The Brits Really Know How to Design a Book Cover

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

My copy of Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness arrived today to match my copy of The Black Swan. I specifically tracked down the UK editions b/c the covers are so wonderful.

Bold, colorful, hazy, eye-catching. They have a visually consistent theme and use the same sans serif typeface. Th asymmetrical, close-up profiles give the graphics some life and playfulness.

By contrast, here are the American editions.

Bland, calm, restrained. There’s a mix serif and sans serif typefaces, the visual elements are centered and static, and they just sorta recede into the background. Maybe Americans like a visual shorthand that lets everyone know they’re reading a serious book? I mean, the UK covers do look like they could be from a children’s series about animals.

When searching for the images I noticed that Taleb’s publisher in the UK is Penguin, while in America it’s Random House. Well there you go. Penguin is known for and prides itself on their beautiful covers. This book by Phil Banes offers a great visual history of Penguin’s output over the past 70 years.

I even have a favorite Penguin designer, Coralie Bickford-Smith. Ms. Bickford-Smith’s website offers a generous sampling of her work. I’m partial her Boys’ Adventure and Sherlock Holmes series.

David Pearson’s work for the Penguin Great Ideas series is not to be missed either.

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
This entry was posted in Books Publishing and Writing, Commercial art and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Brits Really Know How to Design a Book Cover

  1. The Brits are so good at the craft of book-making … Thanks for pointing out Coralie Bickford-Smith, she’s obviously a major culturefigure.


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