Book Cover Analysis: Romance/Chick-Lit

Title: The Problem With Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Jacket Design: Unknown
Publisher: Harlequin Mira Ink (Imprint of HarperCollins)
Date: 2016
Format: paperback
Cover finish: matt lamination
ISBN: 978-1-848-45457-6
Extent: 474
Spine Width: 1.5 inches
Age Range: 13+









Images my own

The thing that is most striking about these cover illustrations is the prominent use of colour. It is watercolour that has splashed on a canvas and has merged colours – this looks as though it was done on the canvas and then scanned into the computer.

The use of colour instantly jumps out to the consumers. I bought this on Amazon and I imagine that it would have the same effect on the bookshelf in Waterstones.

The matt lamination, however, works as though it has the real effect of the paint on the canvas but the illustrations would be stronger with a different use of finish. If there was expenses to do so, I think that this design would be stunning on a cloth-bound hardback. This would look and feel as though the paint was done straight onto your book.

The use of three fonts is a little unusual and it sounds as though it should not work well – but I think it works as well as three different fonts can. The words “problem” and “forever” are designed to jump out on the page and this does it well. I also like the distressed effect on “forever” as this gives hints on what is to come in the plot of the novel.

For me, I had not heard of Jennifer L. Armentrout before and this is the first book I have purchased by her. The cover has “bestselling author” above her name which I think is important and will encourage people to pick up her book. I didn’t actually notice this until analysing the cover as the illustrations are so bright and eye-catching I didn’t look at the smaller details.

The back cover features a small photograph of the author which I like. I think this reflects the YA Fiction genre – sometimes we like to see what the author looks like to put a face to the book. I think this helps with understanding the plot – for teenagers and young adults, I think we subconsciously think about ourselves in the characters and its helpful to know who the author is and do we resonate with them.










The front cover interiors feature more information about the author – where she grew up, her career and her social media links. The first line says “#1 New York Times and International bestselling author” which follows on from the statement on the front cover. In the back cover interiors, there are more links to the publishers Instagram and Twitter. Again, this reflects the reader and encourages us to look them up on social media.

Back to the cover design, I think creating a design by hand can leave a statement and make the book stand out on the shelf. Watercolour illustrations may make you think of children’s book at first, but, if done well, they can work with any genre and demographic.

Similar Designs: 

I have found more examples of how watercolour is used on the cover of YA books:

harry potter

Found here.


Found here.

Minna May:


Found here.

Thomas Taylor:


This is a different take on use of watercolour. Lots of small details have been painted unlike some of the other designs being discussed. It is interesting to see the difference between things that can be created using the same thing. There is a full article here on this design. 

Kristy Fleming:



Found here.

Linda Huang:


Found here.

Linda’s work is really inspiring. She has a unique taste for design and creates something different each time. Whilst they are not all necessarily watercolour, here are some of her designs on her website that I like:


Images taken from here.

This middle design on the bottom row is watercolour. It is simple, yet enticing due to the red on the white background which could be interpreted into different things – I see either a drop of blood or it kind of resembles a sunset above the water. Here is a closer look:


All of these designs above show the versatility of just one tool and how it can be applied to any genre and any book. Use of colour and space is really important with watercolour. Colours can be blended together as seen in my book of discussion, or, one colour can be used to create a sudden impact and statement, as seen in the last book cover.

More interesting things:

A Watercolour front cover up for saleAngela Haddon. Just another example of the use of a simple palette for a book cover design.

Watercolour Media Maker KitWe and The Colour. This shows that watercolour can also be used for smaller, intricate designs – not just big areas of colour.

Places We’ve Seen use of WatercolourGo Media. 

Sasha Prood – Watercolour Typography:


Image taken from website



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