For me, the relaxation of summer is married to reading. Throughout the winter, I curate a list of books people have mentioned or that I’ve stared at longingly on the shelves of a bookstore, but have no time to read. Now, sans classes, with a full-time job and the need for a bedtime, I dive into my book list. I’ve quit the Kindle cold turkey and now I’ve noticed what’s been missing: the book covers. I wouldn’t say the Kindle is killing print books, but it may just be killing the illustrators and designers of book covers. If not killing, then seriously maiming . Take a look of some of the best work, old and new, that you’ve missed skipping to the meat of the book.
In 2014, these two artists, Sunra Thompson and Patricia Storace, were celebrated among 50 others by The Casual Optimist in the 50 Covers for 2014 article. Both artists use a title not as text on top of art, but part of the piece while capturing the theme of the book.
With a few overlapping titles, including the Patricia Storace cover, Buzzfeed’s 32 Of The Most Beautiful Book Covers of 2014, has cover-designers Charlotte Strick (illustration by Patrick Leger) and Paul Sahre on their list. These covers play with time and space in their juxtaposition of panels to form a story atop a novel.
In 2011, Flavorwire took a look at the historically notable book covers in The 20 Most Iconic Book Covers Ever. While the obvious titles are represented such as Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, some are surprisingly beautiful. Perhaps we’ve been numbed to their artistic allure because their covers are iconic, but these artists should be counted among the best: Francis Cugat and Joe Pernaciaro.
I’m not saying let’s all go home and throw out our Kindles in protest, but I would be sad to see book cover art influences dwindle. Yeah, we’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but we do. And readers yearn for a cover that aptly describes the pages beneath. I might add that my bookshelf, fitted with old cloth texts and bright edgy covers, has never looked better.