27 Jan 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Design

 I'm a sucker for a book with a pretty cover. I also have zero willpower, which is how I ended up with multiple editions of Austen and Brontë novels. I definitely think that people should judge books by their covers because it is the cover that will tell you how much a publisher thinks a story is worth. With that in mind, I picked some of my favourite book designs.

I think one of my favourite thing about these series is that the designers have let the books speak for themselves. Publishers are all about quotes and recommendations, and tempt buyers with extra content and freebies like stickers and bookmarks and whatnot, it's nice to see a return to good design: imagery designed to evoke a certain feeling or mood and typography.

Mr Boddington's Studio x Penguin Classics

I'm not sure how I feel about this cover for Wuthering Heights.
On the one hand, it is gorgeous. On the other hand, it
doesn't really capture the feelings of hate and obsession and
the destruction that Heathcliff's "love" causes, and book
covers should really capture the essence of a novel.

I suppose the same could be said for this cover of
Pride and Prejudice.

The covers are gorgeous and have a lovely vintage-y feel for them AND they look great on my shelf. Exclusively sold through Anthropologie, these books are no longer available for purchase.

Rifle Paper Company x Puffin - Puffin in Bloom

I showed a bit of self-restraint with this series and didn't immediately go out and buy all four (I only bought Heidi and A Little Princess, the only two I didn't already own). That doesn't mean I'm not still contemplating adding the other two to my collection. There are decorative endpapers featuring Anna Bond's distinctive illustrations, and beautiful gold detailing on the covers. The series is obviously designed for a younger audience (hence the series title name - 'in bloom,' on the cusp of change, its basically designed for young girls around the ten-twelve) but the young at heart can swoon over these gorgeous covers too.

Vintage Classics Austen series

 My favourite covers are definitely Emma (my favourite Austen work) and Mansfield Park (my least favourite Austen work), but really - the entire series is gorgeous. Fun fact: the endpapers for each book are taken from the cover of another book in the series. So, the endpapers for Sense and Sensibility is Pride and Prejudice (and vice versa), Mansfield Park's is Persuasion (and vice versa) and Emma's is Northanger Abbey (you got it... and vice versa). They also have some pretty interesting introductions by authors and scholars (probably the most well-known would be novelists Alexander McCall Smith - who wrote a modernisation of Emma for The Austen Project - and P.D. James, who wrote the popular fanfiction Death Comes to Pemberley). It's a lovely little series.

White's Fine Editions

I believe that White's is no longer in operation and these books were only printed in a small run, so these books are basically collector's items - you're already looking at paying about $400 - 700 for a used copy of Pride and Prejudice, although you can still buy Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre for around $20 - 30 each brand new. The books are clothbound, with silken bookmark ribbons and the endpapers feature an inverted design of the cover.

Penguin Virginia Woolf series

The dust jackets for this series feature abstract images that were designed to look like the textile designs of the Omega Group, of which Woolf and her sister, artist Vanessa Bell (as well as other members of the Bloomsbury Group), were founders. The fonts used are also taken from the period. Also, check out what's under the dust jacket:

GORGEOUS, am I right?

Penguin Fitzgerald Series

 I love pretty much anything Coralie Bickford-Smith designs, but she really outdid herself with this series. They are designed to evoke a sense of the glamour and elegance of the art deco period. The dust jackets are made of metallic foil and matte paper and they look so good lined up on a shelf together.

Tundra Books - Anne of Green Gables & Emily of New Moon series

Penguin Australian Children's Classics

 I had to include these because they celebrate some of the greats in Australian literature. These aren't all of the books in the series, but these three are my favourites. Despite being marketed as 'children's classics,' I'd say this series is aimed more at young adults.  The books are all brightly coloured with simple illustrations (which actually kind of remind me of Anna Bond's illustrations for Puffin in Bloom), which give the books an old-fashioned kind of feel.

Puffin Chalk

How stunning are these books - the colours, the illustrations. I feel like I'm five years old and drawing up a hopscotch square with a jumbo piece of chalk all over again! If you're as fascinated as me in the work that goes into creating these covers, you can check out a behind the scenes video on Dana Tanamachi's blog.

Penguin Threads

No, you don't get your own piece of embroidered goodness. It's been specially printed so you get pretty close to it (some kind of embossing, I think). When you flip the cover you get the back of the embroidery. Does anybody else think that the mess on the back still looks like the image on the front? No, just me projecting? Okay.

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