Mesmerizing Vintage Book Covers in Motion

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Cover art is typically considered to be a static medium—even, interestingly, with the rise of digital e-readers. But looking at vintage book covers from the past, one motion designer saw the potential for more.

In two enthralling videos, German designer and animator Henning M. Lederer brings historic minimalistic cover designs to life. The first, created two years ago, features 55 animated vintage book covers gathered from the Julian Montague Project and Book Worship. The Swiss graphic style of most of them make for smooth, intuitive motion designs that are hard to look away from.

Covers from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

Lederer says he began both projects with the discovery of the covers. The aesthetic of many of them, with their clean geometric shapes and alluring color schemes, ignited a burning question in his mind: What would they look like in motion?

“Being a motion graphics designer with a background in graphic design, this was definitely a rather straightforward idea,” he says. “And so whenever there was spare time, next to commercial work, I continued searching for covers and transferring them into moving pieces. So, step-by-step, a series of animated bits came together. At the same time I contacted a friend of mine [Jörg Stierle] who was happy to create a soundtrack.”

[Related: Swiss Style: The Principles, the Typefaces & the Designers]

After releasing the first video, the project continued: A few weeks ago, Lederer released a sequel of sorts in the same style featuring 36 more animated vintage book covers.

More Covers from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

“And as there are still lots of interesting covers out there, maybe I will continue,” Lederer says. “For me personally, it is always important to work on my own personal projects—a kind of free and creative counterbalance to the commercial work.”

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