Six beautiful book covers

Bookshops contain a great deal of magic. Not just within the books they sell, but on the outside of them too. You see, while most people are likely to concern themselves with the contents of a book, I personally take a keen interest in the cover art.

As a result of this visual focus, bookshops are no longer merely bookshops. They have become mini art galleries where one is afforded the opportunity – for free I might add – to appreciate the finer details of art forms including illustration, graphic design, photography, painting, and even hand-lettering! Inspired by this new insight, I have decided to start documenting the book covers that impress me and blogging about them from time to time.

It’s an interesting exercise to walk through a bookstore and take a closer look at the cover art that delights you. Not only do you begin to appreciate the subtly of the visuals on display, but you begin to notice how powerful a good cover design can be. Why, just recently I found myself wanting to buy a travel book purely for its cover when in reality I’m not even a fan of travel writing.

Remember, every book cover is, in theory, produced by a professional artist somewhere in the world. You can be guaranteed that for each book your eye glances over, hours are spent conceptualizing and creating the covers. So while you can’t afford to buy every book you see, one should certainly take a moment or two to consider the artwork that was created for them. It’s the least a reader can do.

Over the weekend I dropped in at Exclusive Books – a major local bookstore chain in South Africa.

Here are six book covers that stood out to me:



1. ‘The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People’ by Meik Wiking

I just love the illustrations on this book cover. The tone of the drawings and the mood of the colour palette demonstrate the nature of the subject matter with a playful sense of humour and warm gentleness. The only aspects I would change are the uppercase titles and the sans-serif font. But otherwise this cover is lovely.


2. ‘Emotional Agility: Get unstuck, embrace change and thrive in work and life’ by Meik Wiking

The colours and the shapes caught my eye here and immediately drew my attention to the title of the book. It’s just a fun cover that excites me.

3. ‘Innocence: Tales of Youth and Guile’ by Roald Dahl

The use of typography here is subtle but effective. The combination of the type with the color palette and the eerie painting of the child creates an atmosphere of nostalgia that evokes memory and the turmoil involved in letting go of one’s youth. Even if I didn’t know Roald Dahl, I’d buy this book purely for the beauty of the cover.


 4. ‘From Here to Eternity’ by Caitlin Doughty

The illustration of a skull and the colour palette of this cover, not to mention the playful use of type create a charming image that does a great job of communicating the contrast inherent in the book’s byline: that being the contrast between traveling the world (typically life-giving) and death. Besides being thematically effective, this is simply a great cover could double as a poster in my room any day.



5. ‘The Short Story of Art’ by Susie Hodge

An iconic painting, The Monalisa, coupled with a gloriously modern typeface make this a strikingly arresting book cover that effortlessly makes the story of art engaging, relevant and above all, cool.


6. ‘Status Anxiety’ by Alain de Botton

A limited palette of pastel green, black and gold create a playful sense of sophistication which is brought to life by the charm of hand-lettering and illustrated patterns. I always love the covers of Alain de Botton’s books.


Well, there you have it. Six book covers that caught my attention and delighted my eyeballs. I hope that you feel inspired to make your way to your nearest bookstore and begin contemplating the finer details of the cover art you see. I believe there is a whole world right in front of us that often goes unnoticed.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think it’s time we started judging books by their covers.