Romance Premade Book Cover Design: Specs, Process, Examples, and Challenges


As we wait for Valentine’s Day, why not talk about thematic book cover design? Moreover, we have something special for you! Our designer, Maria, who has been creating romance cover designs for many years, is happy to share her knowledge and secrets about creating compositions that instantly catch the readers’ attention.

Make yourself comfortable and enjoy Maria’s insights.

How to recognize a romance book cover?

Romance book covers definitely stand out among other genres. In particular, we can often see elegant and playful script fonts for the book title and various decorative elements to enhance the romantic atmosphere. 

Besides, the imagery choice is typical. For example, it can be a couple in love, flowers, or a sunset – I mean visuals strongly associated with love.

Why do subgenres matter in romance cover design?

When designing a romance book cover, attention to the subgenres is crucial. It’s all about making a great first impression and catching the eye of potential readers with certain expectations. So, how to meet those expectations?

I can single out a few key design elements:

  • Colors. They help create the right atmosphere. For example, bright, saturated hues are an excellent choice for paranormal and contemporary romance. If it’s a historical romance, it’s better to take muted colors.
  • Typography. Fonts should also match the declared era and mood of the romantic story. If it’s a dark romance, gothic and serif typography will do. If it’s a romantic comedy, choose a simpler, handwritten, playful font.
  • Visuals. Indeed, you can guess the subgenre from the images. For example, paranormal romance covers usually feature magical streams, while the fantasy subgenre has mythical creatures. If readers are looking for historical romance, they expect to see an ancient castle or a dashing uniform from centuries ago.

I would like to discuss the peculiarities of erotic and dark romance, as this genre is gaining popularity now.

To create a cover in this subgenre, I recommend using an image of a couple of lovers interacting with each other. They can be hugging or kissing. However, the characters should look passionate, without smiles on their faces. At the same time, instead of a couple, you can depict only one character in a sexual pose.

To create the right atmosphere, I advise you to give preference to a dark palette with the addition of a particular color for emphasis.

By the way, erotic covers don’t have to be character-based. Object-based designs also work well here. In this case, you should use images of objects that hint at and emphasize the plot, such as flower petals, accessories, or even erotic toys.

How to choose the right color palette for romance book covers?

Now, let’s talk more specifically about the design elements mentioned above. I want to start with a color palette.

Hues and tones are essential because they create moods and evoke emotions. When a person is looking for a new book to read, they want to get not only an exciting story but also a certain emotional experience. The color palette helps people subconsciously understand what emotions they can expect in a particular book.

So, what colors do I recommend for a romance book cover design?

  • Light and warm shades are the perfect choice for creating an uplifting, cozy, tender atmosphere often present in romantic stories.
  • Dark and cold tones are also possible, especially when discussing dark or historical romance. They enhance the feeling of forbidden and dangerous in a love relationship.
  • Indeed, red is a color of love and passion.
  • Pink and beige colors are associated with love, tenderness, and fragility.
  • Contrasting vivid hues are also welcome, especially in vector-illustrated covers for romantic comedies.

So, to choose the perfect color palette for a romance book cover, think about the feelings and moods of your love story. Is it light and cheerful or serious and tragic? Once you understand this, you will find the perfect scheme.

What type of typography suits romance book covers the best?

Just like colors, typography can also express certain emotions and moods. You’ve probably noticed this. Handwritten fonts look playful and informal, while massive sans serifs are associated with series themes and issues.

Speaking about romance, I would like to say that various typography styles can suit such stories. Moreover, much depends on the subgenres. Here are some of my picks:

  • For light-hearted stories, it can be a neatly written font or a sharp script font
  • A serif or chopped font may be suitable for modern romance in combination with a script font. 
  • For paranormal romance, a decorative serif font in combination with a written font may be suitable.

How to choose imagery for romance book cover design?

To choose an image for romance book covers, you should first decide on the type of design because it can be:

  • Character-based, where the focus is on a couple in love or the main character.
  • Object-based with a symbolic object as a focal point.
  • Bright vector-illustrated cover.
  • Minimalist or typography-based design, enhanced by small decorative details.

As for me, all types of designs work really well for romance. But again, readers have certain expectations about subgenres. For example, romantic comedy fans are used to vector designs, while fans of erotic stories want to see attractive characters.

After choosing the type of design and the central visual element, you can complement the composition with the following things:

  • Beautiful landscapes
  • Flowers and sweets
  • Jewelry
  • Hearts and ribbons
  • Candles
  • Doves

All these things are associated with the theme of love and can enhance the romantic atmosphere.

My favorite romance premade book cover

Speaking about a perfect romance cover, for me, it is when the atmosphere matches the genre, the colors are harmoniously combined, and there is nothing superfluous.

To illustrate this, I want to share one of my favorites. 

Here, all tones and shades are in harmony. The red color looks exquisite with gold. The silver title stands out nicely and, at the same time, compliments the color of the man’s shirt. The image of the couple conveys passion and creates a romantic feeling. Two types of fonts are used for the title, which makes it more captivating and attention-grabbing.

What do I pay attention to when designing a romance book cover? 

It all starts with finding inspiration and direction. Mostly, I am inspired by the book’s plot – this is how I understand what visual elements to include in the composition. I also pay attention to references, if provided by the author. This helps me better understand the writer’s vision and satisfy their desires.

My secret is to create an accent on the book cover that will instantly attract the attention of potential readers. It can be typography or some symbolic object. If it is a character-based design, I make the characters attractive and fascinating.

What can I recommend to aspiring romance book cover designers?

I recommend immersing yourself in the genre to really grasp what resonates with potential readers. Think about the colors that speak to your story – do you envision vibrant hues or perhaps softer, more subtle tones? Consider whether you want to depict characters on the cover. 

If you prefer to leave some things to the readers’ imagination, opt for silhouettes or symbolic elements like flowers. You might also decide that a striking typography-based design is the way to go. The choice should reflect your unique vision for the story. This research and self-reflection will guide you in creating a cover that’s not only visually appealing but also true to the heart of your romance novel.

Did you enjoy this journey through romance book cover design? Feel free to share your opinion with us in the comments.

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