The art of book cover design is just that: an art. There are thousands upon thousands of books being published each year. And every book has a cover. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright ugly. But the good designs, when you come across them, are often outstanding. And we can perhaps go as far as calling them the diamond standard of smart, engaging, and thoughtful design.

To design a book you have to know the text. A slapdash job won’t do. The designer requires a prescient knowledge and understanding of the story behind the title. Which is what makes this particular type of design work so special and challenging. 

 So, in the spirit of not judging a book by its cover, here’s 10 of Red Square’s favourite cover designs.


1 — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams

This one has a great retro feel to it. There’s a nice use of techno-style type in order to evoke the sci-fi themes. And the simple silhouette illustrations allude to the story’s contents.


2 — The Girl Who Fell From The Sky  

Published by: Oneworld Publications
Author: Heidi Durrow

There’s a great use of literal interpretation here. The way the words of the title are laid out acts as a metaphor for the title itself. Everything draws the eye down to the image of the falling girl.   


3 — Animal Farm 

Published by: Penguin
Author: George Orwell

Simplistic, menacing, and foreboding. The colours and imagery in this cover are reminiscent of old communist propaganda posters. It hints at a dark political undertone, which is perfect for the book.


4 — The Iron Man 

Published by: Faber & Faber
Author: Ted Hughes

Wonderful illustration and an all-round minimalistic feel which nicely reflects the style of the storytelling within the pages. The font used is somewhat naive and very childlike (which is fitting as this is a children’s story). 


5 — All The Pretty Horses, Picador

Published by: Picador
Author: Cormac McCarthy

This cover employs expert usage of textures, colours, and fonts. It’s very reminiscent of old wanted posters, and has a strong Wild West aesthetic.


6 — The Odyssey 

Published by: Modern Library
Author: Homer

This one is interesting because of its juxtaposition to the actual text of the book. It’s a very simple and naive design, which greatly contrasts with the classical epic within. The eye is immediately drawn to the boat, which serves as a pop of colour on the backdrop of a repetitive and understated wave pattern.


7 — Lord of the Flies

 Author: William Golding

Not only does this cover look fantastic, but it very cleverly encapsulates the heart of the story it symbolises. It’s very disorganised and messy, and also quite sinister (with the addition of the blood stains), which is very in-keeping with the theme and core of the book.


8 — Life of Pi

Author: Yann Martel

The colours used here, and the overall elegance of the design, evoke the book’s exotic nature. It makes amazing use of the liberty pattern to depict the waves. And there is a fantastical, magical feel to it.


9 — Dune

Author: Frank Herbert

The simplest design on the list. This is an exceptional use of negative space to create the shape of the dune. The stark and clinical black-and-white also serves to underscore the sci-fi element of the story.


10 — Ikagai 

Published by: Penguin
Authors: Héctor García and Francesc Miralles

An accurate reflection of Japanese artistry. Simple, clean, and elegant, with the incorporation of the iconic cherry blossom in order to evoke images of Japan. 

That’s it for the top 10. We hope you liked our picks! And don’t forget, great cover designs aren’t just for novels. If you’ve written an ebook for your business, then a thoughtful, creative, and eye-catching cover could make all the difference to the end product. If you’d like help designing a cover, why not get in touch for a free consultation!