The best cookbook covers are those that inspire us to cook. They fill our imagination with smells, lifestyles and flavors. To invoke these feelings, you need a cookbook cover design with all the right ingredients. Luckily we’re here to help you find just the right recipe for you. The cookbook covers outlined in this article should have you leaving with a stomach full of ideas and inspiration. Let’s get cookin’!

Earth toned cookbooks

Let’s start with a design style that represents the place that food comes from: earth! Earth-toned cookbook covers contain muted greens, yellows and reds. These are colors which aim to bring the reader closer to earth and nature. They can be used as backgrounds, color fills or in patterns that nature lovers will respond well to. If your next cookbook aims to create a connection between the reader and nature, think about an earth-tone cookbook cover.

Conceptual covers for conceptual cookbooks

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Food Before 5 cover by Lovlie.
The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners cover via iTunes.

A staple in the cookbook world has always been conceptual books, or books which aim to influence not just what we eat, but how we think about food, such as meals you can complete before 5PM, or cocktails that you can make with liquor you have at home. Designers can complement this style of cookbook with the use of conceptual design, such as the illustration of a woman sitting on top of a massive cupcake on the cover of The Carb Party Diet. The concept is clear from looking at the cover: If you are a woman trying to lose weight, you can still eat enough carbs to make a metaphorical giant cupcake! This high-concept is translated into book design by using stylized graphics reminiscent of chick-lit book covers. It’s immediately clear who the target audience is for this book. This concept-driven design approach could be perfect match for your next concept-based cookbook.

Bright and fresh colors

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Hello Summer cover by jeffreybalch.

When it comes to jumping off the shelf, there’s nothing like a cookbook with bright and fresh colors. On top of being visually stimulating, bright colors express food freshness and health. Who doesn’t like that? This aesthetic also has a high-end appeal and often showcases the classiest of modern delicacies. Whether it’s bright green cucumber smoothie, a vibrating red fruit drizzle over a brownie or bright summer blue, incorporating bright colors could give your next fresh cookbook the up-scale visual pop it needs.

Stirring up some rustic and hearty imagery

The warm and savory side of the food spectrum brings rustic and hearty design elements and imagery. Think deep colors, aged aesthetics and even the use of classical and painterly art mediums. If your cookbook is all about rustic food, think about setting your food photo on a deep charcoal-color or stained wooden table. If photography isn’t your taste, think about asking for a rough colored pencil or painted rendering of the food featured in your book. This approach should help put your readers in the mood to eat warm and comforting food by a fire.

Books baked in personality

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Cravings cover via E! News.
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Kitchen Confidential cover via Anneconventional.
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Food, Health, and Happiness cover via Oprah.com.

No one likes being alone in the kitchen. That’s what celebrity cookbooks are for! They give the reader a sense of having a cooking master right alongside them every step of the way. Since the appeal of these books is the celebrity, it’s important to feature them on the cover. While the classic approach of featuring the smiling celebrity chef next to mouth-watering food works just fine, don’t be afraid to let some personality show, such as serious attitude in Kitchen Confidential.

This design approach isn’t only for big time celebrities: Cooking for Paris features a photograph of a woman who brought southern hospitality to her small home kitchen in Paris. This woman’s story is interesting enough that she doesn’t have to be a celebrity to peak the reader’s interest. If your cookbook features someone with a story or a celebrity personality, make sure to feature them on the cover in a way that allows their personality to shine.

Recipe books with more than a dash of bold flavor

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Sous Vide at Home cover via Amazon.
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Project Smoke cover via Amazon.
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The All Purpose Lentil Cookbook cover by Martis Lupus
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Thug Kitchen cover via Amazon.
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Flour Water Salt Yeast cover via Amazon.

Some foods need no introduction. When it comes to cookbooks featuring bold flavors, don’t be afraid to showcase some no-frills imagery as seen in the examples above. Just a simple photo of a crispy loaf of bread or a piece of meat on the grill can be enough to entice any food-lover. For cookbooks featuring bold-flavored foods that aren’t as exciting to look at, don’t be afraid to resort to illustration as done in The All Purpose Lentil Cookbook, which features bold and colorful lentils surrounding some decorative typography.

Feeling inspired? If not you might just be hungry! Before running for the kitchen, think about which one of these design styles will allow your cookbook to connect with your readers. Bon appétit!

Want to get a delectable cover for your cookbook or recipe book? Start a book cover design contest today!