Three Ways of Looking at Book Covers and Their Design

Book covers are a marketing tool.  They are meant to help convince us that of all the books available, this one is right for us.  But is that all they are?  What of the many cover designs that have become iconic, that have wormed their way into our wider culture?  Below are three items that challenge us to examine cover design, and its implications, more closely.


Gender-Free Book Cover Design

Young Adult Literature Author Maureen Johnson brought attention to the problem of gendered book covers by challenging her twitter followers to “take a well-known book, then to imagine the author of that book was of the opposite gender, or was genderqueer, and imagine what that cover might look like.”  Click through to view some of the contributors’ results:

gendered covers


Book Blocs

The New Yorker reports that beginning in 2011, book blocs, large shields built to resemble book covers, have been used by demonstrators in protest of tuition increases at educational institutions in New York.book blocks new yorkFirst appearing in Rome, book blocs have since been utilized by protesters in Sweden, Spain, England, and multiple states of the US.  Culturally charged, the blocs can act as both physical protection for protesters and as symbols for the ideas and knowledge considered at stake.


Book Designer Chip Kidd’s TED Talk

Chip Kidd explains how he created the designs for some of his best known cover projects, including Jurassic Park and Murakami’s 1Q84, proving that “great art can be great business.”


For more on cover design, view our previous post:  Book Covers — a Web Miscellany

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