Book covers don’t always need a lot of bells and whistles to pack a punch. Witness: this week, we’re profiling some of the best YA book covers done mostly in black and white—covers that prove a monochromatic color palette can be just as exciting as a blaring neon one.
Which of these covers is the most compelling? Vote below, and if you think we missed out on your favorite, let us know in the comments!
Feel inspired? Hyperion is giving design lovers a chance to prove their chops with a contest that allows readers to design a book cover and get a professionally-printed copy of their work!
After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
Set in a land of snow and ice, this novel’s cover fits its theme: the white sky and dusky tree silhouettes convey the deadness of winter combined with a generally sinister aura. When color does appear, it’s used subtly and with specificity: check out the small, bright-red subtext reading: “everyone is gone.” Gulp.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Evoking the look of a vintage photograph, this grayscale cover uses a monochromatic palette both to convey a sense of all things old, dusty, and antique, as well as to get across that vaguely spooky vibe. It also helps that the girl on the front appears to be ever-so-slightly hovering off the ground.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Like After the Snow, this book’s cover is almost entirely in black and white, save for a few key uses of bright red. Unlike After the Snow, the red here is meant to emphasize the romantic instead of the sinister: the word Love in the title is colored in vermillion, while a small red heart encircles the lovey-dovey couple on the front.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Now, if this cover doesn’t send a little shiver down your spine, you must be totally fearless. Heavier on the black side of the black-and-white scale, this unquestionably creepy image shows a monstrous figure descending on a moonlit house. This is what we mean about monochromatic covers still packing a punch: you don’t need color to be drawn to visuals like this.
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
While A Monster Calls is all murky darkness, Silence‘s cover amps up the contrast. The action and high drama of this image is unmistakable: two characters cast in dark silhouettes stand against the near-glowing spray of a wave. Oh yeah, and the guy’s got a wingspan the length of a bald eagle’s. That would be hard to miss.
Starters by Lissa Price
The ghostly image emblazoned on the front of Starters is startling in its immediacy: a young girl peers directly out at us, all of the color drained from her face and from the background image of computer circuit boards. Instead of red, this cover design uses small touches of electric blue to offset the monochromatic image.
Double by Jenny Valentine
At first, the image here appears almost abstract: it’s hard to discern that those are, in fact, shrouded hands pressed against a rain-splattered pane of glass. The monochromatic scheme in play here gives the cover a look that’s extra dreary and murky, an effective strategy that matches the content of this dark and thrilling read.
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