Design

20 Best Book Covers Of All Time

15/02/2021 | 0 min read

Glorify Team

Best book covers are the ones that later become the symbol of the book. An iconic design that consists of simple yet powerful elements, can turn into an integrated part of the book. So much so that you can’t imagine it ever having another cover design. 

In your life, you’ll find two kinds of books: one, that you enjoy while reading, but you forget about them once you are done with them, and two, books that will stay with you forever. Most of the time, the cover stays too.

20 Best Book Covers Of All Time

Having a really good book design invites readers to discover the novel and makes them remember what it was about long after they are done reading it. Sometimes you can recognize these designs in a glimpse, and they immediately take you back to the story. A lot of great book cover designs tend to become posters for the books’ adaptations and make their way into pop culture and the hearts of the audiences forever. Let’s go on a journey to look at the best book covers of all time and learn about the story behind them. This way you can learn the behind-the-scenes on how to create a book cover that will stand the test of time. 

Here are 20 of the best-selling book covers that everybody can recognize and could be almost as popular as the books themselves: 

1. The Little Prince

Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince book cover

Artist: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This is one of those books that you absolutely can’t separate from its cover and the watercolor illustrations within. It is a poetic tale that stole everyone’s heart. At first glance, it may seem like a children’s book cover but it’s so much more than that. This book has so many that if you read it every year, you’ll be able to understand it differently, every single time. After reading it the first time, you’ll smile every time you see this cover. 

2. Jurassic Park 

Jurassic Park book cover

Author: Michael Crichton

Artist: Chip Kidd

The first edition book cover of this amazing book is so simple, yet is one of the most beautiful and famous book covers you can find out there. It is so iconic that it has become the symbol and logo of the whole Jurassic Park universe.

The cover captures the book’s atmosphere and metaphorically brings life back to dinosaurs using nothing but bones.

3. Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated book cover

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer

Artist: John Gray

This book started the revival of hand-lettering and book cover typography, all the while setting up a new book cover design trend. The cover is in contrast with the clean graphics that were popular during that time. 

4. Harry Potter series

Harry Potter series book cover

Author: J. K. Rowling 

Artist: Mary GrandPré

This iconic fantasy book has been the highlight of our childhood. This artist is responsible for the image of the whole Harry Potter universe and created the iconic Harry Potter logo. Her colorful, vivid illustrations set up the scene for the amazing adventures the readers were going to start.

5. The Handmaid’s Tale by 

The Handmaid’s Tale by - book cover

Author: Margaret Atwood

Artist: Noma Bar

This book is more relevant than ever. This book was released to match the launch of the TV series based on the novel. 

The red silhouette along with a white touch against the black background offers a powerful contrast that catches your attention immediately and perfectly encapsulates the dominant themes in the book. This great book cover design falls into the category of minimalist book covers.

6. A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange book cover

Author: Anthony Burgess

Artist: David Pelham

This is another popular book cover. Once you’ve seen it, it is not possible to forget it. The bold and robust design used in the cover became the visual symbol of the novel itself and later Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation.

7. Jaws

Jaws - book cover

Author: Peter Benchley

Artist: Paul Bacon

This legendary book cover designer was famous for so many book covers that made history. His idea and vision are so hauntingly beautiful that you can find them in the movie as well.

8. Psycho 

Psycho - book cover

Author: Robert Bloch

Artist: Tony Palladino

This cover is simple but powerful. It features nothing but a black and white giant broken typeface. The cover just gives you the chills. The hauntingly-brilliant idea was also used to promote Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation.

9. The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby book cover

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Artist: Francis Cugat

This iconic book had an iconic book cover. This cover became a one-hit-wonder as it was the only book cover he ever designed. 

10. The Godfather

The Godfather book cover

Author: Mario Puzo

Artist:  S. Neil Fujita

This amazing cover also became the poster for the movie franchise. It later went on to become so well known that it’s synonymous with the story itself. 

This cover is simple, yet bold and significant. The cover art features a heavy typeface and a puppeteer’s hand which became iconic imagery for the legendary Godfather.

11. The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man book cover

Author: Ralph Ellison

Artist: Edward McKnight Kauffer

This book cover design has a distinct cubist influence, which leads to the author being named the ‘Picasso of advertising design’. The cover also evoked the Harlem and Jazz age because of its use of a handful of colors and a powerful message.

12. The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again

The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again book cover

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Artist: J. R. R. Tolkien

This fascinating fantasy book inspired many generations. The author himself designed this cover. Although the original cover didn’t have the red sun, he wanted it to be red but had to change it due to budget restraints.

13. The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso

The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso - book cover

Author: Dante Alighieri

Artist: Eric Drooker

This cover artwork was nothing less than legendary. The three illustrations on the cover represent the three volumes of the book – Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each of the illustrations used is highly symbolic and captures the essence of the book.

14. The Foundation Trilogy

The Foundation Trilogy book cover

Author: Isaac Asimov

Artist: Michael Whelan

This well-known artist managed to bring the book to life. Now every reader of the genre still remembers the iconic covers. 

15. Catch 22

Catch 22 book cover

Author: Joseph Heller

Artist: Paul Bacon

Initially, there were 11 versions for this book cover but the artist settled for the version that we all know and love. The elements present on this cover were pieced and pasted together by hand.

16. 1984

1984 book cover

Author: George Orwell

Artist: Shepard Fairey

This Soviet-style of work suited the content of the book perfectly. Moreover, the all-seeing eye gives that essential element of creepiness, that the book is all about.

17. Columbine

Columbine book cover

Author: Dave Cullen

Artist: Henry Sene Yee

This iconic minimalist design cover incorporated a simple shot of the normal-looking school with a faintly ominous grey sky above it. The cover lets you know what you’re getting into.

18. The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test book cover

Author: Jon Ronson

Artist: Alex Merto 

This brilliantly cool cover comes with two contrasting design styles and even has different textures ‘in the flesh’. It has a perfect Jekyll & Hyde design to suit the title with the formal, stagnant, and reserved on the left and ‘ripped’ away to reveal psychedelic, fluorescent and crazed on the right.

19. The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar book cover

Author: Sylvia Plath

Artist: Shirley Tucker

This is the most iconic and the coolest of all the covers for this brilliant classic. The mesmerizing concentric circle design is perhaps a metaphor for the tunnel of despair that the protagonist often finds herself in.

20. Beowulf

Beowulf book cover

Author: Seamus Heaney

Artist: Seth Rubin

This epic Old English poem has a brilliant, simple cover that captures the feel of Beowulf, wearing his chain mail, preparing to head away from the reader, into battle. We can all admit that Scandinavian warriors are always cool.

That’s all folks! These were the best book covers of all times. Does this spark a light within you to create a book cover for yourself too? We’ve got you! Here is how you can create a book cover online for free via Glorify. Let the artist inside you enkindle and create the best book cover design of all times. 

Get to designing!

Conclusion

We hope this beautiful trip down memory lane was as enjoyable for you too. This was a list to remember some of the best book cover art of all time.

Was there any book cover that stayed with you throughout the years? Let us know!

20 Best Book Covers Of All Time FAQs

1. What color book covers sell best?

Some of the best colors to use are, red (symbolizes energy, enthusiasm, emotion, power), pale yellow ( symbolizes friendly, approachable, warm), Bold Yellow ( symbolizes ambition, motivation, creativity, cutting edge), Green ( symbolizes nature, vitality, environment, health) and blue ( symbolizes dependability, trust, thoughtfulness, calm), etc.

2. What makes a cover stand out?

Make sure your title striking. The title of your book should be clearly visible. It carries the essence of the book and differentiates it from the rest.

3. What does the design of the book tell you?

The design gives us, readers a chance to predict the story or the information contained inside.

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