Fantasy Book Covers Design

by CJ McDaniel // January 18  

Creating book covers is an essential part of the publishing process, and a lot of thought goes into their design. For example, fantasy book covers are some of the most intricate and beautiful ones in the market. They often feature stunning artwork that helps to set the tone for the story within the book it represents.

Fantasy Book Covers

Below are some cover designs that visually represent their stories and the fantasy genre well.

1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

fantasy book covers the hundred thousand kingdomsFantasy readers will enjoy the cover art just as much as they enjoy the novel, which is why it is essential to make an aesthetically pleasing cover that correctly portrays the story. For example, this cover is beautifully done, with the author’s name at the top and the title at the bottom. They form a frame of words that adds to, instead of contrasts with, the stunning picture in the middle. The image is an immediate declaration to the fantasy world: a large castle that seems to float on the water, and a woman in the background looks over it. However, it is unknown if she looks menacingly or benignly. As the first book in the series, it tells the readers that when they finish this one, the story isn’t over, and for most readers, this is excellent news! No one likes to complete reading a book because it means the end of the story. This cover promises that the story continues even after the last page. Hence, this is genuinely a fantastic cover.

2. The Ruined City by Paula Brandon

fantasy book covers the ruined cityRegarding fantasy book covers, contrasting elements can have either a positive or a negative effect. Either way, something small usually doesn’t make or break the book cover itself. This cover is an exception, as seen with a stark contrast between the idea made in the title and the brilliant picture that fills the background. When read, the title brings to mind images of a destroyed city; buildings collapsed, streets on fire, and devoid of life. However, the brightly colored white font and especially the intricate design surrounding the letter C make it sound like the opposite. Suppose that didn’t have a contrasting effect. In that case, the background image certainly does, with a girl sitting outside what looks like a magnificent city, wearing a beautiful dress, with flowers in her lap and dazzling lights surrounding her. Immediately the reader is curious as to why, with such a beautiful scene, the story could be about a ruined city. This immense contrast makes this cover so enticing and a great overall introduction to the story.

3. The Secret of the Dragon by Carl Cupper

fantasy book covers the secret of the dragonIt’s almost impossible to browse through the fantasy section and not find at least one cover with dragons. It is, however, a little harder to find a book cover that doesn’t depict dragons as evil, human-eating creatures. That’s one thing that makes this cover stand out. Instead of a knight frozen forever in a battle to death with a dragon, this cover shows the two at peace. Instead of raising a sword, it appears the knight is raising a glass, perhaps in tribute or friendship. The dragon looks down at him with a subtle smile and wisdom in his eyes. In the background is a piece of paper, a handwritten text of some kind, and from the title in the foreground, it might have something to do with the dragon’s secret. The cover immediately dispelled a stereotype and enticed the reader’s curiosity, making this a stunning cover art.

4. Fallow Blade by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

fantasy book covers fallow bladePractically everything about this cover is devoted to the fantasy genre, from the horses with green manes to the elflike figure that rides without a saddle to the enchanting framework surrounding a clear battle image. The printed name of the title and author blends beautifully into the image, becoming one with it instead of standing out awkwardly. The smaller print at the top lets readers know that this book is part of a series and that the story started long before this rider came across the ones he is fighting. The long, wooden branches that curl their way around the bottom half of the book make it clear that this story takes place in an ancient time. Two owls look down on the scene, watching and waiting, and it is unknown to the reader if they will play a more significant part in the story. From top to bottom, this beautiful cover exhibits the essential aspects of any fantasy novel.

5. A Storm of Shadows and Pearls by Marion Blackwood

fantasy book covers a storm of shadowsThere’s something about female protagonists and their charm in fantasy books. For one, they make any book cover nothing short of beautiful. In this cover art, a large, vivid orange and brown storm brews in the background, with a lone figure holding a sword in the foreground. There weren’t many combinations of colors, yet it’s still eye-catching. The imagery on the cover also perfectly represents the book’s themes of darkness and light, as well as the conflict between good and evil. It’s as if the storm raging in the background is a metaphor for the darkness the protagonist must face, while her weapon represents the hope and purity she is fighting for in the story. Overall, the cover is stunning and conveys the themes of the book. It will catch any reader’s eye, leaving them wanting to know more about the adventures in store for them.

6. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

fantasy book covers daughter of the moon goddessFantasy book covers don’t necessarily require magical creatures to fit the part. Take a look at this book cover! It is a beautiful and intricate work of art that depicts the correct detail to support the book’s title and story. As seen in the book cover, the font choice is simple yet elegant, not too flashy, and gives the cover illustration time to shine on its own. The book cover is heavily detailed, with a moon on top and a lady below, each designed intricately. The lady shown standing in the field of flowers looks up at the moon with a sense of wonder and curiosity. This book cover is very eye-catching with its bright colors and will surely catch the eye of anyone who loves fantasy and adventure stories.

7. The Dragon Knight’s Curse by D.C. Clemens

fantasy book covers the dragon knight's curseHere’s another excellent example of a good fantasy book cover that will appeal to fantasy and adventure readers. The book cover features a powerful-looking dragon towering over a courageous knight. It’s an excellent cover illustration depicting the dragon as a fearsome creature and the knight as a brave soul ready to take on any challenge. The cover also includes the title of the book and the author’s name, both of which are easy to read, almost giving a medieval feel. Lastly, the colors are bold and eye-catching, and the overall design is eye-catching and evocative of the fantasy genre. The cover shows the impression of a fast-paced, action-packed story, typical for books in the sword and sorcery fantasy genre.

8. Curse Painter by Jordan Rivet

fantasy book covers curse painterMythical creatures aren’t the only sole aspect evident in fantasy books. Most of the time, it only requires supernatural and magical elements to make one fall into the fantasy genre. Check out this book cover! Removing the text would make readers believe it’s anything other than a fantasy book. Still, the book cover art evokes that classic and fantasy feeling, partly mysterious for its minimalist illustration. The gold elements at the sides of the book cover make it look classy and elegant, while the paint swatches embellishing the title make the text pop out more. Overall, each aspect of this cover illustration complements one another, and although it isn’t your typical fantasy book cover, it makes readers want to read the story within its pages!

9. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

fantasy book covers black leopard, red wolfFantasy book covers can go from simple to unconventional or slightly strange. This book cover falls under the latter. While its title may seem straightforward in its white font color, the illustration behind the text features so many eyes, tongues, and claws intertwined. The title, subtitle, and author’s name’s position on this cover was also a brilliant choice as it keeps the readers interested both in the text and the illustration behind it, which appears entangled with each other. The black background makes the cover illustration stand out, primarily since it features shades and hues of red, purple, and blue-green. It’s a bizarre masterpiece that easily captures the attention of fantasy readers, who may want to see if the book is indeed about a leopard and a wolf or if it’s solely a symbolism for the story that lies inside the book’s page.

10. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

fantasy book covers storm of locustsBadass—that’s enough to describe the cover illustration used for this urban fantasy book. While one may deem this book action, adventure, or crime fiction because of its cover, it falls under the urban fantasy genre. The fiery blast and the weapons the ladies hold show the book’s violent nature, yet again making onlookers curious about how it falls into fantasy fiction. As for the cover art, three figures stand a distance from what appears to be an orange glow from an explosion in a town. It’s most likely what makes this book cover badass, considering the vast difference between each lady. Then again, there’s the brilliant choice of design for the title, with the texture and font used helping it stand out despite the already captivating background.

11. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

fantasy book covers six of crowsSomething is enticing about fantasy books with minimal yet dark and haunting cover illustrations. Reflective of its title, this book cover shows a realistic-looking crow on a flight. The book’s title on top of the crow’s wings is in white and uses a fancy font. Another line of text is in red, possibly intentionally used to emphasize it, but not so much that it’ll draw the onlooker’s attention away from the title or cover illustration. What makes this art more interesting is how the feathers at the end illustrate buildings or watchtowers. It’s an excellent example of aesthetic interpretation that most books use whenever they want an animal to represent something about their book.

How Book Covers Work For Fantasy Books

For one, book covers help set the story’s mood and give readers a taste of the world within the book, whether it’s a traditional medieval setting or a more unique and imaginative one.

In addition to setting the mood and giving a glimpse of the world, book covers can also introduce readers to the story’s main characters. Fantasy book covers often feature the protagonists front and center, giving readers a chance to see what they look like and get a feel for their personalities.

Fantasy covers have to juggle the concept of providing a window to a whole fantasy world with one visually attractive representation. While it can’t tell you everything about a book, it can give you a good idea of what to expect.


Ultimately, book covers are a vital part of the fantasy genre. They can help to set the tone for the story, introduce readers to the characters, and give a glimpse of the world hidden within the pages of a book. Hence, the next time you’re browsing the shelves for your next fantasy adventure, give the book covers a closer look!

Are you in for more inspiration for your latest or upcoming Book Cover design? Find our Book Cover Ideas Blog here.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!