Whenever I walk into a bookshop, despite my best intentions, I always end up buying at least one book merely because I am inextricably attracted to its outstanding design. We all know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover but I can’t resist so below are my favourite book cover designs of the past year.
7. Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou (design by Gray318)
Congolese author, Alain Mabanckou, tells the story of the trials and triumphs of a young orphaned boy named Moses. This cover is extremely striking with its bold colour palette and striking motif. I like the reference of traditional African materials in the patterns and the nod to Robin Hood in the hat’s silhouette is telling of Moses’ character.
6. Legoland by Gerard Woodward (design by Justine Amveiler)
A collection of short stories that contrasts reality with the surreal. It is perfectly captured in the Escheresque cover design by Justine Amveiler. The warped typography creates a fantastic little world inhabited by a variety of characters going about their individual stories.
5. The Mothers by Brit Bennett (design by Rachel Willey)
This work of fictions follows the life of a girl grappling with adulthood under the watchful eyes of her conservative black Christian community. The abstracted design of a women’s side profile is captured with soft lines but vivid colours and reminds me of stained glass windows prominent in old churches.
4. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (design by Paul Buckley & illustration by Manuya Waldia)
I am a massive fan of publishers that reprint a set of classics with a contemporary retake on the design and Penguin have outdone themselves with the latest overhaul of Shakespeare’s plays and poems. The elegant line drawings of Manuya Waldia manage to capture the plot of each play so well and give life to these quintessential tales. Check out the full set.
3. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (design by Peter Brown)
As a sucker for illustrated books, I couldn’t resist this endearing children’s book by Peter Brown. His captivating drawings tell the story of a lady robot who crash lands on an island and has to learn to survive. The juxtaposition of technology and nature makes for interesting scenes and raises prominent questions about our current situation.
2. Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair (design by Nathan Puters & artwork by Wangechi Mutu)
This cover is quite disturbing. The almost grotesque collage of body parts speaks of the struggle to determine a postcolonial identity which one of the prominent themes in this anthology of poems by Jamaican poet Safiya Sinclair.
1. Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson, J. Richard Gatt & Michael A. Strauss (design by Chris Ferrante)
In this illuminating piece of non-fiction, three of the best minds in astrophysics take you on a tour of the cosmos. The use of the black with white circles and lines creates the illusions of movement and replicates the common comprehension of the universe – planets and stars – but also references new conceptions of dark matter, black holes and time travel! No fuss… pure simplicity.