Excellent Book Covers and Paperbacks

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Book covers are hard to design and nice to look at. An effective book cover manages to catch human’s eye and convey the idea behind the book on one single page. However, it’s getting even harder: to make a book really hard to forget, designers need to design the cover in a unique, creative and striking way. That’s not that different from Web where it’s important to build a sound information architecture upon a rather restricted design layout.

The main idea of this post is to provide you with some creative, expressive and appealing book covers. You won’t like all of them, but you’ll definitely find some designs which are worth pondering upon.

You may be interested in the following posts we’ve published earlier:

  • Breathtaking Typographic Posters with over 50 breathtaking typographic posters designed by artists across the globe. We feature Oriental, Iranian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Russian typographic posters as well as a number of further references.
  • Award-Winning Newspaper Designs with examples of outstanding newspaper designs collected from dozens of countries.
  • Data Visualization and Infographics showcases spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.
  • Data Visualization: Modern Approaches presents interesting modern approaches to data visualization as well as related articles, resources and tools.

Please keep in mind: there are thousands of excellent book covers; we’ve selected only few ones which are excellent in our humble opinion. Although this selection is definitely subjective, we’ve tried to do our best to find interesting designs which make the book cover hard to forget. If you have further suggestions please comment on this post. All covers posted are the copyright of their respective holders.

Book Covers

A Clockwork Orange
Meet Alex. Simple, but so memorable. Designed by David Pelham.

Book Covers - Book Covers

Brave New World
Designed by Gregg Kulick.

Book Covers - Book Covers

A Perfect Mess

Book Covers - A Perfect Mess

Christopher Moore, “The Dirty Job”, 10/07

Book Covers - Christopher Moore, Un lavoro sporco, 10/07

Disorders of Memory and Learning
Effective and creative. 1968. Cover Design by Martin Bassett.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)

Jordan Crane’s Book Covers
Crane’s illustrations are beautiful and memorable. That’s what makes a good book cover.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)

Book Covers - Book Covers

Paul Rand’s Book Covers
Paul Rand: one of the most influential modern graphic designers. Simple and effective.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)

The End Of Inequality
Cover design by Peter Stone.

Book Covers - Judge a book.....

1984

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!

Incomplete Manifesto
Just a sketch. This book doesn’t exist.

Book Covers - a5

Soviet Science Fiction book cover

Book Covers - Soviet Science Fiction book cover

Penguin Book Covers

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!

St. Cyborg’s

Book Covers - St. Cyborg's

A Penguin Special – A Suitable Case for Treatment

Book Covers - A Penguin Special - A Suitable Case for Treatment

“The book of the Spirits”

Book Covers -

Gas Book 08: Blue Source

Book Covers - Gas Book 08: Blue Source

The Language of Graphics

Book Covers - The Language of Graphics

1964 Sex and Society – Alex Comfort

Book Covers - things magazine

1970 War Gaming – Andrew Wilson

Book Covers - things magazine

5ПЯТИЛЕТКА
A Soviet book cover from 1930.

Book Covers - 5ПЯТИЛЕТКА (1930)

John Gall’s Book Covers
Gall’s covers always take a look at the book content from a quite unusual perspective. Masterpieces.

Book Covers - Book Covers

Book Covers - Book Covers

Book Covers - Book Covers

We Can Build You

Book Covers - We Can Build You

Magical Thinking
The book cover is attractive and conveys the idea of the book.

Book Covers - Good Is Dead. The Learners in finer bookstores everywhere.

Twenty Questions

Book Covers - Good Is Dead. The Learners in finer bookstores everywhere.

1982 Know Your Own Personality.

Book Covers - things magazine

ВЧЕРА И СЕГОДНЯ (1935)

Book Covers - ВУЕРА СЕГОДНЯ (1935)

Alvin Lustig’s Book Covers

Book Covers - Alvin Lustig, Modern American Design Pioneer - Books and Periodicals - New Directions

Suiza Constructiva

Book Covers - Suiza Constructiva

“The Art of a Book”
Interesting conceptual solution.

Book Covers

“The Creative Process”

Book Covers -

Understanding Media
Interesting use of symbols.

Book Covers - Favourite Book Covers 088

Exile and the Kingdom
Eye-catching. Designed by Helen Yentus.

Book Covers - Book Covers

House of Meetings
Designer: Peter Mendelsund.

Book Covers - Book Covers

Manuel Bandeira, “Poems chosen by the author”
The Brazilian designer Elaine Ramos is known for simple yet unusual book cover designs. “The wonderful thing about this cover is that the paper has thin horizontal lines in relief that complement the horizontal design. Again, tactile. White dots you can see are numbers from one to fifty – the title is “fifty poems selected by the author”. The sky and stars reference one of the author’s most famous poems, translated “Morning Star”.”

Book Covers - Cosac Naify - Detalhes do Livro

Cigarette Century

Book Covers - The Book Design Review

Dutch paperback book cover design

Book Covers - Dutch paperback book cover design

Hans Kleefeld book cover design

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!

Livre perdu1 / Lost book 1

Book Covers - Livre perdu1 / Lost book 1

Toby Litt

Book Covers - blogphoto6.html

Grabink Book Covers Decoration
Book bindings by gner-artists Chris Enock and David Enock.

Book Covers - The Arts Décoratifs Collection/Grabink

Book Covers - The Arts Décoratifs Collection/Grabink

Minimalism

The Music of Chance

Book Covers - Book Cover: The Music of Chance

One Red Paperclip

Book Covers - The Book Design Review

Supercapitalism

Book Covers - Book Covers

A Clockwork Orange
You remember, right? Alex liked milk spiked with various stimulants (“milk plus”) or hallucinogens (“synthemesc”).

Book Covers - A Glass of Milk

Worst Years Of Your Life

Book Covers - Book Covers

Typography

Expo 58, book cover

Book Covers - Expo 58, book cover

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Book Covers - The Illustrated Novel

Last Days Of Publishing

Book Covers - Book Covers

The Trouble With Physics

Book Covers - The Book Design Review

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance

Book Covers - Book Covers

The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual

Book Covers - Book Covers

Emil Ruder, “Typographie”

Book Covers - Emil Ruder's Typographie

Nikelleo Rellana’s work

Book Covers

House of Leaves Book Cover
Designed by Joe Paul.

Book Covers - House of Leaves Book Cover

Change the Way You See Everything: Through Asset-Based Thinking

Book Covers - Amazon Online Reader : Change the Way You See Everything: Through Asset-Based Thinking

Kidney For Sale By Owner
Designed by David Drummond.

Book Covers - Kidney For Sale By Owner

Ace of Spades: A Memoir

Book Covers - AIGA Design Archives

About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography

Book Covers - About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography

The Mayor’s Tongue

Book Covers - The Book Design Review

All the Sad Young Literary Men

Book Covers - The Book Design Review

swissmiss: Books

Book Covers - swissmiss: Books

Sources and Resources

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Great stuff. Thanx for collecting.

    2
  2. 3

    awesome inspiration source! thanks

    0
  3. 4

    isn’t “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” book, number 47, the SAME as HP campaign, the computer is personal again??

    0
  4. 5

    About the book with the stars in its cover – “Cosac Naify – Detalhes do Livro” – it’s wrong! Cosac Naify is the publisher’s name, and “detalhes do livro” means “books’s details”. The book’s real author is Manuel bandeira and it’s named “poemas escolhidos pelo autor”, or “poems chosen by the author”. He’s also a lovely writer, one of the most famous writers here in Brazil. Cheers!

    0
  5. 6

    How about reading the Bible a bit more?

    -6
    • 7

      Thats the worst novel EVER. Get lost.

      0
      • 8

        no offence, but you’re really close minded.
        you don’t have to believe every single religion, but if you want to be a well-rounded person and just a good human being in general, you need to respect the beliefs of others if you expect them to respect you for who you are.

        1
  6. 9

    Really nice collection. Its not usable for me, but still nice to look at.

    0
  7. 10

    really nice collection of book covers i must say..
    and a very nice and informative post :) thanks alot for sharing..
    best of luck :)

    3
  8. 11

    Andrew Randazzo

    April 14, 2008 3:29 am

    Happy Blogger Appreciation Day! I appreciation your site and all the good stuff you guys put out. Keep it up, and God bless!

    -2
  9. 12

    AMAZING COVERS! I got all the inspiration I need for my next book. As you can see, my current book over is not the greatest – LINK

    Thanks again!

    0
  10. 13

    not really my line of work, but some amazing work there.

    0
  11. 14

    really good

    0
  12. 15

    I’ve always been a huge fan of the typographic work on Penguin Classic’s design for Thomas à Kempis’s The Inner Life.

    0
  13. 16
  14. 17

    That’s where HP got the idea from. the book was first…

    0
  15. 18

    I love creative and eye catching book covers. They inspire me to pick up the book and read through it. Unfortunately many times they are great book covers but not great books. The examples above are very good and creative.

    They inspire me to write a book so I can design the cover. I’ve got the design part down, now I just need to find a good story too.

    Great collection!

    0
  16. 19

    number 47 is exactly the same graphic idea of the HP campaign. HP- BUSTED!!

    0
  17. 20

    Never judge a book by its cover… except in this instance.

    Great collection.

    0
  18. 21

    You should consider adding Stefan Stagmeister’s newest book Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far. It’s an amazing example of a very inventive book design.

    1
  19. 22
  20. 23

    Wonderfull book covers.
    Now in the same spirit you could have a post on Record Cover Artwork, which is one of my favorite thing to design. There’s a few good book about it… starting of course with the Blue Notes covers of Reid Miles.

    -1
  21. 24

    Hey guys, I visit smashing quite a bit, and it really nice to see beautiful print work on here!
    especially such a brutal post of it, thanks a million
    I’m all for 37. Hans Kleefield and the mayor’s tounge at 59.

    0
  22. 25

    Good call, book covers are a strong point for illustration.
    But the # 18. hummm, I prefer my rug… bergh!

    0
  23. 26

    excellent!

    0
  24. 27

    Must add S. Neil Fujita – The Godfather and In Cold Blood book covers are classics.

    0
  25. 28

    there are some excellent designs here, but to be honest, all that bauhaus-like stuff (for example 15-20 and later, thank god almost only on older books) is gross. makes me feel like i’m back at art school with that 60 year old design teacher still stuck in the way of designing in that age showing us his 2 hour slideshows of oldschool bauhaus posters. these early graphic designers definitely provided some important influences to today’s design, but considering them as “excellent book covers” today sounds to me like saying “the neanderthals were very smart” – at the time it might have been true, but it’s just nothing compared to what’s being done today.

    0
  26. 29

    @ L.E. how about not spamming the comments with your OT messages of “faith”. (see “Icons” post before)

    0
  27. 30

    Excellent list!!

    0
  28. 31

    Nice stuff, I urge you to check out Kirk Duoponce and his book covers. He has designed more than 1,000 covers nationwide.

    Take a look around his website at

    0
  29. 32

    Kealan Patrick Burke

    April 15, 2008 5:19 am

    It would appear that someone has a thing for anachronistic photorealistic minimalism…;p

    0
  30. 33

    really neat… superb…

    0
  31. 34

    Cool Book Covers.

    Might add this. http://www.octonauts.com/book.html

    0
  32. 35

    I agree with shasta , “excellent”, “top 10″ kind of adjectives don’t really manifest it’s meaning anymore.
    I would change the headline to “A variety of old and new book covers.”

    0
  33. 36

    very nice…

    0
  34. 37

    Really creative book cover designs! As a student in media, I have to say that some book cover can worth dozens of credits from print media courses. Thanks for sharing. It would be nice to know more about the deep meanings behind those covers.

    0
  35. 38

    The “1984″ cover was designed by Shepard Fairey, of OBEY GIANT fame, he also produced a cover for “Animal Farm,” also by Orwell.

    0
  36. 39

    I think you may be right!

    0
  37. 40

    i bought and read the general theory of love, and had never heard of it beforehand… (unusual for me) … i was especially struck with the cover, and i knew at the time it was partly what drew me to the book. great choice to include that!

    0
  38. 41

    number 34: the name of the designer is elaine ramos. cosacnaify is the publishing house. elaine and raul loureiro (another famous brazilian designer) do almost all their covers/books.

    0
  39. 42

    Some more smart book covers are

    vishalgoyal.co.in/blog

    Please comment after read this blog

    0
  40. 43

    13. St. Cyborg’s is designed by myself – http://www.hellomuller.com/blog/2007/11/18/anatomy-of-a-cover-st-cyborgs/

    Thanks for including it in the list!

    0
  41. 44

    Amazing work. I can’t believe how innovative some of the covers are!

    0
  42. 45

    Don’t forget about Chip Kidd. He’s designed over 1,500 book covers since the mid-80s.

    0
  43. 46

    Nice list – really interesting designs and layouts. In a word – Inspirational! :)
    This isn’t absolutely relevant, but here’s a link to a site that sells software which’ll convert 2D Book covers into 3D eBook covers. Just thought some might be interested. eBook Cover Software

    0
  44. 47

    i’ll add something.
    “stainless longganisa”

    the book cover was composed of all the pen the author used through out his life. :D

    0
  45. 48

    heather van de mark

    October 30, 2008 7:36 am

    this is still probably one of my favorite SM posts of all time. absolutely fantastic.

    0
  46. 49

    Where is a ‘Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius’ by Dave Eggers??!! Great cover, great book, a masterpiece!

    0
  47. 50

    “the worst years of your life” – maybe the best cover
    it just sticks in my head!

    0
  48. 51

    Hi. Good news.

    0
  49. 52

    Hi. Good site.

    0
  50. 53

    Great Collection

    0
  51. 54

    For great book covers, see also Readerville’s Most Coveted Covers series.

    0
  52. 55

    i learn a lot.of this and getting.more historical references.GREAT

    0
  53. 56

    The cover of “not as crazy as i seem’ is a good one.

    0
  54. 57

    can you recommend a club or organization in the united states whose members are interested in colllecting book covers?

    also, attractive book covers with manhattan based themes?

    thanks

    0
  55. 58

    Excellent collection……

    0
  56. 59

    Cool covers.

    0
  57. 60

    Oooohoh, lovely, smashing doll. brilliant!!

    Listen People. Google “Book Cover Design Blogs”. This book blogging thing is getting way out of control. I’m all for freedom of speech but this market is more saturated than government TARP funds. The gig of promoting of one’s self through the guise of “information” is UP!

    Just say NO to MORE book cover design blogs!

    0
  58. 61

    Excelente, muy didáctico, esto es un aporte a la preservación de la memoria colectiva. Muy Bién.

    0
  59. 62

    These are great covers – I am addicted to the design aspect found in good books / page layouts!

    0
  60. 63

    100 believed llc read reliable

    0
  61. 64

    Good collection.

    0
  62. 65

    A nice collection of classic book covers. As an illustrator (I’ve done work for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Delirium Books, Ballistic Media, American Media, Fort Ross, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and other publishers), I find that posting some of my covers online is a good way to boost business while also entertaining a lot of folks.

    For those who are interested, you can find my online gallery of book cover artwork and book illustrations at: http://duncanlong.com/art.html

    0
  63. 66

    These are some wicked pictures

    1
  64. 67

    It may be a common family reaction to stress however. ,

    0
  65. 68

    You should look for spanish pioneer Daniel Gil’s covers. Absolute conceptual masterpieces.

    0
  66. 69

    Mohammed S. Rahmeh

    February 6, 2010 2:08 am

    Amazing…

    0
  67. 70

    Damn nice to see that so many of the covers employed illustration. Good on ya.

    0
  68. 71

    Really gr8 Collection,

    0
  69. 72

    a very nice collection
    amrit dave

    0
  70. 73

    Dear friend,
    Its simply the best .
    I am not founding the suitable words to express the great work done by.

    0
  71. 74

    its nice covers
    but i wont to some latest plz………

    0
  72. 75

    Thanks for this post! For those who are interested in book design the blog iloveboeken might be interesting.

    0
  73. 76

    galing..thanks for collecting it..bravo!!! haha…

    0
  74. 77

    Nice List!! These are some great covers. Excited for the next list of great covers! When will that be? I’ve seen some great ones lately

    0
  75. 78

    I came to this site for guidance and I am left with more confusion. So how do I create a concept for a great cover? Catterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly?

    0
  76. 79

    please, how can I get you people to design the cover of my novel titled ‘THE DESERT BREED’. I am in love with your posts. Keep it up.

    0
  77. 80

    I had a great design experience and at an amazing low price at expertsubjects.com. I do however like number 29 and 23 from the list :).

    0
  78. 81

    The problem is, graphic artists and the people who judge their works aren’t the ones who buy the bulk of popular literature. A book cover may win awards, but meanwhile the public is gobbling up something quite different. Try replacing the bare-chested hunk and the possessor of world-class cleavage with something cleverly geometric and see how far you get. Ditto the running man silhouetted against what appears to be a paint explosion. These kinds of covers–no matter how offensive to the educated eye, are shorthand for genre, and that’s the first thing a lot of readers are looking for.

    1
  79. 82

    Naga Kishore Bhupathi

    June 24, 2012 6:54 am

    Wow great collection. Thank you.

    1
  80. 83

    the cigarette book cover gets my vote of approval. :)

    0
  81. 84

    Awesome list! I’ve always been a fan of bright colors and minimalist design. I really like the Suiza Constructiva and A Clockwork Orange covers. This cover is pretty cool too: http://www.amazon.com/Starsetter-ebook/dp/B00D5VIFWG

    0

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