Judging a Book by Its Cover

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When I was a little girl, my favorite book was Ann Likes Red. My middle name was Ann. My favorite color was red. And best of all, Ann went shopping and bought an entire red wardrobe! I still remember the book cover with Ann looking in the mirror wearing her new clothes.

Saul Bass designed numerous book covers including Henri’s Walk to Paris, a


children’s book about a young French boy who wants to visit the city. The cover design mimics his work using space, lines and motion. It’s a great example of iconic book designs used to entice readers to choose the book.

Today, book designing continues to be big business, especially for digital books. The Editors of Print Magazine have compiled Under the Covers: Print’s Guide to Book Jacket Design for just $9.99. This digital download is 34 pages of book cover design advice, inspiration and more. Guidance is given by art directors working at Penguin, Hachette, Vintage Books and more.

Find out about the stories behind cover design concepts from some of the top designers in the industry. This 34-page compilation includes:

KILL YOUR DARLINGS by Peter Terzian: Book designer’s favorite covers don’t always see the light of day.

THE PAINTED BOOK by Peter Terzian: Lately, a handful of well-read visual artists have looked to book design—specifically, the classic covers of the 20th century—as a source of raw material and inspiration.


THE SEDUCTION OF ROMANCE NOVEL DESIGN by Gail Anderson: Claire Brown knows a lot about love. She designs romance novel covers as part of her job at Hachette Publishing Group. Browns explains the infinite number of design problems that need to be solved within the constraints of a romance cover.

FIVE QUESTIONS WITH PAUL BUCKLEY, PENGUIN ART DIRECTOR by J.C. Gabel: To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Penguin Books, art director Paul Buckley chose 75 book covers to investigate the design process behind each one.

FIVE QUESTIONS FOR VINTAGE ART DIRECTOR/DESIGNER MEGAN WILSON by J.C. Gabel: In a moment of self-discovery, the author realized that at least half of his favorite book covers were designed by Megan Wilson. He decided to find out why.

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID PEARSON by Peter Terzian: Designer David Pearson helped make Penguin Books’ “Great Ideas” series into a success with his typographic covers. He also discuses his new venture, White’s books, and how they approach book cover design.

AN INTERVIEW WITH TALKING COVERS FOUNDER SEAN MANNING by Buzz Poole: “Talking Covers” is a website dedicated to telling the stories of how book covers come to be with commentary from authors, photographers and designers. The Founder, Sean Manning, shares insights into the website and designing book covers.

REDESIGNING NABOKOV: HOW LIMITATIONS CAN BE A DESIGNER’S BEST FRIEND by Peter Terzian: Publishers routinely release backlist titles with new covers, but Vintage Books did something altogether different with the works of Vladamir Nabokov. Find out how seven designers approached the famous author’s work.

DUAL VISION: THE BOOK COVERS OF ALVIN LUSTIG AND ELAINE LUSTIG COHEN by Bruce N. Wright: Get inspired by a collection of book covers from these two modernist masters.

WHEN BOOK JACKETS WERE BAD, HAWKINS’ WERE GOOD by Steven Heller: When book jackets were considered an afterthought, Arthur Hawkins was designing remarkable, stylized covers with a European flair.

In this digital age, content is king and even digital books require a high quality design. Under the Covers: Print’s Guide to Book Jacket Design will give you great advice and renewed inspiration for just $9.99.