Book covers speak better than words. Here’s how you can evoke the right emotions and intrigue your target audience with the help of a book cover.

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

When you pick up some books in a store, you are convinced that these stories are fascinating, even though you haven’t read them yet. Why does this happen? It’s simple: Their book covers evoke the emotions you are thirsty for.

If you want your books to make the same impression, you should know how to build an emotional connection with your readers with the help of a book cover. And today, we want to share the secrets of this process with you.

How do people decide which book to buy?

This question worries many authors so much that a few years ago. Canadian Book Consumer Study 2021 reveals the main reasons why people choose certain books:

  • 51% of people read the book description
  • 33% of respondents consider the reviews
  • 30% of readers look at the book’s subject and genre
  • 28% choose books by their covers.

If we go to Reddit and ask why people choose certain books, we will also find a book cover as one of the main arguments among the answers. Why look far and wide: How do you choose which book to buy? We bet you pay attention to book covers, among other reasons too.

As an author, you can hardly influence which books people recommend to their friends (unless you are a master of hypnosis). However, you can do your best to make your book cover attractive to potential readers.

And it’s not that the cover was flashy. It should evoke emotions and moods that the reader wants to experience.

Why does an emotional connection with your readers matter?

A book cover cannot be neutral. Instead, it should evoke emotions that the reader wants to get.

  • People read fiction books to have an experience not available to them in everyday life.
  • The book’s look should hint at what awaits readers even before reading the abstract.
  • When choosing a book, the reader knows whether they want to explore strange worlds, fall in love, be scared, or get inspired to adventure.
  • A book cover that evokes emotion is a direct way to attract your target audience.

Before contacting a book cover designer, decide what mood and emotions your book should evoke. After all, it affects the design elements the specialist will use.

For example, while filling out the brief for designing her new book cover, Maia Ross included many details on her novel’s mood. She noted that the tone is funny, techy, water and boating-oriented with a touch of the ridiculous. This description turned out to be a real treasure, and our designer created this playful and adorable book cover:

Book cover design by MiblArt

Thus, the more direct information on a desired mood and emotions you provide, the more impactful book cover you get. Don’t be afraid to add plenty of details.

How to create a book cover that evokes emotions?

The most powerful elements you can use to design an emotional book cover are color, imagery, and typography. Let’s see how they work in detail.


Have you ever felt that yellow warms your soul, blue cools you, and pink sets you in a romantic mood? Most likely, you have. This is not surprising because people have strong, well-defined associations between colors, temperature, smell, and emotions.

It is not surprising that designers actively use this feature of human psychology. Here are some more examples of how color works with mood:

  • Red is associated with energy, confidence, and passion. In addition, it is also the color of danger, blood, anger, and rage.
  • Orange is about joy, pleasure, strength, and energy. Besides, it’s associated with struggle and battles.
  • Yellow is the color of good mood and warmth. It provokes motivation, creativity, and imagination.
  • Green stands for nature, vitality, and health. But we also associate it with magic, paranormal phenomena, and mystery.
  • Blue goes along with magic and miracles. It’s about peace and meditation. However, blue also stands for mental tension, mystery, and wisdom.
  • Purple is perfect if we want to evoke a sense of spirituality, mystery, magic, and fantasy.
  • Pink is about youth, romance, dreams, and emotion. But different shades of this color can seem weak and silly.
  • White is associated with spirituality, clearness, and energy. It also goes with silence and death.
  • Black is about the dark side and depression. Moreover, it can evoke the feeling of power and authority.

Let’s see how colors work in practice in the book cover design.

Book cover design by MiblArt
  • Most of the cover area has twilight blue and green colors, which are associated with mystery and the afterlife.
  • The silver and white colors of the character and moon are about spirituality, death, and the afterlife.
  • We also can see much of the black hue for the dark side and depression.
  • The red color hints at blood, murder, scare, and danger.

The combination of these hues makes this spectrum perfect for the mystery and suspense genre with horror elements.


Like colors, the objects we see on book covers also evoke certain emotions. After all, when we see a couple of lovers, flowers, and Venetian landscapes, don’t we get in a romantic mood?

Imagery is essential for both emotional connection and genre. They have particular canons regarding objects designers should pick to attract the target audience. Here is just a small list of examples:

  • Flowers, hearts, birds, and candles set a romantic mood
  • Puzzles, fingerprints, sunglasses, and weapons create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense
  • Bakery, sweets, tea, soft armchairs, and cute pets evoke the feeling of comfort and coziness
  • Ghosts, moon, cemetery, and blood cause fear and anxiety
  • Armor, castles, and mythical creatures call for adventure.

Let’s look at the objects depicted on this book cover and consider what they evoke.

Book cover design by MiblArt
  • Mysterious mountain landscape creates an atmosphere of adventure.
  • A frightening and dangerous dragon grabs much attention and hints that this adventure is full of dangers and difficulties.
  • The main character in the center, with his back turned, gives the reader room for imagination about his appearance and allows them to associate with the protagonist.
  • The hero’s cloak shows that he is associated with magic and ancient wisdom.
  • A glowing wand in his hands stands for power and strength.

This imagery suits the fantasy book perfectly, highlighting all its peculiarities.


When designers choose fonts for book covers, they pick one that suits the genre and complements the imagery. But do you know that typography can also evoke emotions and create a mood?

Grace Fussell gives some examples of how popular fonts work in design:

  • Serif fonts stand for stability, tradition, intellect, and trust
  • Slab Serifs are about power, strength, and endurance
  • Sans Serifs are friendly fonts associated with modernity, innovations, and adventures
  • Modern Sans Serifs are considered to be chic, futuristic, and elegant, as well as playful, naive, and entertaining
  • Scripts are about creativity, amusement, fun, and romance.

In the book cover design, typography also often includes decorative elements that emphasize the novel’s title, play with the theme and hide essential symbols. It’s time to see it in practice:

Book cover design by MiblArt
  • This Serif font is associated with the Middle Ages, fantasy, and alternative world.
  • The marble and stone effect evokes the feeling of strength of character, power, and hard times.
  • The blood spots on the title hint that it’s a dangerous adventure with tough battles.
  • You can also notice tiny decorative elements in the form of arrows associated with the novel’s theme.

So it’s not just typography. It evokes a whole range of thoughts and emotions.

Let’s recap

An emotional connection with a potential reader is a direct way to encourage them to buy your book. However, first, decide what emotions and moods your book cover should evoke. Then, use colors, imagery, and typography to their full extent to build the connection.

If you are working with a professional book cover designer, provide information on what mood and emotions your cover should evoke. Either it should be romantic, playful, scary, thrilling, or other. It will help the designer to create an emotionally impactful cover using those three elements.

What are your favorite book covers that evoke strong emotions? Share examples in the comments!

How to Build an Emotional Connection with Your Readers with the Help of a Book Cover was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Author: MiblArt