With many of us having fewer opportunities to travel and socialize, book sales rose in 2021. So in 2022, book designers are seeking to keep us reading with startling contemporary images, weird perspectives and groundbreaking conceptual sleeves. Regular patterns that suggest order (with a twist) are another popular choice, while escapism—via garish colors or wild adventures—is never too far away. These are the top book cover designs for 2022. What will you be reading?
Read up on the 9 biggest book cover design trends for 2022
1. Conceptual cover sleeves
From jewel-embossed medieval tomes to the rise of the dust jacket, new trends and technologies have always shaped book cover design. In 2022, tactile and conceptual covers are on the rise as designers and publishers produce immersive books that work as artifacts and differentiate themselves from the phone-screen digital copy. Some look like psychedelic spell books, while others play with 3D or transparent sleeves to both grab buyers’ attention and offer a glimpse of the concepts that lie between the covers.
2. Parametric patterns
Clever concepts aren’t the only way designers are adding physical depth to book covers. Parametric art uses mathematical rules and ratios to create designs. The shifting contours and grids that result can feel at once organic and hypermodern.
It’s a combination that lends itself to cosmic, futuristic or contemplative objects, but one reason the technique is increasingly popular is its flexibility. The sinuous and surreal lines of parametric art can lend a calming sense of possibility to a day planner, or speak of ruptures and madness on the cover of an avant-garde thriller.
3. Landscape mode
Horizontal covers? How 2021! One of the book cover design trends for 2022 sees some or all of a book’s artwork turned on its side. The result can make you look twice, or turn the work round and round in your hands as you try to align it.
An image or word that looks natural when set horizontally can look like a strange pattern or an unfamiliar language when it’s put on its side. It’s a great approach for books that play with perspective, give reality a twist or want to jolt their readers out of their comfort zone.
4. Design dystopia
Science fiction books have long had covers in which nature is twisted into strange and threatening new forms. But, while 2022 has its share of dystopian sci-fi covers, what’s fascinating is the way the trend is spreading across other genres.
The selection below sees an ultraviolet taint mar a peak in a book about mountains, a curved, sand-dune-like shape stretch over a poetry collection and a sky fill with contours of fire above what looks like a frozen Earth. As concern for our planet grows, this dystopian look may become more and more prominent.
5. The brutalist abyss
With its hard lines and great, plain slabs of stone, brutalism has often been described as a “cold” architectural form. In 2022, its bleak majesty feeds into eerie covers that feature vast landscapes, neverending patterns and lone figures lost in white space.
The effect is hypnotic and disorientating—as a viewer, you look for meaning in these stark designs, but often find that the longer you look, the weirder it gets. Books that promote themselves with the brutalist abyss are making an ambitious statement: that once you open its pages, nothing will ever be the same again.
6. Framed by grids
Parametrics aren’t the only patterned book design trend in 2022. These book covers lay elements on a grid template. It’s a trend that embraces repetition and gives the resulting designs a neat visual rhythm, but the results are surprisingly varied. Some feature letters that float on tactile covers, while others feel more like stained glass.
Fittingly in a year that’s seen many people cocoon themselves away at home, there’s a feeling of hypnotic routine here, but flashes of color pulse through many of these grids, hinting at transcendence and release.
7. Loud maximalism
If you find some of 2022’s book design trends a little dark and experimental for your tastes, you’ve come to the right place. This trend instead spreads joy with bright, garish colors and intricate compositions. Rich hues dominate in a trend that takes a trip into a vibrant world, mixing intensity with playfulness. These beautiful designs leap off the shelves—you can’t help but catch them out of the corner of your eye.
8. Escapism illustrated
Nature isn’t just dystopian in 2022. This year also sees it framed as a place of possibility and escape. Lush plants and coral bloom on colorful covers, tendrils climbing up hair and wrapping around the edge of the book cover itself. But if these supercharged plants seem to be embracing the story’s characters, it’s not an entirely comforting hug—check out the tantalizing yet ominous mushrooms on the cover of Earthly Bodies. Instead they offer adventure and the chance dream our precious world anew.
9. Contemporary contrasts
This trend isn’t so much a style as an attitude informed by the bold, playful approaches of modern and postmodern art. Here in 2022, you might find jarring mixtures of styles and techniques or contrasts between white space and primary colors. Out-of-focus photos and strange combinations of fonts might even make viewers ask the hoary old question: is it art? That, of course, is the point—these intriguing covers aim to make readers question the books within, and prepare them for the shock of new ideas, or to throw themselves into a forgotten classic.
2022’s book cover design trends
From alien planets and cheerful turtles to designs so see-through that there’s virtually nothing to them, 2022’s book cover design trends are a compelling bunch. Some are radical, some are nostalgic and others are just plain stunning. If you’re designing a cover, there are countless ideas here. If you’re trying to choose a designer to capture your book’s appeal, 2022’s trends are the best place to start.
And if you’re just looking for a great book to get stuck into, check out the cover and dive in—there’s a world of words and pictures out there waiting for you.