Cover Stories

Of all the media where graphic design plays a prominent role, book covers and jackets are my favorites. Years ago, Seymour Chwast and I authored Jackets Required: An Illustrated History of American Book Jacket Design, 1920-1950. The quality of book packaging has risen since those primitive days, and over the past ten years innovations have been plentiful. Now there is a fairly new website that chronicles and analyzes these objects of desire. The site is called Faceout Books and it is lovingly edited by Charles Brock and Jason Gabbert. 

Every Monday he adds a new entry that celebrates the form and form-makers. Entries usually include analysis, interviews with designers, alternative and rejected designs, and finishes (all well illustrated). Among the site’s many assets are the various covers from Europe and elsewhere that are rarely seen in the U.S., like UK designer Michael Gillette’s 007 series (above). Also check out Helen Crawford’s delighful covers for the Anna Blundy Series (below) and Jenny Grigg’s inventive Peter Carey series (bottom).

Other websites dedicated to covers: The Book Cover Archive, FWIS, and The Book Design Review. And don’t forget to check out Alvin Lustig’s covers here,  Paul Rand’s covers here, and By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design by Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger here.

See any good books lately? Let me know in comments.

Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.