Friday, July 18, 2014

Cover Trends: Less is More

2011 and 2012 were the years of the cliche Young Adult covers. Here are some of my least favorite trends that grazed the covers of YA books.
  • Headless, torso only shots of protagonists( usually dressed in prom-style gowns)
  • Close ups of a model's face (more often than not, it is the leading lady). Sometimes they add in some windblown hair to you know, make a difference.
  • More heroines in pretty dresses only this time they looking off into this distance with their backs to us.
  • More closeups, this time it's the eyes/lips. 
  • Kissy faces. *cringe*
  • Angel/Fairy Wings.
Thankfully, we seem to have moved on from this trend. 2013/2014 has rewarded readers with some gorgeous and utterly refreshing covers. So a huge thank you to publishers for giving us more illustrated covers, more gender neutral covers, more graphic and text-based covers.
Today, I've featured some covers that take a simple image, pair it with some great typography to give readers an intriguing package. Low fuss, high impact. These covers will not only entice readers with their subtle-ness but they also welcome readers who wouldn't usually pick YA books to give it a chance.


Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy // Takedown by Allison van Diepen // Fault Line by Christa Desir

Bruised by Sarah Skilton // Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard // Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes


When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds // Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir // Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

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So tell me, what do you think of the new cover trends of 2014? Have they taken a turn for the better or worse?
Are there any covers that caught your eye recently? 

Further Reading:
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17 comments :

  1. I'm always more to covers that don't feature people on the covers so I'm all for this new trend. I hadn't really noticed but it but love the covers you feature. I always feel sci fi and dystopia books have much better covers than contemporary ya books. And don't even get me started on the NA book covers (I'm happy to read those on my kindle as so many covers are cringe! K A Tucker excluded, her covers are fab.)

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    1. Oh yes, NA covers-Thank god for e-readers! I need to pick up Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths soon!

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  2. I really love less is more for covers! I don't like it when a cover is too busy. I love simple and clean-looking covers, with great typography. There's an exception though, covers that have a graphic design feel with vector shapes, or made to look like a paper cut-out. I can appreciate the little details in covers like that. :)

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    1. Oh yes, I adore paper cut-outs! More Than This by Patrick Ness and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch come to my mind.

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  3. My favorite covers are usually ones that are super simple. Less is definitely more for me. I love the cover for Fault Line. Cool typography is always good too. My fav cover of 2014 is Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. It's a little busy, but SO so so pretty!

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    1. I adore the cover for Everything Leads to You too - So whimsical and pretty! I heard the book's as good as the cover so it's on my wish list! :)

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  4. I don't know why, but I really tend to prefer covers with people on them. And I kinda loved the gorgeous dresses, even though I would never be caught dead in one of them lol. I agree that these simple covers really can make a punch though. Some of the simplest covers attract my attention best.

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    1. Pretty dresses catch my eye too and boy, would I love to own them! But it does get a little tiresome to see it repeated. :(

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  5. Faultine and Anatomy of a Misfit are my favourites of those. i hate people on my book covers because then it just stops my imagination from creating an image of what i really think of the *main* character. I love typography and graphic designs with shapes etc. Awesome post :)

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    1. Fault Line's cover is powerful, isn't it? So true, I like the freedom to imagine that simple covers give. When there's a person, it usually restricts the way you view the character.

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  6. I'm SO glad the trend for YA covers has been shifting this year. Like you, I was completely fed up with the old style people were adhering to, and most of the time the covers had nothing to do with what was even going on inside the pages. They were very close to 100% geared toward girly girls, as well, with all of them having girls in pretty dresses on the cover. I'm really loving the graphic, minimal, gender-neutral trend that's going on and hope it's going to be something that sticks around for a while. These covers you're using for examples are much more like what I would design for books, were I to redesign a look for them. They almost look more like posters than book covers, which I've always thought were more attention-grabbing anyway - posters would have to stop someone walking by in a busy area rather than someone already willing to spend time browsing around in a store. It definitely leaves more of a mark.

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  7. I really like the minimalism cover trend, especially when they use pretty fonts :D From all the covers you've listed, is the one from Red Queen my favorite. Very effective and eye-catching in all it's simplicity!

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    1. Replied too soon.. What I love most about these covers is that they will appeal to a large audience. When you have, let's say, a book with a girl's face on it, I think boys will less likely pick it up :) While these ones have almost a movie-poster vibe, so more people will be willing to give it a tyr.

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  8. I love covers with pretty fonts and a color palette and theme that is relevant to the story. Like you, I don't like those covers with models in gowns except I'm weak and get tempted at times by the beautiful gowns. Haha! I do admire covers that showcases their heroine respectfully and realistically. Best example I could think of is the Lotus War trilogy covers with its fierce Japanese heroine.

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  9. I love these new trend in covers.They are simple but so gorgeous.And they actually suit the stories.In these type of covers the title,the background colour and the font are given importance.
    In those listed above,my favourite is Criminal.It suits the title perfectly.

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  10. I am SUCH a sucker for covers that pull this off well! I love minimalist covers with great colours and great typography. They just feel more artsy on my shelf. :P

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  11. Although I actually quite like some of the cliches if well done (I'm a sucker for dresses), I really love the simple covers we've been seeing a lot of lately. They leave a lot stronger impression than just two models kissing. From your selection I especially like the cover of Red Queen

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