Covered Up Blog

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10 cover designs to chew on

A game/exercise is circulating the blogosphere right now, ignited by Tyler Cowen and kept alive by Ross Douthat, a writer for The New York Times. The idea: name 10 books that have influenced your view of the world. They don’t have to be the 10 books, per se, just 10. And they don’t (necessarily) have to be your favorite books, either.

Hint: the first 10 that come to mind are probably the books that should be on your list! Go with your gut instinct.

I have to admit, when I sat down to make my list, I instead kept thinking about exceptional cover designs. So, I thought, why not change the rules of the game a bit? Here are 10 covers that strike my fancy in a big way, in no particular order:  

1. The Mayor’s Tongue, designed by gray318. I love the playful use of type and how it helps to paint the overall image.

2. Stuffed and Starved, designed by Carol Hayes. A powerful application of an everyday tableau.

3. The Trouble with Physics, designer unknown. The upside-down type, of course, would make any bookstore patron do a double take.

4. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, designed by David Pearson. A simple concept that drives the point home.

5. Milk, designed by Barbara de Wilde. What a beautiful cover – the type, the simplicity of the image and the way the two work together.

6. Against Happiness, designed by Jennifer Carrow. It’s just too easy to imagine the corresponding black circle eyes and nose above the frown.

7. Lopsided. How breast cancer can be really distracting, designed by Carin Goldberg. Such a creative use of a classic figure. The frank imagery works well with the honest, straightforward title and typeface.   

8. One Perfect Day, designed by Evan Gaffney. The cold, almost heartless type on the receipt juxtaposed against romantic cursive is striking.

9. One Red Paperclip, designed by Kyle Kolker. This cover might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m willing to bet it took a while to conceive!

10. The Chess Machine, designed by gray318. Beautiful use of silhouettes that strongly calls to mind contemporary artist Kara Walker.

So, dear readers, what about you? What are your favorite cover designs? Or favorite/most compelling books? We’d love to know.

Images and design credits courtesy The New York Times. Find the original posts here and here.


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  • “ The cover and layout are so professionally done and compelling. The whole design speaks to a high level of quality and style and I think that has a huge impact on book sales. ”

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