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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. [Content Care Oct/21/2016]

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.

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 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 Mess3

Book Covers - A Perfect Mess4

Christopher Moore, “The Dirty Job”, 10/075

Book Covers - Christopher Moore, Un lavoro sporco, 10/076

Disorders of Memory and Learning7
Effective and creative. 1968. Cover Design by Martin Bassett.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)8

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 Covers9
Paul Rand: one of the most influential modern graphic designers. Simple and effective.

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)10

Book Covers - the-end-of-inequality.jpg (image)11

The End Of Inequality12
Cover design by Peter Stone.

Book Covers - Judge a book.....13

198414

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!15

Incomplete Manifesto16
Just a sketch. This book doesn’t exist.

Book Covers - a517

Soviet Science Fiction book cover18

Book Covers - Soviet Science Fiction book cover19

Penguin Book Covers7820

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!21

St. Cyborg’s22

Book Covers - St. Cyborg's23

A Penguin Special – A Suitable Case for Treatment24

Book Covers - A Penguin Special - A Suitable Case for Treatment25

“The book of the Spirits”26

Book Covers - 27

Gas Book 08: Blue Source28

Book Covers - Gas Book 08: Blue Source29

The Language of Graphics30

Book Covers - The Language of Graphics31

1964 Sex and Society – Alex Comfort32

Book Covers - things magazine33

1970 War Gaming – Andrew Wilson34

Book Covers - things magazine35

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 You36

Book Covers - We Can Build You37

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 Personality38.

Book Covers - things magazine39

ВЧЕРА И СЕГОДНЯ (1935)

Book Covers - ВУЕРА СЕГОДНЯ (1935)

Alvin Lustig’s Book Covers40

Book Covers - Alvin Lustig, Modern American Design Pioneer - Books and Periodicals - New Directions41

Suiza Constructiva42

Book Covers - Suiza Constructiva43

“The Art of a Book”44
Interesting conceptual solution.

Book Covers45

“The Creative Process”46

Book Covers - 47

Understanding Media48
Interesting use of symbols.

Book Covers - Favourite Book Covers 08849

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

Book Covers - Book Covers

House of Meetings
Designer: Peter Mendelsund.

Book Covers - Book Covers

Cigarette Century50

Book Covers - The Book Design Review51

Dutch paperback book cover design52

Book Covers - Dutch paperback book cover design53

Hans Kleefeld book cover design54

Book Covers - FFFFOUND!55

Livre perdu1 / Lost book 156

Book Covers - Livre perdu1 / Lost book 157

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 Link

The Music of Chance58

Book Covers - Book Cover: The Music of Chance59

One Red Paperclip60

Book Covers - The Book Design Review61

Supercapitalism

Book Covers - Book Covers

Worst Years Of Your Life

Book Covers - Book Covers

Typography Link

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 Physics62

Book Covers - The Book Design Review63

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance

Book Covers - Book Covers

The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual

Book Covers - Book Covers

Emil Ruder, “Typographie”64

Book Covers - Emil Ruder's Typographie65

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 Thinking66

Book Covers - Amazon Online Reader : Change the Way You See Everything: Through Asset-Based Thinking67

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 Typography68

Book Covers - About Face: Reviving the Rules of Typography69

The Mayor’s Tongue70

Book Covers - The Book Design Review71

All the Sad Young Literary Men72

Book Covers - The Book Design Review73

swissmiss: Books74

Book Covers - swissmiss: Books75

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 http://flickr.com/photos/loopzilla/2404438689/in/pool-bookcovers
  4. 4 http://flickr.com/photos/loopzilla/2404438689/in/pool-bookcovers
  5. 5 http://flickr.com/photos/elliotedizioni/1366535740/in/set-72157600172523547/
  6. 6 http://flickr.com/photos/elliotedizioni/1366535740/in/set-72157600172523547/
  7. 7 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2006/12/disorders-of-memory-and-learning_08.html
  8. 8 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2006/12/disorders-of-memory-and-learning_08.html
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/groups/paul_rand_design/pool/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/groups/paul_rand_design/pool/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/groups/paul_rand_design/pool/
  12. 12 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/end-of-inequality.html
  13. 13 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/end-of-inequality.html
  14. 14 http://ffffound.com/image/ed4e2266c9155289e96af43e2c4c9cfb3e848524
  15. 15 http://ffffound.com/image/ed4e2266c9155289e96af43e2c4c9cfb3e848524
  16. 16 http://flickr.com/photos/undercover_surrealist/1119363007/
  17. 17 http://flickr.com/photos/undercover_surrealist/1119363007/
  18. 18 http://flickr.com/photos/narisa/135244337/
  19. 19 http://flickr.com/photos/narisa/135244337/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/sets/72157594264351021/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/sets/72157594264351021/
  22. 22 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/St_-Cyborgs/46046
  23. 23 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/St_-Cyborgs/46046
  24. 24 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/271647856/in/set-72157594264351021/
  25. 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/271647856/in/set-72157594264351021/
  26. 26 http://flickr.com/photos/jaartepr/2042456286/in/pool-loveyourcovers
  27. 27 http://flickr.com/photos/jaartepr/2042456286/in/pool-loveyourcovers
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/312724229/in/set-72157594264845751/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/312724229/in/set-72157594264845751/
  30. 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/496975304/in/set-72157594264845751/
  31. 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/496975304/in/set-72157594264845751/
  32. 32 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1960s/pel04h.htm
  33. 33 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1960s/pel04h.htm
  34. 34 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1970s/pel00o.htm
  35. 35 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1970s/pel00o.htm
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21631299@N07/2097269432/in/pool-goodlookingbooks
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21631299@N07/2097269432/in/pool-goodlookingbooks
  38. 38 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1980s/pel02b.htm
  39. 39 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/1980s/pel02b.htm
  40. 40 http://www.alvinlustig.org/bp_nd/bp_nd.asp
  41. 41 http://www.alvinlustig.org/bp_nd/bp_nd.asp
  42. 42 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/231753150/in/set-72157594264845751/
  43. 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/231753150/in/set-72157594264845751/
  44. 44 http://kak.ru/magazine/6/a165/
  45. 45 http://kak.ru/magazine/6/a165/
  46. 46 http://flickr.com/photos/ken_duffy/898007070/
  47. 47 http://flickr.com/photos/ken_duffy/898007070/
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelbeale/2260217111/in/set-72157603894807023/
  49. 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelbeale/2260217111/in/set-72157603894807023/
  50. 50 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/cigarette-century.html
  51. 51 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/cigarette-century.html
  52. 52 http://flickr.com/photos/grainspace/2199567820/
  53. 53 http://flickr.com/photos/grainspace/2199567820/
  54. 54 http://ffffound.com/image/8b942b1d934bd721507bcc6beef220a24b603f97
  55. 55 http://ffffound.com/image/8b942b1d934bd721507bcc6beef220a24b603f97
  56. 56 http://flickr.com/photos/49527900@N00/251435453
  57. 57 http://flickr.com/photos/49527900@N00/251435453
  58. 58 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Book-Cover-The-Music-of-Chance/47985
  59. 59 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Book-Cover-The-Music-of-Chance/47985
  60. 60 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/08/one-red-paperclip-or-how-ordinary-man.html
  61. 61 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/08/one-red-paperclip-or-how-ordinary-man.html
  62. 62 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/two-new-science-titles-from-penguin.html
  63. 63 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/two-new-science-titles-from-penguin.html
  64. 64 http://flickr.com/photos/ad_symphoniam/2334244418/in/pool-bookcovers
  65. 65 http://flickr.com/photos/ad_symphoniam/2334244418/in/pool-bookcovers
  66. 66 http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/076242723X/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link
  67. 67 http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/076242723X/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link
  68. 68 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/338398980/in/set-72157594264845751/
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/338398980/in/set-72157594264845751/
  70. 70 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/04/mayors-tongue.html
  71. 71 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/04/mayors-tongue.html
  72. 72 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/all-sad-young-literary-men.html
  73. 73 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/03/all-sad-young-literary-men.html
  74. 74 http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2007/09/andrew-zuckerma.html
  75. 75 http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2007/09/andrew-zuckerma.html
  76. 76 http://flickr.com/groups/bookcovers/pool/
  77. 77 http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?parent_id=1030351
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekral/sets/72157594264351021/
  79. 79 http://seenbooks.blogspot.com/
  80. 80 http://flickr.com/groups/paperbacks/pool/
  81. 81 http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/
  82. 82 http://thingsmagazine.net/projects/pelican.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

    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
  2. 2

    Gerd Wippich

    April 14, 2008 2:19 am

    Great stuff. Thanx for collecting.

    2
  3. 4

    awesome inspiration source! thanks

    0
  4. 5

    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
  5. 6

    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
  6. 7

    How about reading the Bible a bit more?

    -6
    • 8

      Thats the worst novel EVER. Get lost.

      0
      • 9

        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
  7. 10

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

    0
  8. 11

    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
  9. 12

    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
  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

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

    0
  14. 17

    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
  15. 18

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

    0
  16. 19

    Steve Ranford

    April 14, 2008 8:02 am

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

    Great collection.

    0
  17. 20

    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
  18. 21

    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
  19. 22

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

    0
  20. 23

    excellent!

    0

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