Five Trends for Thriller & Mystery Book Covers in 2015

Of all of the markets indies have infiltrated, the genre of thrillers and mysteries has been one of the hardest nuts to crack. Why are self-publishers capturing a proportionally smaller market-share to the Big 5? I’m not sure. But I do know that if indies want to take a bigger slice of the pie, we’ll need covers to match. Here are some trends I’ve noticed with thriller covers — from the Big 5 and otherwise:

1.)White & Red

Thrillers and mysteries are usually the domain of dark colors and sinister silhouettes. In fact the amazing cover designer of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo counted it as a point of pride when he subverted tropes by choosing a bright yellow color palette for the soon to be best seller. Maybe it’s unsurprising then that the rest of the thriller world seems to have fallen in love lighter colors too. White and red in particular. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these covers, hand-picked from Amazon’s Top 100 thriller list.


2.) Type Integrated into the Image

The thriller genre is no stranger to deliciously large sans-serifs. But with the new year, thrillers are getting more playful with their type. From Gone Girl’s type disappearing act to dynamic choices for David Baldacci’s The Escape, it’s not just enough to slap on some text and call it a day anymore.


3.) Cute Makes a Comeback

If you read between the dark and dangerous lines of the thriller section, you can find some wonderfully cute design. I predict in 2015 the cozy mystery stays strong.

4.) Just the Basics, M’am.

Simple is definitely in style in 2015. Check out some of these striking covers that involve type and just a single image or illustration.

5.) Objects of Our Affection.

And finally, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t notice the outcropping of Gillian Flynn style covers featuring simple objects made dynamic by either creative cropping or — you guessed it– a touch of blood. Note. The white and red trend crops up again even here with Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.

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