Urban Fantasy Book Covers Info
Urban fantasy stories are those that are set in an urban environment like a city, usually in our modern day reality. The difference from real life however, is that that are magical elements as well as real world ones.
Authors of urban fantasy need a book cover designer that understands the genre and what book cover designs appeal to the readers that are looking for an urban fantasy story. This genre more than almost any other has a very specific look that hasn't changed a lot over time, so authors need a cover that screams UF to attract the right readers, if they want to sell their book.
So, what makes a reader reach for a UF book?
Because these stories are set in our world, they feel very realistic. This allows the reader to associate themselves very easily with the main character and feel like the magical side of the environment could actually exist. Urban fantasy has also become a kind of umbrella incorporating a lot of other sub-genres into itself, from fantasy and paranormal romance arcs to crime, suspense, mystery and even horror. Not only that, most of the magical creatures that appear in UF stories also have their roots in mythology, legends, wicca, occult and folk tales giving it the most diverse range magical beings in any genre.
All this allows readers to imagine what might be beyond our visible world and feel like where we exist might be less mundane than we realize.
When it comes to urban fantasy, there are several distinct looks that come under UF.
- General urban fantasy
- Dark urban fantasy
There are also several content tropes that go well with urban fantasy, including shifters, fae, vampires, demons, fallen angels, gods/demi-gods, reapers and witches.
When it comes to urban fantasy, you want to see a city or skyline in the image. This is essentially what tells the reader it's an urban fantasy story. Add to that that usual brightly colored, glowing magic effects, the metallic text and lots of turquoise, pink, purple and the reader will instantly know the cover is for an urban fantasy story.
The main character is largely female with an attitude, a sword and some magic. They're often dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, but more recently they'll have a cropped top instead. Sometimes there's a male character on the cover with her too.
These types of covers have another very clearly defined look. There is almost always a wrought iron gate in front of a big building, with the main character standing in front of it, dressed in some kind of uniform. Often it's a short pleated tartan skirt with a shirt and tie, but other uniforms work just as well. The subtitle or title also has the world academy in it and instead of "book 1", you get "semester 1" for the book number. Once again, the brightly colored, glowing magic and metallic text feature a lot on these covers.
There is a growing trend of more de-saturated covers, some also have some very dark colors or even black on them. These tend to cover the more gritty / dark stories.