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(Re)design, Part 2: Book Covers

January 15, 2011

Here is the second part of my explorations of redesigned pop culture classics. Last week, it was movie posters and this week, I’ve found some neat book covers, designed by great artists, that I hope will inspire you readers to…well…read. This post got particularly difficult to write as I kept clicking around the Internet. I wanted to feature covers that were more “fan art”, unpublished book jackets. Hopefully I got that right, because it was much easier to identify fan-made movie posters, because posters don’t have multiple editions, while of course books do. And can you blame me for not knowing what every edition of every book looks like? I did my best to find the not legit covers though. Enjoy!

1.M.S. Corley
Corley’s done pretty much all the major fantasy series, including Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderwick Chronicles, the Lemony Snickett books, and His Dark Materials. Below, I give you two of my favorites.


2.Mikey Burton
These are part of Burton’s thesis project while he was at Kent State. The idea was to redesign books in order to attract young readers. He caught my attention!

3.The books of Vladimir Nabokov
These are the works of different designers commissioned to create “covers” of Nobokov’s books. I haven’t read any of them myself, but I couldn’t resist posting them. They are all made of paper, pins, and butterfly boxes, “As an homage to the author’s love for collecting butterflies.”

Design by Stephen Doyle

Design by Dave Eggers. Yes, THE Dave Eggers. I had no idea he did book design until now.

Design by Paul Sahre

4.I can’t talk about book covers without mentioning Penguin Classics. I go to bookstores and seek out the classics section so I can look at these. They use such a wide variety of interpretations for books that have been around for ages, and it catches the eye when you see a modern design on an old book. Like most publishers, they also have the editions with title, author, and classic painting, but I love to see the more interesting designs they offer. Here are a few examples:

Design by Francesca Belanger. I love the font. I love the foil. I love the colors. I love everything about this (including the stories inside).

Designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith

The following are designed by Ruben Toledo:


In researching for this post, I discovered quite a bit, certainly more so than I discovered while creating the movie poster post. First, here’s a great video from Drawn, whom I love, featuring Milton Glaser, Chip Kidd, and Dave Eggers speaking about designing book covers. Yes, it’s much longer than what you normally watch on the Internet, but it is worth it:

Next, I direct you to Caustic Cover Critic, which is a blog by a J.R.S. Morrison. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a comprehensive critique of book covers.

Lastly, whenever I go home, I become more of an old person. Part of that involves watching Sunday Morning on CBS, which I enjoy thoroughly. Here is a segment that inspired this post:

Judging Books By Their Covers


Update: here is the rest of the series…
Part 1: Movie Posters
Part 3: TV
Part 4: Albums
Part 5: Video Games
Read my full post on Jane Austen covers.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Abel permalink
    January 15, 2011 7:32 pm

    How could those people do new covers for pretty much all of Nabokov’s books, except for Lolita?? Not that it matters much, because the perfect Lolita book cover already exists:

    Notice the voluptuous glasses, the brazen hair, the spot where a mustache used to be, the clear signs on her face of being about 33. Yep, no book cover better describes what is held within.

    • Amy permalink
      January 16, 2011 11:21 pm

      This is a pretty interesting collection of Lolita covers:

      A lot of crappy stuff haha. I also found this blog that had a Lolita cover design contest:

      I actually don’t like the winning design, but I haven’t read the book so I can’t judge. The runners up are great in my opinion. John Gall (book designer extraordinaire) says of the contest, “This is a tough assignment. So many clichéd images to either avoid or make new. Not an easy task. I teach a cover design class and wouldn’t give this as an assignment in a million years!”

  2. Emily Josephine permalink
    January 19, 2011 8:35 am

    The Paul Sahre designed cover is awesome.

  3. kosmonaut permalink
    June 21, 2013 5:12 am

    WOW, this Harry Potter redesign is AWESOME!!! If I had a publishing house I would definitely buy your design for HP. Once again, it’s AWESOME!


  1. (Re)Design, part 3: TV | Amycanwrite's Blog
  2. (Re)design, Part 1: Movie Posters « AmyCanWrite: Amy Simpson's Blog about Photography, Design, and Life
  3. (Re)Design, part 4: Albums « AmyCanWrite: Amy Simpson's Blog about Photography, Design, and Life
  4. (Re)Design, part 5: Video Games « AmyCanWrite: Amy Simpson's Blog about Photography, Design, and Life

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