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Excellent Book Covers and Paperbacks

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 Posters1 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 Designs2 with examples of outstanding newspaper designs collected from dozens of countries.
  • Data Visualization and Infographics3 showcases spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.
  • Data Visualization: Modern Approaches4 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 Link

A Clockwork Orange5
Meet Alex. Simple, but so memorable. Designed by David Pelham.

Book Covers - Book Covers6

Brave New World7
Designed by Gregg Kulick.

Book Covers - Book Covers8

A Perfect Mess9

Book Covers - A Perfect Mess10

Christopher Moore, “The Dirty Job”, 10/0711

Book Covers - Christopher Moore, Un lavoro sporco, 10/0712

Disorders of Memory and Learning13
Effective and creative. 1968. Cover Design by Martin Bassett.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)14

Jordan Crane’s Book Covers15
Crane’s illustrations are beautiful and memorable. That’s what makes a good book cover.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)16

Book Covers - Book Covers17

Paul Rand’s Book Covers18
Paul Rand: one of the most influential modern graphic designers. Simple and effective.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)19

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)20

The End Of Inequality21
Cover design by Peter Stone.

Book Covers - Judge a book.....22

198423

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!24

Incomplete Manifesto25
Just a sketch. This book doesn’t exist.

Book Covers - a526

Soviet Science Fiction book cover27

Book Covers - Soviet Science Fiction book cover28

Penguin Book Covers12229

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!30

St. Cyborg’s31

Book Covers - St. Cyborg's32

A Penguin Special – A Suitable Case for Treatment33

Book Covers - A Penguin Special - A Suitable Case for Treatment34

“The book of the Spirits”35

Book Covers - 36

Gas Book 08: Blue Source37

Book Covers - Gas Book 08: Blue Source38

The Language of Graphics39

Book Covers - The Language of Graphics40

1964 Sex and Society – Alex Comfort41

Book Covers - things magazine42

1970 War Gaming – Andrew Wilson43

Book Covers - things magazine44

5ПЯТИЛЕТКА
A Soviet book cover from 1930.

Book Covers - 5ПЯТИЛЕТКА (1930)

John Gall’s Book Covers45
Gall’s covers always take a look at the book content from a quite unusual perspective. Masterpieces.

Book Covers - Book Covers46

Book Covers - Book Covers47

Book Covers - Book Covers48

We Can Build You49

Book Covers - We Can Build You50

Magical Thinking51
The book cover is attractive and conveys the idea of the book.

Book Covers - Good Is Dead. The Learners in finer bookstores everywhere.52

Twenty Questions53

Book Covers - Good Is Dead. The Learners in finer bookstores everywhere.54

1982 Know Your Own Personality55.

Book Covers - things magazine56

ВЧЕРА И СЕГОДНЯ (1935)

Book Covers - ВУЕРА СЕГОДНЯ (1935)

Alvin Lustig’s Book Covers57

Book Covers - Alvin Lustig, Modern American Design Pioneer - Books and Periodicals - New Directions58

Suiza Constructiva59

Book Covers - Suiza Constructiva60

“The Art of a Book”61
Interesting conceptual solution.

Book Covers62

“The Creative Process”63

Book Covers - 64

Understanding Media65
Interesting use of symbols.

Book Covers - Favourite Book Covers 08866

Exile and the Kingdom67
Eye-catching. Designed by Helen Yentus.

Book Covers - Book Covers68

House of Meetings69
Designer: Peter Mendelsund.

Book Covers - Book Covers70

Cigarette Century71

Book Covers - The Book Design Review72

Dutch paperback book cover design73

Book Covers - Dutch paperback book cover design74

Hans Kleefeld book cover design75

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!76

Livre perdu1 / Lost book 177

Book Covers - Livre perdu1 / Lost book 178

Toby Litt79

Book Covers - blogphoto6.html80

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 Link

The Music of Chance81

Book Covers - Book Cover: The Music of Chance82

One Red Paperclip83

Book Covers - The Book Design Review84

Supercapitalism85

Book Covers - Book Covers86

Worst Years Of Your Life87

Book Covers - Book Covers88

Typography Link

Expo 58, book cover89

Book Covers - Expo 58, book cover90

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Book Covers - The Illustrated Novel

Last Days Of Publishing91

Book Covers - Book Covers92

The Trouble With Physics93

Book Covers - The Book Design Review94

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance95

Book Covers - Book Covers96

The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual97

Book Covers - Book Covers98

Emil Ruder, “Typographie”99

Book Covers - Emil Ruder's Typographie100

Nikelleo Rellana’s work101

Book Covers102

House of Leaves Book Cover103
Designed by Joe Paul.

Book Covers - House of Leaves Book Cover104

Change the Way You See Everything: Through Asset-Based Thinking105

Book Covers - Amazon Online Reader : Change the Way You See Everything: Through Asset-Based Thinking106

Kidney For Sale By Owner107
Designed by David Drummond.

Book Covers - Kidney For Sale By Owner108

Ace of Spades: A Memoir109

Book Covers - AIGA Design Archives110

About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography111

Book Covers - About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography112

The Mayor’s Tongue113

Book Covers - The Book Design Review114

All the Sad Young Literary Men115

Book Covers - The Book Design Review116

swissmiss: Books117

Book Covers - swissmiss: Books118

Sources and Resources Link

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/02/25/breathtaking-typographic-posters/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/02/11/award-winning-newspaper-designs/
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/14/monday-inspiration-data-visualization-and-infographics/
  4. 4 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/08/02/data-visualization-modern-approaches/
  5. 5 http://covers.fwis.com/a_clockwork_orange
  6. 6 http://covers.fwis.com/a_clockwork_orange
  7. 7 http://covers.fwis.com/brave_new_world
  8. 8 http://covers.fwis.com/brave_new_world
  9. 9 http://flickr.com/photos/loopzilla/2404438689/in/pool-bookcovers
  10. 10 http://flickr.com/photos/loopzilla/2404438689/in/pool-bookcovers
  11. 11 http://flickr.com/photos/elliotedizioni/1366535740/in/set-72157600172523547/
  12. 12 http://flickr.com/photos/elliotedizioni/1366535740/in/set-72157600172523547/
  13. 13 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2006/12/disorders-of-memory-and-learning_08.html
  14. 14 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2006/12/disorders-of-memory-and-learning_08.html
  15. 15 http://reddingk.com/
  16. 16 http://reddingk.com/
  17. 17 http://covers.fwis.com/maps_and_legends
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/groups/paul_rand_design/pool/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/groups/paul_rand_design/pool/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/groups/paul_rand_design/pool/
  21. 21 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/end-of-inequality.html
  22. 22 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/end-of-inequality.html
  23. 23 http://ffffound.com/image/ed4e2266c9155289e96af43e2c4c9cfb3e848524
  24. 24 http://ffffound.com/image/ed4e2266c9155289e96af43e2c4c9cfb3e848524
  25. 25 http://flickr.com/photos/undercover_surrealist/1119363007/
  26. 26 http://flickr.com/photos/undercover_surrealist/1119363007/
  27. 27 http://flickr.com/photos/narisa/135244337/
  28. 28 http://flickr.com/photos/narisa/135244337/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/sets/72157594264351021/
  30. 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/sets/72157594264351021/
  31. 31 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/St_-Cyborgs/46046
  32. 32 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/St_-Cyborgs/46046
  33. 33 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/271647856/in/set-72157594264351021/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/271647856/in/set-72157594264351021/
  35. 35 http://flickr.com/photos/jaartepr/2042456286/in/pool-loveyourcovers
  36. 36 http://flickr.com/photos/jaartepr/2042456286/in/pool-loveyourcovers
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/312724229/in/set-72157594264845751/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/312724229/in/set-72157594264845751/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/496975304/in/set-72157594264845751/
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/496975304/in/set-72157594264845751/
  41. 41 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1960s/pel04h.htm
  42. 42 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1960s/pel04h.htm
  43. 43 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1970s/pel00o.htm
  44. 44 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1970s/pel00o.htm
  45. 45 http://covers.fwis.com/a_general_theory_of_love
  46. 46 http://covers.fwis.com/a_general_theory_of_love
  47. 47 http://covers.fwis.com/a_general_theory_of_love
  48. 48 http://covers.fwis.com/a_general_theory_of_love
  49. 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21631299@N07/2097269432/in/pool-goodlookingbooks
  50. 50 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21631299@N07/2097269432/in/pool-goodlookingbooks
  51. 51 http://www.goodisdead.com/index.php?/work/entry/magical_thinking_2004/
  52. 52 http://www.goodisdead.com/index.php?/work/entry/magical_thinking_2004/
  53. 53 http://www.goodisdead.com/index.php?/work/entry/twenty_questions_1998/
  54. 54 http://www.goodisdead.com/index.php?/work/entry/twenty_questions_1998/
  55. 55 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1980s/pel02b.htm
  56. 56 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1980s/pel02b.htm
  57. 57 http://www.alvinlustig.org/bp_nd/bp_nd.asp
  58. 58 http://www.alvinlustig.org/bp_nd/bp_nd.asp
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/231753150/in/set-72157594264845751/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/231753150/in/set-72157594264845751/
  61. 61 http://kak.ru/magazine/6/a165/
  62. 62 http://kak.ru/magazine/6/a165/
  63. 63 http://flickr.com/photos/ken_duffy/898007070/
  64. 64 http://flickr.com/photos/ken_duffy/898007070/
  65. 65 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelbeale/2260217111/in/set-72157603894807023/
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelbeale/2260217111/in/set-72157603894807023/
  67. 67 http://covers.fwis.com/exile_and_the_kingdom
  68. 68 http://covers.fwis.com/exile_and_the_kingdom
  69. 69 http://covers.fwis.com/house_of_meetings
  70. 70 http://covers.fwis.com/house_of_meetings
  71. 71 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/cigarette-century.html
  72. 72 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/cigarette-century.html
  73. 73 http://flickr.com/photos/grainspace/2199567820/
  74. 74 http://flickr.com/photos/grainspace/2199567820/
  75. 75 http://ffffound.com/image/8b942b1d934bd721507bcc6beef220a24b603f97
  76. 76 http://ffffound.com/image/8b942b1d934bd721507bcc6beef220a24b603f97
  77. 77 http://flickr.com/photos/49527900@N00/251435453
  78. 78 http://flickr.com/photos/49527900@N00/251435453
  79. 79 http://www.tobylitt.com/blogphoto6.html
  80. 80 http://www.tobylitt.com/blogphoto6.html
  81. 81 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Book-Cover-The-Music-of-Chance/47985
  82. 82 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Book-Cover-The-Music-of-Chance/47985
  83. 83 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/08/one-red-paperclip-or-how-ordinary-man.html
  84. 84 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/08/one-red-paperclip-or-how-ordinary-man.html
  85. 85 http://covers.fwis.com/supercapitalism
  86. 86 http://covers.fwis.com/supercapitalism
  87. 87 http://covers.fwis.com/worst_years_of_your_life
  88. 88 http://covers.fwis.com/worst_years_of_your_life
  89. 89 http://flickr.com/photos/pletu/2400133879/
  90. 90 http://flickr.com/photos/pletu/2400133879/
  91. 91 http://covers.fwis.com/last_days_of_publishing
  92. 92 http://covers.fwis.com/last_days_of_publishing
  93. 93 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/two-new-science-titles-from-penguin.html
  94. 94 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/two-new-science-titles-from-penguin.html
  95. 95 http://covers.fwis.com/small_crimes_in_an_age_of_abundance
  96. 96 http://covers.fwis.com/small_crimes_in_an_age_of_abundance
  97. 97 http://covers.fwis.com/disappearing_liberal_intellectual
  98. 98 http://covers.fwis.com/disappearing_liberal_intellectual
  99. 99 http://flickr.com/photos/ad_symphoniam/2334244418/in/pool-bookcovers
  100. 100 http://flickr.com/photos/ad_symphoniam/2334244418/in/pool-bookcovers
  101. 101 http://www.theserif.net/?p=4388
  102. 102 http://www.theserif.net/?p=4388
  103. 103 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/House-of-Leaves-Book-Cover/63267
  104. 104 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/House-of-Leaves-Book-Cover/63267
  105. 105 http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/076242723X/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link
  106. 106 http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/076242723X/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link
  107. 107 http://covers.fwis.com/kidney_for_sale_by_owner
  108. 108 http://covers.fwis.com/kidney_for_sale_by_owner
  109. 109 http://designarchives.aiga.org/
  110. 110 http://designarchives.aiga.org/
  111. 111 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/338398980/in/set-72157594264845751/
  112. 112 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/338398980/in/set-72157594264845751/
  113. 113 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/04/mayors-tongue.html
  114. 114 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/04/mayors-tongue.html
  115. 115 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/all-sad-young-literary-men.html
  116. 116 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/all-sad-young-literary-men.html
  117. 117 http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2007/09/andrew-zuckerma.html
  118. 118 http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2007/09/andrew-zuckerma.html
  119. 119 http://covers.fwis.com/
  120. 120 http://flickr.com/groups/bookcovers/pool/
  121. 121 http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?parent_id=1030351
  122. 122 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/sets/72157594264351021/
  123. 123 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/
  124. 124 http://flickr.com/groups/paperbacks/pool/
  125. 125 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/
  126. 126 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/pelican.htm
  127. 127 http://designarchives.aiga.org/
  128. 128 http://www.sil.si.edu/ondisplay/czechbooks/explore.htm
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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, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Gerd Wippich

    April 14, 2008 2:19 am

    Great stuff. Thanx for collecting.

    2
  2. 3

    awesome inspiration source! thanks

    0
  3. 4

    Mostafa Mourad

    April 14, 2008 2:48 am

    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

    naveed ahmad

    April 14, 2008 3:27 am

    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

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

    0
  10. 13

    really good

    0
  11. 14

    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
  12. 15

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

    0
  13. 16

    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
  14. 17

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

    0
  15. 18

    Steve Ranford

    April 14, 2008 8:02 am

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

    Great collection.

    0
  16. 19

    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
  17. 20

    Excellent collection. I have always been struck by the cover of . It may be due to its minimalism or the fact that I had a bunny that looked like that.

    -2
  18. 21

    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
  19. 22

    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
  20. 23

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

    0

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