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Book cover design

Readerville has a great thread in their forums called Most Coveted Covers, a frequently updated list of well-designed book covers. Related are Edward Tufte’s book reviews, Book Design in Canada from Cardigan Industries, and an interview with Chip Kidd on Identity Theory.

Reader comments

JohnMar 29, 2003 at 5:30PM

The Hamilton book cover is my favorite out of the few, barely beating out the Miles Davis one and Gilligan's Wake cover, which I liked for their use of empty space. I'm a sucker for minimal design, no matter if the text is big or small. In the end though, I guess the blown-up Hamilton face and the offset ornamental title card win out, if just because it looks cool.

There's a bunch of really well designed covers in the edition galleries of for Animal Farm, 1984 and others. The covers are from a bunch of different countries and times, so you can compare the different design trends.

It's sort of related, but there's an article on the decline of the quality of magazine covers.

Biz StoneMar 30, 2003 at 10:56AM

Before I got into web publishing, I was a book jacket designer at Little, Brown, SMP/Picador, and freelance. A few years ago I wrote this essay about book cover design. I miss designing covers. The art dept. in publishing houses is always a fun place to work. Its where all the crazy people hang out.

MartinMar 30, 2003 at 3:37PM

On a similar theme, the BBC are looking for the nation's favourite book, in The Big Read.

rafterMar 30, 2003 at 10:42PM

To return to topic:

I've always been quite obsessive over book cover design -- often just as important to me than the design itself, though, is the texture of the cover (glossy is my worst enemy).

My favorite cover design, ever? The Vintage International Lolita. Simple and appropriate, and it feels so good under my fingers.

AugustMar 31, 2003 at 10:23PM

I've got that edition of Lolita, and the texture of that cover is amazing. But it's only my second favourite cover. My favourite is the Penguin Classics A Clockwork Orange.

Re: Dean Allen's essay: I think he's completely right, especially about The Porcupine's Quill. The interior typography and design is exquisite, but the covers (and actually, the presentation faces) are both ugly an inappropriate.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.