The book cover colors you choose will depend on the emotions or feelings you want your cover to evoke. Your book cover design professional should use a combination of colors that speak to your topic and attract your target audience.
Lighter pastel colors are calming, making them suitable for feminine and self-help topics. Darker solids are more masculine, which work well for topics geared toward men. Bright primary colors are fun and attract children. They also work well for humorous books.
Choose book cover colors that suit the topic. Reds and yellows go well with a book on barbecue recipes. Green fits money management and investment or ecological topics. Darker blue is for business, where lighter blue goes with self-help or spiritual topics.
As a general rule, limit the number of different book cover colors to three or four; otherwise the cover will look too busy. If a central image on the cover contains several colors, the rest of the cover should employ just one or two colors that complement the image.
Light colors should be used against dark backgrounds and vice versa. This is to help the text stand out clearly. However, you will be surprised at the number of book covers printed dark on dark or light on light, which washes out the impact.
The book cover color combinations below will give you a general sense of the categories they tend to represent. This list is not definitive. Go to a bookstore or look online at book cover colors to see how these combinations are incorporated into actual designs.
The first color is the predominant color—the main theme or background color. The second color(s) represent the accent, which might be used sparingly or generously in the typeface or as a border or design element. Note that black and white have been included only as predominant colors, as they tend to complement nearly every color.
Brown + Dark Orange, Mustard, Tan
Dark Green + Brown, Tan
Mustard + Brown, Green, Tan
White + Gray, Silver
Black + Gold, Tan, Purple
Rust or Maroon + Black, Blue
Sage + Black, Mustard, Orange, Red
Blue + Light Blue
White + Blue
Orange + Mustard
Light Yellow + Tan
Blue + Light Blue
Purple + Light Blue
Dark Orange + Light Blue
Yellow + Sliver
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