Updated April 2023
Your self-published book may be historical fiction, but that doesn’t mean your cover art has to be stuck in the past! The latest cover art trends for historical fiction are taking the genre in a direction that’s more aesthetically pleasing to the modern reader without necessarily sacrificing old-fashioned charm. Our forecasters at Self-Publishing Relief predict a captivating blend of both vintage and cutting-edge designs for upcoming historical fiction covers.
Book Cover Trends For Self-Published Historical Fiction
Sans Serif Fonts
Almost everyone is familiar with a serif font like Times New Roman. Many authors think this is a great go-to font when designing the cover art for a historical fiction novel. But right now, many authors are opting for more modern sans serif fonts in place of traditional (dare we say stuffy) fonts. Some popular choices are Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana—but there are plenty of other sans serifs like Avant Garde, Futura, and Gill Sans too! Have you seen a font you like, but don’t know what it’s called? Check out this font-finding lifesaver!
So many historical fiction covers are showing the power of strategic design. While you may have found the perfect image for your cover, you might want to also consider splicing the image with another or adding additional design elements to fit the tone and theme of your work. Graphic overlays aren’t just aesthetically appealing—they can be used to tell a visual story or set the mood before readers have even opened your book! But be mindful, because beautiful covers that don’t actually represent your book are a strategy you definitely want to avoid.
If saturated colors or vintage images don’t suit your style or your book, don’t worry! Minimalist designs are also “in” for historical fiction. Writers are using abstract shapes, basic colors, and simple designs to represent their stories. However, in minimalistic design, every single design decision counts. Don’t stress; check out Minimalism 101!
A fun, new technique that has piqued the interest of historical fiction writers is placing text strategically around the focal points and images of the cover art. This precise text-wrapping gives the visual impression of 3D text. It’s a great way to make sure your self-published title stands out from other titles, while also using an eye-catching design technique. Remember, your book cover is your strongest point-of-purchase sales generator!
Many authors are forgoing photographs and digital images and are instead opting for a hand-painted effect. These cover designs emphasize color over form. Color is one of the most important elements when designing your own cover for your self-published book. You can use paintbrush strokes and colors to represent the themes and emotions of the book rather than straightforward images. Some paint textures can have a nostalgic effect on readers, pulling them back to a simpler moment in time that existed before graphic design. The irony is that you have to use modern techniques to achieve this effect!
If historical fiction isn’t your genre, Self-Publishing Relief still has you covered! Check out the cover art design trends for these genres:
Question: Which is your favorite historical fiction cover design?