The best book cover designs, their contents, and where to find them.

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Cover Art: The Way Through Doors by Jesse Ball

The Way Through Doors Cover Art

Book Cover art for Jesse Ball’s acclaimed novel The Way Through Doors, designed by Helen Yentus and Jason Booher.

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Penguin Great Ideas Cover Art – Series 4 Designs

Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

The Penguin Great Ideas series is as much about the packaging and cover design as the contents themselves.  These 100 slim volumes (divided into five colour-coded collections of 20) compile some of the most important words ever written or spoken.  From speeches and essays to excerpts from larger works, each is selected for having “changed the world”.

Continue reading for the full high-resolution gallery.

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The Teleportation Accident – Art Deco Cover Design by La Boca

Art Deco Book Cover

Book by Ned Beauman. Cover design by La Boca, London.

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman must have been a strange challenge to cover: a time travel story spanning the first half of the 20th century; heavily comedic, but with the respectability of an acclaimed young author and a Man Booker Prize nomination.

The very talented designers at La Boca clearly had a lot of fun with this jacket art. With art deco inspired design that serves as both a loving tribute and a comic pastiche of the art deco era, the result is so vivid and striking you can’t help but want to read it.

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Cover Art for Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman (Paper Art by Cheong-ah Hwang and Matthew Young)

philip-pullman-grimm-tales-cover-design

Book cover design by Matthew Young, featuring cut-out paper art by Cheong-ah Hwang.

In Grimm Tales for Young and Old , Philip Pullman (author of the young adult His Dark Materials series) presents brisk, clear and vivid versions of his 50 favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm, along with some thoroughly entertaining commentary on the fairy tales’ enduring appeal.

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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Folio Society Cover Art

the-man-who-mistook-his-wife-for-a-hat-folio

Book by Oliver Sacks. Art by Martin O’Neill.

It’s rare to see a popular science book get the artistic cover treatment, but the Folio Society could be on to a great thing with this beautiful illustrated edition of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks.

Sacks’ famous 1985 collection of essays centres on people whose brains, one way or another, have turned on them.  To his utmost credit, artist Martin O’Neill resisted the temptation to draw a hat, instead taking the subject matter 100% seriously.  This cover – and each illustration inside – gives us a surreal and personal glimpse into the mind of each patient.

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This is Not the End of the Book – Cover Art

Umberto Eco Cover Design

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This is Not the End of the Book is a fun, fascinating and intimidatingly smart conversation transcript between writers Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carrière.

Eco and Carrière are both avid book collectors and lifelong champions of the written word.  They discuss their love of books and the history of the written word, veering into every wild and amusing tangent that comes to mind.   Reading this is like sitting in on a compelling dinner table discussion, but without the fear you’ll want to chime in and say something stupid.

They ultimately agree the printed book will always be relevant in (and beyond) the digital age.  As if the beautiful, uniquely physical typographic cover design didn’t prove it enough!

Continue reading for more photos, links on where to find it, and other beautiful Umberto Eco cover art.

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Jacket+Bookmark – Book Art by IcoEye

Cover and Bookmark Designs by Rogix

Graphic designer Igor “Rogix” Udushlivy had the brilliant idea of using bookmarks to extend and improve cover art.

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James Bond Pin-Up Cover Art by Michael Gillette

Tiffany Case

A complete high-resolution gallery of Michael Gillette‘s pin-up Bond Girl book covers from the James Bond Centenary Collection (and where to find them).

To celebrate author Ian Fleming’s 100th birthday in 2008, Penguin commissioned these very cool, very retro, pin-up style covers for 007′s Centenary Edition hardcover reissue. Risque and far from politically incorrect, it’s pretty much pitch-perfect for the 1950s-60s spy series!  Continue reading for the full high-res gallery.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Cover Art – Folio Society

To Kill a Mockingbird (Folio Society Edition)

The Folio Society has never held back with their book covers.  In fact, their entire M.O. is to create very finely designed editions that live up to the weight of the work.  Their treatment of Harper Lee’s celebrated To Kill a Mockingbird - comprehensively illustrated by Aafke Brouwer - is no exception.

“Our pleasure in reading is enhanced by the book itself, in which typography, illustration, paper, printing and binding all play a part in creating a harmonious whole. ”

This version is cloth-bound and slipcased, giving a valuable vintage feel, but with a very creative and minimal cover layout that comes from more modern design sensibilities.  It really is the best of both worlds: a new take, but with a colour scheme, partly-silhouetted feel and even spine lettering reminiscent of earlier, more recognisable editions. Most importantly it capture the tone of the novel perfectly through the posture and isolation of Boo Radley.

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Space Race by Tom Clohosy Cole (Nobrow)

Space Race Cover (Tom Cole)

Tom Clohosy Cole is one of our favourite new cover artists – and, for that matter, just a great artist all around.  His unique, nostalgic style combines the simplicity and vivid colour of “retro future” screen printing with the intricate detail and flourishes of digital art.

This makes Space Race a very happy occasion.  He gets an entire book to himself, lovingly recreating the American and Russian space programs’ rush to reach the moon.

Space Race: a fold-out concertina

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Don’t let the page count (twenty) fool you.  For a fan of space, modern history and great artwork, this is something that can be legitimately admired for hours.  A glance at the cover above shows just how well Cole can present the unfathomable scale and ambition of a rocket launch. It even folds out into a cohesive print that can – and indeed, should - be framed!

Continue reading for some amazing illustrated recreations of the US and USSR space race!

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The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach) Cover Art

The Art of Fielding

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The Art of Fielding gives cover-savvy readers a difficult choice between two amazing designs. (Continue reading to compare them!) Both Art of Fielding covers - like the book itself – come across as a huge labour of love.
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Chad Harbach’s first novel is a charming, introspective, character-driven novel that just happens to involve baseball. As such, one of the main criteria for this cover was that it couldn’t directly involve the sport.

Artist Keith Hayes struggled to find an image everybody agreed on, ultimately ditching the idea of imagery altogether in favour of simple, eye-catching typography.  Only very subtly drawing on baseball colours and imagery, he did a remarkable job at matching the warmth of the story.

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Just My Type by Simon Garfield – Review & Art

Just My Type

Buy from Book DepositoryBook covers like Just My Type‘s are the reason this website exists.  The cover to Simon Garfield’s introductory guide fonts is a work of art in its own right, immediately showing not just the subject matter, but also the tone.  (Hats off to James Alexander of Jade Design!) This is a celebration of creativity and diversity, not a technical typography manual, and its design captures that sense of fun perfectly.  I was sold with a single glance.  Love at first sight.

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The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Review

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes

Buy from AmazonArthur Conan Doyle’s complete Sherlock Holmes mysteries aren’t hard to come by on the cheap, but if you want to go all the way, it’s hard to top this lavish 1,900 page set – arguably the definitive edition of the Great Detective’s adventures in both content and presentation.

Annotated Sherlock Holmes Slipcase
Annotated Sherlock Volume 3

These three large volumes are spread over two slipcased sets (vols. 1 and 2 covering the five short story collections, vol. 3 the four full-length novels).  Illustrations appear at every possible opportunity; not just Sidney Paget’s famous Strand drawings, but also those of other artists and publications showing the same scenes.  However, the narrative content is only half the story.

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