This season, we looked to some of the more innovative works of art that live on the covers of books. With a range of literary subjects, these book covers hold a life of their own outside of the context of its pages. Browse through and let these inspire you.
1. The Revolution Of Little Girls by Blanche McCrary Boyd
Cover design: Barbara DeWilde
This design is bold with a limited color palette. The variations on pink provide a nice pop to the inverse backdrop, and leave us in a state of anticipation and curiosity.
2. Look Both Ways by Debbie Millman
Cover design: Rodrigo Corral
A colorized and playfully morphed yin and yang compliment the cover of this book. The text stands out on the minimal color scheme and entices the reader with an artistic and creative appeal.
3. Outside The Lines by Souris Hong-Porretta
Cover design: Steve Harrington
Unique from the rest of these selections, “Outside The Lines” has a cover that matches beautifully with the context of the actual book. The cover gives us a sneak peek, and a touch of inspiration, with beautifully illustrated color drawings, created by one of the artists featured inside the book as well.
4. An Ethics Of Interrogation by Michael Skerker
Cover design: Isaac Tobin
Simplicity can be especially important for a good cover, much like this one. There are few images that better summarize the act of interrogation. A two-way mirror? An isolated chair? Neither would work as effectively and minimally as a singular lightbulb isolated on a flat grey background.
5. Disguise by Hugo Hamilton
Cover design: Jarrod Taylor
A blurred out image in this instance speaks volumes in a unique and uncharacteristic way. Everything from the black backdrop to the text over the eyes of the blurred out subject suggest ambiguity. The text placement over the eyes doesn’t seem accidental either, the eyes being the easiest thing to distinguish on a person. Without them, we know nothing.
6. The Greening Of Ben Brown by Michael Strelow
Cover design: Pinch
One of the more complicated designs, this cover art doesn’t necessarily beg to be deciphered. It tells a story, but it’s also aesthetically fascinating. A green hand that matches the colors of the trees placed below it, suggest some sort of correlation between subject and nature. The overlay of the map mirror an image of veins, aptly placed on the hand.
7. The New Confessions by William Boyd
Cover design: Megan Wilson
We find ourselves intrigued by the ambiguity of this cover. Visually, our eyes are drawn to the headless woman. It isn’t grotesque, simply consistent with the other shapes in this artwork. At a closer glance, the woman’s hand is placed on her chest, as if talking about herself, or maybe expressing shock over something she is hearing. This cover’s strengths lie in its nuances.
8. Censoring An Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour
Cover design: Peter Mendelsund
Everything about this cover matches the title and subject it represents. Censors fill this piece, with only the eyes of an Iranian woman piercing through. Yet, it isn’t going for shock value or terror. It’s conceptual, and creative at that.
9. Maps Of The Imagination by Peter Turchi
Cover design: Pentagram
This is about as literal as one can get in the interpretation of this book’s title and subject. And yet, it’s deliciously colorful, immaculately “mapped” out, and cleverly designed.
10. The Placebo Man by Tomer Hanuka
Cover design: Tomer Hanuka
What struck us first about this cover? Probably the skyline hidden in plain sight. The shape’s mild shadows contrast against the pink text of the title, and functions in a similar manner to the cover for “Disguise” (#5 on our list). It’s pleasant, and feels less like book cover artwork, and more like something that could be hung on a wall.
11. The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
Cover design: Jason Booher
We had to include at least one text-based cover. The simple sans-serif font here is no frills and lets the color scheme and title pop. The isolated text speaks to the post-apocalyptic subject matter, and the neon green almost has an alien like quality to it, speaking abstractly to the science-fiction genre and content. One of our favorites.