The 17 Best Book Covers of May
Shape, Text, and Texture
Cheek and irreverence abound in my favorite book covers this month. I also noticed an unusual number of interesting textures at play, some excellent uses of text as image, and at least a few geometric echoes bouncing around in there. But as ever, though I love to try to draw connections here in the introductory paragraph, there’s no real theme to speak of, just a bunch of good art on a bunch of good books. Enjoy:
This kind of block print text rarely comes with such exciting movement; it’s very fun to see here.
This might have been a perfectly serviceable, nice-looking cover, but the fold effect elevates it several levels.
Another deceptively simple but completely brilliant design by Oliver Munday—the halftone tongue-as-fruit (with that little hand-drawn stem to tie into the author’s name) is so good that I’m pretty sure I need this as a poster for my office.
This cover feels like it’s in conversation with the previous entry, while delivering a much different sensation.
Instantly iconic—plus it makes me laugh.
There are so many layers of reality going on in this cover—the painter, the painting, and then the cutaway island behind. The way the two landmasses almost stand in for eyes is particularly eerie. The UK cover is also glorious.
Formally interesting, deeply evocative, and also cool—a cover that makes you want to read the book.
Another very good texture cover.
I love the playfulness with flatness and dimension here—it’s the kind of cover that keeps developing as you look at it.
The joyous illustration! The head through the o! The black bar of subtitle! The somehow frisky green! How could you not be charmed?
What a clever, playful solution to a novel with such an ostentatious title—not at all what you would expect, but ultimately perfect for the book.
Another deceptively simple, oddly funny cover, made funnier by the color story (I find this yellow hilarious, but maybe that’s just me) and elevated by the proportions (that ripped out page, placed just so).
I love it when a book cover just doesn’t look like other book covers. This one takes a few risks with type treatment and image, and they all pay off.
I love it when text becomes image, and Linda Huang has done that so intriguingly here. “I quickly started toying with the idea of planes of existence, or a flat surface connecting two points—symbolic of the two narratives that unfold, connecting the two female protagonists,” said Huang of her process when tackling this cover. “Combining this idea with redaction and black sites led me to the final cover direction. I was hoping to convey both elegance and brutality by stylizing the title this way, and the black shapes are also reminiscent of a blueprint for something vaguely militaristic or industrial—themes relevant to the novel.” It’s a knockout.
This cover keeps tricking my eye-brain into adding three more rainbows into the title, a clever visual sleight-of-hand that also is giving me Big Book Energy.
Any well-read(-to) child of the ’80s will probably feel the delicious Lon Po Po vibes of this cover. Add the faux-distressing and knock-out sense of balance and the brilliant little scribble for Little Red Riding Hood’s shadow and you have a gorgeous work of art.
So simple and so fun.