Design Desk

From the Design Desk: A Book by Any Other Cover

A new year is just around the corner, so in honor of bidding farewell to 2011 and saying hello to 2012, Design Desk is embracing the spirit of “New Year, New You” and featuring some of our favorite cover makeovers.

As with any makeover, a new cover can inspire a shift in perception and revitalize timeless and well-loved content. And as the Penguin Classics Threads series reminds us, a makeover has the power to transfigure the simplest of forms into an object of beauty.

Left to right: A classic Emma cover and the Penguin Threads version by illustrator Jillian Tamaki.

A new cover can modernize and surprise while attracting new audiences.

Left to right: Original cover and cover illustration by Lina Stigsson for Penguin Ink.

Multiple makeovers of the same cover ensure that there’s something for every reading personality.

Left to right: Wuthering Heights 2010 cover; cover design and illustration by Jessica Hische for Sterling Publishing; and cover illustration by Ruben Toledo.

Or reflect the cultural preferences of different countries.

Left to right: The U.K. cover and the Chronicle Books version, The Wonderful World of Fifi Lapin.

A new cover can inform readers that there’s new content to discover.

Left to right: Original and revised edition of Craft, Inc.

It can elevate and engage… and make you want to drink wine.

Left to right: Original game and Chronicle Books’ revised version of Winerd.

A new cover can turn forgotten treasures of yore into relevant pearls of wisdom for today.

Left to right: Originally written and published in the 1930s; Chronicle Books’ revised edition, Bubbly on Your Budget.

Sometimes makeovers call for entire reinvention, but other times, it’s about subtly leveraging one’s assets.

Left to right: The original edition of Allure; Bullfinch edition; and cover for the Chronicle Books edition of this classic book.

Though the adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover” may ring true when applied to most things in life, we would be remiss as book designers to apply that thinking to our own craft. You can, in fact, judge a book by its cover. And sometimes a makeover is just what a cover needs.

Jennifer Tolo Pierce
Design Director

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