Symbol & Typography Book Covers (Dark)

Welcome to the dark symbol & typography cover section, and dark fantasy covers.
Dark fantasy book covers vary between character based covers, symbol covers and typography covers. I have specialized in the symbol and typography covers side of this genre, more than the character based covers, however, I work with both.
Super steamy paranormal romance stories are also now moving more towards this style of cover without characters, called "discreet" covers, to allow the author to participate in things like AMS ads without having to worry about character poses or clothing. Plus they allow the reader to read the paperback without anyone knowing they're reading a steamy story.
As a book cover designer, I do a lot of work with symbol and typography book covers and greatly enjoy the challenge they present.

Dark Symbol & Typography Portfolio

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  • Kim Richardson
    Karen was a pleasure to work with. Her work on my covers was absolutely fantastic. I wanted covers that stood out, and that’s exactly what I got. My covers came out better than I had imagined. Outstanding. She went above and beyond my expectations. I have a lot of books, and I can honestly say these covers are my favorite. I’m thrilled with her work and cannot recommended her highly enough.
    Kim Richardson, USA Today  Bestselling Author
  • Elizabeth Hunter
    Karen was a joy to work with for my new book! Her enthusiasm, vision, and flexibility ensured that I’ll be coming back to Arcane Covers in the future.
    Elizabeth Hunter,  USA Today  Bestselling Author
  • Eve Newton
    This is the first time I’ve worked with Karen and she was fantastic. The turnaround on my premade titling was really quick and she was a doll when I needed to change the subtitle after the final copy was sent to me. Will definitely work with Karen again.

    Eve Newton,  USA Today  Bestselling Author
  • Brien Feathers
    Karen is awesome to work with. Fast turnaround time, super friendly, and incredible creativity. I first reached out to her to get a new cover for my existing book, and now I'm looking to continue working with her for the rest of the series. I would highly recommend her both as an artist and a service provider.
    Brien Feathers
  • Cassie Sanchez

    Karen was a blast to work with on my cover, which I’ve received so many compliments for, and my character cards. She made my protagonist come to life in a way that blew my mind. Her experience, patience, and responsiveness will have me coming back time and time again.

    Cassie Sanchez

Dark Fantasy Book Covers Info

Dark fantasy book covers are for stories in this unique sub-genre of fantasy. Typically, the stories have an ominous tone, gloomy atmosphere and a theme of good versus evil, What differentiates them from most other fantasy, however, is that good isn't guaranteed to win. The protagonists equally aren't your usual fantasy heroes... they might simply be less evil than the antagonist. There's no clean line between good and evil and the stories often show that no one is immune to corruption. Dark fantasy gives the reader unparalleled suspense as you never know which side will win until the final page.

Discreet Covers

There's a new trend for stories with a high steam level, where instead of characters posed in a more risque way, authors are leaning towards symbol and typography covers, called "discreet" covers, so marketplaces like Amazon can't penalize them by banning their AMS ads.

Book Cover Designer

Authors of dark fantasy need a book cover designer that understands the tropes involved and what  book cover designs appeal to the readers that are looking for one of the types of dark fantasy stories. I love reading dark fantasy, especially the ones with a little romance in and a powerful female main character with interesting powers.
What emotions are readers going through that lead them to look for a dark fantasy story? What I've seen is that they're looking for something more realistic than your average fantasy story, because they want emotional validation for something they're going through. Books are safe places to experience your worst fears without any actual threat. Facing extraordinary issues, you get to learn about your self and how you would react in vastly different situations that you would probably never come across. Characters that are more like us, instead of ones that have won the genetic and fate lottery, give us a way to see that the solutions to our everyday problems might just be out there.

Dark Fantasy Book Cover Tropes

When it comes to dark fantasy, there are three main types of stories that need to be distinguished between via the cover tropes...
  • Books that are largely read by women, which tend to have romance in them.
  • Books that are largely read by men, which tend more towards the epic fantasy vibe.
  • Books that have outright horror elements in them. These overlap with the sub-genre of Grimdark.
There are also several content tropes that go well with dark fantasy, including shifters, fae, vampires, demons, fallen angels, reapers and urban witches.

Female Read Dark Fantasy With Romance

For dark fantasy, women tend to lean towards stories with some romance in it... usually risky romance with dangerous characters, like assassins. The characters tend to be more real and gritty with flaws and real life issues. The romance side of things shows that despite the senseless, depressing world the characters inhabit, hope and good can't entirely be stamped out. All this needs to be seen in the cover. The characters often look sexy but equally fierce and capable of fighting. For instance, you might see the character in a silk dress carrying a sword or dagger, looking at the viewer like they're next on the hit list.

Male Read Dark Fantasy Epics

With dark fantasy, men seem to lean towards the epic fantasy vibe of it. Instead of traditional epic fantasy where the idealized, prophesied hero will always win against evil, the dark fantasy equivalent gives the reader that suspense element because you never know who will triumph in the end. The characters tend to be more real and gritty with flaws. This shows up in the covers. They often have sweeping vistas like epic fantasy, however the characters look darker and rougher and the cover has some kind of movement in it.

Horror Based Dark Fantasy / Grimdark

Covers for this type of dark fantasy need to show that horror element. If your story has grimdark or horror within in, you need to make potential readers aware of this. Those that enjoy that type of story will then be attracted to the cover and more likely to buy your book. Those that don't like that type of story, on the other hand, will then avoid it, cutting out bad reviews from readers that were upset by the violence.
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Hi! My name is Karen Dimmick.
I've loved fantasy and magic for as long as I can remember & have been in the publishing industry for nearly a decade.
I know how important is it for a book to look its best, and for potential readers to be able to tell at a glance it's a book they'll enjoy. Without that, even great stories go unread.
As you'll see from my testimonials, my clients love working with me because I'm easy to work with, communicate well and deliver on time, like you'd expect any professional to do.
Born in England, I now live in Florida, USA with my husband. I've traveled the world, living in Europe and Asia. I've had my own bestselling non-fiction book, as well as fiction books, so I've seen both sides of the cover design process.
I believe authors should be able to give their books every possible chance to succeed, with a cover that attracts readers and meets the reader's expectations for the genre.
That's why I created Arcane Covers - to help you make your book shine.
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