, a galaxy far away, or a space shuttle. Here are a few ideas:

Justin Barlow's "Lunar Threat" as an example of Science Fantasy imagery tips Jason J Nugent's "Savage Survival"as an example of Science Fantasy imagery tips

How to choose fonts for science fantasy covers

You can experiment with popular sci-fi fonts and see if they match your book cover design colors and images. 

How to choose colors for science fantasy covers

Many designers swear by the theory of impossible fictional colors. The idea is to choose the colors that one wouldn’t be able to find in the real world. Experiment, and treat your sci-fantasy book cover to a truly amazing color palette! 

Ready to embark on a sci-fantasy cover design journey to the galaxy far, far away? This video might help.

Video tutorial: 


To sum up

Now, you are all set to start working on your fantasy book cover design. Come back to this article anytime you have questions about epic, urban, paranormal, YA, dark or sci-fantasy book covers. We’re pretty sure we’ve got all the right answers!

Which tips did you like the most? Talk to us!


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