Art + Design

From the Design Desk: New Vintage Covers

Like most designers I know, I often turn to vintage books and ephemera to draw inspiration for a current project. As designers, we are constantly resurrecting old styles and referencing the visual vernacular of past eras in order to infuse our work with whatever connotations that style brings. That’s why I’ve bookmarked in my inspiration file a few designers’ personal projects that involve reinterpreting classic albums, video games, and movies into the well-loved formats of vintage books.

For this awesome project, The Record Books, London-based designer Christophe Gowans took classic albums and turned them into book covers, hilariously referencing pedestrian genres like phone books, instruction manuals, and pulp novels.

Another UK designer, Olly Moss, designed book covers for some of his favorite video games, based on the classic Penguin Marber Grid.

Inspired by Moss, blogger and designer Spacesick turned cult films into vintage paperbacks, cleverly distilling the movie’s main theme into an iconic graphic.

And this redesigning-as-vintage trend can work for new books too. M. S. Corley, inspired by both Moss and Spacesick, reimagined the Harry Potter series as retro Penguin covers.

Vintage book covers have clearly inspired many designers out there. The Marber Grid in particular! Have you come across any other projects like these? I think I’ll head to my neighborhood used bookstore this weekend for some old-is-new cover ideas.

Emily Dubin

Emily Dubin

Emily Dubin

Senior Designer at Chronicle Books, collector of magazines, watches, and vintage ephemera. See more of her work at
Emily Dubin



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