Creative Director: Paul Buckley

Cover Art: Jillian Tamaki

Publisher: Penguin

These book covers are beautiful. Not what you would expect on a book cover. So it is a nice surprise, especially from classics like the Secret Garden, Emma and Black Beauty. I am surprised that the texture transferred to a 2D surface really well on these covers. I don’t think anyone who saw these can resist bringing at least one of them home.

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Penguin Threads on

Jillian Tamake

Photo from Jillian Tamake’s site


Designer:David Pelham

Publisher: Penguin

I like this cover a lot. It is simple, yet eye-catching. The 4 bright colors didn’t compete with each other. Instead, it creates an interesting cover with simple lines and shapes. The face with an eye formed by a wheel makes people wonder what this book is about.

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Typeface: Eurostile

Designer: Paul Bacon

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Similar to the previous cover, the “Big Book Look”, a style with a large title, a large author’s name and a small symbolic image, defined by Paul Bacon in 1950s creates an expressive atmosphere with simple elements. Compulsion is the most iconic of all. I like the tension among the letters in the rough, hand-drawn style. “a novel by” is in a thinner, scripty font and it balances off the bold type in the title and the author name nicely. I like the contrast between the light grey wall and the two little orange-red men.

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100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design #76

The Man With the Big Book Look by Steven Heller

Designer: Unknown

Publisher: Anchor

From the description and reviews, Choke is a bizarre story. I think the simple, yet dramatic silhouette and high contrast between the colors created sense of mystery that goes along well with the book. However, the author name on the right is a little too big for me and is competing with the Book title. And it might help building the drama if a typeface with more personality is used. This typeface is almost too safe for something this bold. In general, I like the dramatic atmosphere that the designer created with simple lines and use of colors, but it could have better type treatment.

Designer: Peter Mendelsund

Publisher: Pantheon

Yet another beautiful cover from Peter Mendelsund. A cover that will catch your attention. Filled with words but it is a simple cover that coveys that theme of the book: information overload. Even within the sea of texts, you can easily spot the title and author: The Information by James Gleick, which is in red, a color often use to indicate importance. A History, A Theory, A Flood inserted in between The Informations leave some breathing room on the page and make it less overwhelming.

Designer: David Pearson

Publisher: Penguin

We are all familiar with the classic penguin cover. And here is a book about the penguin books. David Pearson designed this book cover using the spine of Penguin books to build the classic cover. It is a cool way to present a book talking about the iconic Penguin books and their history. The design is so iconic that even without a obvious “penguin” on the cover, everyone know it is a book about Penguin books at their first sight.

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Typeface: Gill Sans


Designer: John Fontana

Illustration: Helen Musselwhite

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

The illustration on the cover is lovely. It combines mystery and fantasy. The circus seems to float above the hand and the gesture of it leads the eye to the circus in the center. The embellishment goes well with the clean illustration. The two typefaces have various weight that matches the embellishment. They also help create the fantasy atmosphere on the cover.

Designer: Peter Mendelsund
Publisher: Schocken

Peter Mendelsund redesigned a series of Kafka covers in 2011. I was attracted to the covers by their simple geometric shapes and vibrant colors. Eyes are used on all the covers. The designer used different combinations of color and manipulation of eyes to express the theme of the book. According to Peter Mendelsund,

“I find eyes, taken in the singular, create intimacy, and in the plural instill paranoia. This seemed a good combo for Kafka- who is so very adept at the portrayal of the individual, as well as the portrayal of the persecution of the individual.”

The font used in the title is derived form the handwriting of Kafka. It is a nice touch to include some element of the influential author on the cover design.


Other covers in the series:

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Typeface:  FF Mister K (title), Times (author)

Font In Use – Kafka Editions from Schocken

Re-covering Kafka: an interview with Peter Mendelsund

Jacket Mechanical: Kafka

Designer: Gray 318

Publisher: Penguin

I like the combination of the teeth of the wheel and chess. And all the different silhouettes combine together to make a very lovely book cover. I especially like the little man on top of the middle wheel.

Gray318, or Jonathan Gray, is most famous for his book cover design with hand typography. We will surely look at some other of his work in the future.

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The UK Cover

**I read from blogs that both covers share styles similar to Kara Walker, who creates awesome artworks!

Designer: David Drummond

Publisher: Anchor

It is a smart cover that shows the idea of “small crime”. With only the “l” missing, it contrast “small crime” and “abundance”. I also like the hierarchy of the type with some of them italicized. Just a simple and conceptual book cover.

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Typeface: Baskerville

David Drummond’s blog