Young Adult Book Cover Design: Trends to Follow


Young adult books are pretty popular today. More than 8 million novels were sold in the first quarter of 2021. If you are a YA indie author and want your target audience to buy your books, it’s essential to know what features distinguish this genre in book cover design. In this case, potential readers will see your book at once while entering bookstores.

That’s why today we want to share book cover design trends that work for young adult literature. Let’s dive in!

What are the young adult genre peculiarities?

The target audience of young adult literature is readers aged 13 to 18. Distinctive features of such books are teenagers who face problems and solve them according to their life experiences.

Among the main topics, we find problems with parents and peers, first love, friendship and loyalty, relations with society, self-identification, the classic struggle between good and evil, etc. Young adults are distinguished by various subgenres: romance, adventure, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, humor, realism, and more.

When creating a marketable young adult book cover, it is vital to emphasize the genre of the story so that the target audience immediately finds what they are looking for. After analyzing popular books in the genre, we highlighted the main trends in book design.

Young adult book cover design by Getpremades

1. Protagonist takes the central place

Young adult novels tell about extraordinary teenagers who find themselves in the center of unusual events. It can be a fantasy story where the main character has supernatural powers or a realistic book where the hero overcomes difficult circumstances. Be that as it may, the hero and their actions are the main things in the story.

That is why young adult book covers often feature the protagonist in the center. Their bright appearance attracts the readers’ attention and beckons them to find out what happened in the story.

Young adult book cover design by Getpremades

2. Illustrated book covers prevail

An illustration is one of the most popular types of young adult book covers. This is not surprising because they are bright, saturated, and unique. This design allows you to depict anything from original characters to unusual artifacts found in the novel.

In addition, illustrations include both realistic 3D images and simple vector painting. Bright colors attract the attention of readers.

Young adult book cover design

3. Fellows surround the main character

Young adult novels are not only stories about unusual characters. These are stories about friendship and mutual help. The topic of friendship and society, in general, is crucial for teenagers because sometimes schoolmates’ opinions weigh more than parents’.

You can see the image of the main character surrounded by friends on the book covers. They usually stand behind the protagonist, hinting that they are reliable support.

Young adult book cover design by Getpremades

4. Typography is at the heart

However, young adult book covers do not only contain images of the main characters. A workable trend is allowing typography to be at the composition’s heart. The headline occupies a large part of the space on such covers as if shouting and drawing attention to itself.

The text is not just large. It is complimented with various effects, symbols, and patterns. Designers weave decorative elements into the text that convey the novel’s mood. 

Young adult book cover design

5. Minimalist object-based book cover

Another trend for young adult novels is a simple object-based book cover. Here again, we will not find the presence of heroes, but we will find essential objects important to the story. In addition, it can be attributes associated with teenagers, for example, headphones, players, accessories, notes, stationery, sneakers, etc.

Thematic objects create a frame that draws readers’ eyes to the title. Designers can use contrasting colors for the background to make the items and typography clear and understandable.

Young adult book cover design

Summing up

Speaking about YA book cover designs, we can distinguish the following peculiarities:

  • We can often see a vivid and powerful protagonist in the center of the book cover
  • If the main character isn’t alone, they are surrounded by loyal friends
  • Illustrated covers, both 3D modeling and vector paintings, prevail in the genre
  • Typography plays a vast role in young adult book cover design
  • Object-based book covers are an excellent choice for this genre.

Have you ever read young adult novels? What YA book cover design do you like the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



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