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Discover Few Great Travel Book Cover Design Ideas to Make You Yearn for the Outdoors
Most of us would love to drop everything and travel around the world enjoying the different cultures and people we meet. However, we often ignore the lure of this carefree nomadic lifestyle due to various responsibilities.
However, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the thrill of such adventures vicariously. And one of the best ways to do that is via travel books. Now, there is something special about these books. It doesn’t matter if you visit a bookstore for a specific travel book, or are enticed by an amazing travel book cover while browsing that section. Despite being non-fiction, these books often portray a sense of excitement and intrigue that draws readers to it.
Now, every book has its fans. And they would happily argue in favor of their preferred book’s cover design. However, like it or not, there are a few metrics that denote whether a book cover idea is good or not. So, let’s dive in and discover some great examples of book covers designed by professional eBook design services, and see what are the elements that set them apart from the competition.
What Does a Good Travel Book Cover Represent?
Let’s start with the most important question at hand – what defines a good travel book cover? When we talk about book cover ideas for travel books, there are a few key things to remember.
One, the book is going to be non-fiction, which imposes some creative limitations on the design process. Secondly, as most of these writers are previously well known, with highly recognizable literary styles and tones, the book cover design has to address that too.
Finally, the overall design needs to be enticing enough to attract people who would otherwise have little to no interest in reading non-fiction.
Take the book cover above. That is the cover art for Robert Sullivan’s Cross Country, a travel book to read for the ages. As a journalist, Robert Sullivan was at that time known for contributing to various publications. And that style is reflected in the design. The cover design features a mishmash of letters and phrases cut out from various publications, as well as from hastily scrawled notes in a journalist’s notebook.
Overall, the combined impact of the design piques a potential reader’s interest, slowly drawing them in to pick it up and start reading, after which it’s the content that captures their attention.
Travel Book Cover Design Ideas – Representing Fact or Fiction in Its Design
As we mentioned earlier, most travel books are non-fiction. However, there are a few that are not entirely unembellished, which serve as an allegorical narrative. In any way, the design of your travel book cover, whether it fiction or non-fiction, is predicated on a few different elements, such as:
- The right color combinations for your accents, to frame your central design
Your choice of color scheme is very important, as it allows you to define what colors would serve as accents to your primary shades. This would allow your central design to be more visible, which would help it stand out better among the bookstore shelves, drawing the eye of potential readers to it.
- The use of visual contrast that defines how well the central element of the design pops out
Just like the right colors can be used as accents to add to the design’s overall visual appeal, so can you use colors to provide a compelling contrast that would serve the same purpose. Not only does it make your design stand out, but it also allows the central element of your design to pop out like no other technique can, making it the hero of your travel book cover.
- The use of the right typography hierarchy that invokes the right feel
Typography is an important factor. And with more than one written element on your book cover design, it is important that you perfectly plan out the typographic hierarchy to make the central heading pop out.
- Giving your travel book cover the right character with a handwritten font
As most of these travel books are written about the author’s experiences, the book cover design must also incorporate their vibe into it. That is why a good handwritten font is the perfect solution to give your design that raw, humanistic feel that adds to the story and its vibe.
- The use of the perfect graphics to allude to the book’s story.
Nowadays, it’s rare that a book cover design has no visuals on it. Even if quite simple, the trend is to use some sort of graphics to make the design of the book’s cover stand out. That is why, you must use some sort of graphics in your book cover design. And there is no better choice than to use graphics that allude to or call back to your book’s central theme.
Eight Amazing Travel Book Cover Ideas to Make You Yearn to Travel the World
Now that you know what defines a good travel book cover, let’s see a few of them in action. Listed below are some of the most highly curated travel book covers, that perfectly represent the story’s theme within.
Let’s find out what they are.
Among the Cities – Jan Morris
The first book on our list is Among the Cities, written by famed British historian, traveler, and author, Jan Morris. The book is a compendium of thirty-seven essays that Jan wrote throughout her long and illustrious career, covering her travels from Houston to Beirut.
While the book’s cover has changed across various reprints, this one featured here is the perfect representation of the story of a traveler who traveled across the world, from the West to the East. The lightly shaded backdrop, covered by depictions of famous monuments from various countries, and done in the style of watercolors, sets the perfect tone for the reader. And it is also one of the only true art book cover ideas on this list.
Along the Ganges – Ilija Trojanow
Next up, we have the eponymous homage to the deep and mesmerizing culture of Hinduism, set against their holiest of rivers, the Ganges. The author, Ilija Trojanow, is a Cold War refugee from Bulgaria, who has traveled to and lived with different cultures, including in Germany, Kenya, South Africa, and more.
Trajonow traveled across the entire length of the Ganges river, from its source in the icy Himalayas, and through the chaotic cityscapes and holy places it flows through. There, he talked to the people, understanding their devotion and beliefs related to this river. And the cover of the book perfectly captures that essence of serenity and mystic belief. Showing a dying light shot of the river with a cluster of lit ceremonial lamps, it is set against the backdrop of worshipers in a boat across the calm waters.
An Area of Darkness – V. S. Naipaul
The next book is called An Area of Darkness, written by acclaimed traveler and author V. S. Naipaul. A Trinidadian-Indian by birth, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, and this book, part of a trilogy, shows why.
An Area of Darkness is a pessimistic story about the grim outlook of former colonies, often categorized as third-world countries, set against the background of Naipaul’s ancestral land of India. The book describes the author’s disillusionment at the corrupt officials, poverty, and inequality, set against the serene and awe-inspiring background of the magnificent Himalayas.
The cover of the book perfectly captures the pessimistic tone, with a dark red background, and the flower on it in a dark burgundy to showcase the theme of darkness.
Arctic Dreams – Barry Lopez
Arctic Dreams is a mesmerizing book about the haunting, ethereal beauty of the Arctic Circle, written by American author, traveler, and naturalist Barry Lopez. Over his long and illustrious career, Lopez traveled to and lived in over eighty different countries, with five years of that time spent in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic as a biologist.
In his book, he explores the wonders of the Arctic and discovers why that vast, seemingly barren landscape holds such an allure over many people. He also explores the culture and history of the indigenous people and examines the behavior of exotic animals like the Musk Oxen, narwhale, and more.
The cover of the book has changed with each reprint. However, the theme of awe-inspiring ice monoliths, or the barren icy tundra, perfectly captures the essence of the book’s theme.
As They Were – M. F. K. Fisher
As They Were is a collection of essays by famed food author M. F. K. Fisher. Although a food writer, she dived into the field of travel writing with this amazing book, exploring the time she spent in different European countries.
Most of the writings explore the various facets of living the provencal life, from quaint towns in the Swiss Alps to the homely restaurants and cafes she visited or worked at in Southern France. And while many people would argue that the book is, in its essence, still a culinary book, one cannot deny that it doesn’t paint a picture of idyllic food tours through rural France. Especially when you consider that its title typography gives it an old-school vibe found in many classic typography book cover ideas.
The Baron in the Trees – Italo Calvino
This next book is a rare one in this collection and one that breaks the mold of traditional travel books. The Baron in the Trees is a novel by late Italian author Italo Calvino. It tells the story of a young man named Cosimo, who takes to living in the trees after quarreling with his parents and vowing never to step foot on the ground again.
Rather than describe the travels of the author in the traditional sentence, it describes Cosimo’s exploration of his new kingdom, and seeing the world go by in the Age of Enlightenment. The story travels through the life of the baron, describing his friendships, loves, and eventually, his passing on to the ethereal plane.
The cover of the book has changed many times since its first release in 1957, often even taking inspiration from children’s book cover ideas. But the travel book cover we have chosen today perfectly captures the essence of mystery and adventure portrayed in this book.
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon – Rebecca West
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is a pair of travel books written by British author and Journalist, Dame Rebecca West. It covers her six-week travels through Yugoslavia and its neighboring Balkan states, providing a stark reality of this region just before the onset of World War II.
By the time the book reached publishing, Yugoslavia’s Nazi occupation had begun, and West added a foreword to the book praising the resilience of the Yugoslavians. The book itself describes her travels through this region extensively, as well as her conversations with fellow authors from the region, including Stanislav Vinaver and Anica Savic Rebac.
The cover of the book depicts the famous Stari Most bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A popular monument, it is a rebuilt 16th-century Ottoman bridge that connects the two parts of the city across the Neretva River.
Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux
Finally, we have the last book on this list. Dark Star Safari is a travel book written by famed author Paul Theroux. A former contemporary-turned-critic of V. S. Naipaul, the author is known for his gritty and raw style of writing, as well as the beautiful travel book cover design ideas for his books.
Describing his journey from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa, it tells the story of a harsh and difficult overland journey that is nothing short of a safari. And although it takes a hard approach, it will still make you want to replicate that journey yourself.
The travel book cover for the Dark Star Safari features a steam-powered train chugging through a vast open plain, flanked on one side by sparse trees, while on the other, nothing but dust. To give the scene a vibe of difficult and harsh travels, the imagery is bathed in the stark orange-yellow light of the setting sun, which sets the perfect mood.
Overall, finding the right travel book cover design is usually not that difficult. That is because, during their travels, these journalists often take many pictures that depict the land and its people in a way that lends to the message of the book.
However, if your book cover doesn’t feature a photograph, then you need to understand the theme of the book to come up with suitable travel book cover design ideas. In any case, your cover imagery should echo the vibe and sentiment of your book itself, as well as the personality of the author.
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