Having a really good book design invites readers to discover the novel and makes them remember what it was about long after they are done reading it. Sometimes you can recognize these designs in a glimpse, and they immediately take you back to the story. A lot of best book cover designs tend to become posters for the books’ adaptations and make their way into pop culture and the hearts of the audiences forever. Let’s go on a journey to look at the best book covers of all time and learn about the story behind them. This way you can learn the behind-the-scenes on how to create a book cover that will stand the test of time.
Here are 20 of the best book covers of all time that everybody can recognize and could be almost as popular as the books themselves:
1. The Little Prince
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Artist: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is one of those books that you absolutely can’t separate from its cover and the watercolor illustrations within. It is a poetic tale that stole everyone’s heart. At first glance, it may seem like a children’s book cover but it’s so much more than that. This book has so many that if you read it every year, you’ll be able to understand it differently, every single time. After reading it the first time, you’ll smile every time you see this cover.
2. Jurassic Park
Author: Michael Crichton
Artist: Chip Kidd
The first edition book cover of this amazing book is so simple, yet is one of the most beautiful and one of the best book covers you can find out there. It is so iconic that it has become the symbol and logo of the whole Jurassic Park universe.
The cover captures the book’s atmosphere and metaphorically brings life back to dinosaurs using nothing but bones.
3. Everything Is Illuminated
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Artist: John Gray
This book started the revival of hand-lettering and book cover typography, all the while setting up a new book cover design trend. The cover is in contrast with the clean graphics that were popular during that time.
4. Harry Potter series
Author: J. K. Rowling
Artist: Mary GrandPré
Talking about the best book covers of all times, this iconic fantasy book has been the highlight of our childhood. This artist is responsible for the image of the whole Harry Potter universe and created the iconic Harry Potter logo. Her colorful, vivid illustrations set up the scene for the amazing adventures the readers were going to start.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Artist: Noma Bar
This book is more relevant than ever. This book was released to match the launch of the TV series based on the novel. The red silhouette along with a white touch against the black background offers a powerful contrast that catches your attention immediately and perfectly encapsulates the dominant themes in the book. This great book cover design falls into the category of minimalist best book covers.
6. A Clockwork Orange
Author: Anthony Burgess
Artist: David Pelham
This is another all-time favourite, best book covers as per most bibliophiles. Once you’ve seen it, it is not possible to forget it. The bold and robust design used in the cover became the visual symbol of the novel itself and later Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation.
Author: Peter Benchley
Artist: Paul Bacon
This legendary book cover designer was famous for so many book covers that made history. His idea and vision are so hauntingly beautiful that you can find them in the movie as well.
Author: Robert Bloch
Artist: Tony Palladino
This cover is simple but powerful. It features nothing but a black and white giant broken typeface. The cover just gives you the chills. The hauntingly-brilliant idea was also used to promote Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation.
9. The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Artist: Francis Cugat
This iconic book had an iconic book cover, one that cannot be left out from the list of best book covers. This cover became a one-hit-wonder as it was the only book cover he ever designed.
10. The Godfather
Author: Mario Puzo
Artist: S. Neil Fujita
This amazing cover also became the poster for the movie franchise. It later went on to become so well known that it’s synonymous with the story itself.
This cover is simple, yet bold and significant. The cover art features a heavy typeface and a puppeteer’s hand which became iconic imagery for the legendary Godfather.
11. The Invisible Man
Author: Ralph Ellison
Artist: Edward McKnight Kauffer
Another best book cover designs of all time, this one has a distinct cubist influence, which leads to the author being named the ‘Picasso of advertising design’. The cover also evoked the Harlem and Jazz age because of its use of a handful of colors and a powerful message.
12. The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Artist: J. R. R. Tolkien
This fascinating fantasy book inspired many generations. The author himself designed this cover that went on to be the most loved and one of the best book covers of all times. Although the original cover didn’t have the red sun, he wanted it to be red but had to change it due to budget restraints.
13. The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
Author: Dante Alighieri
Artist: Eric Drooker
This cover artwork was nothing less than legendary. The three illustrations on the cover represent the three volumes of the book – Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each of the illustrations used is highly symbolic and captures the essence of the book.
14. The Foundation Trilogy
Author: Isaac Asimov
Artist: Michael Whelan
This well-known artist managed to bring the book to life, majorly just by the exemplary, one of the best book cover designs. Now every reader of the genre still remembers the iconic covers.
15. Catch 22
Author: Joseph Heller
Artist: Paul Bacon
Initially, there were 11 versions for this book cover but the artist settled for the version that we all know and love. The elements present on this cover were pieced and pasted together by hand.
Author: George Orwell
Artist: Shepard Fairey
This Soviet-style of work suited the content of the book perfectly. Moreover, the all-seeing eye gives that essential element of creepiness, that the book is all about.
Author: Dave Cullen
Artist: Henry Sene Yee
This iconic minimalist design cover, one of the best book covers of all times in the minimal category, incorporated a simple shot of the normal-looking school with a faintly ominous grey sky above it. The cover lets you know what you’re getting into.
18. The Psychopath Test
Author: Jon Ronson
Artist: Alex Merto
This brilliantly cool cover comes with two contrasting design styles and even has different textures ‘in the flesh’. It has a perfect Jekyll & Hyde design to suit the title with the formal, stagnant, and reserved on the left and ‘ripped’ away to reveal psychedelic, fluorescent and crazed on the right.
19. The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Artist: Shirley Tucker
This is the most iconic and the coolest of all the best book covers – a brilliant classic! The mesmerizing concentric circle design is perhaps a metaphor for the tunnel of despair that the protagonist often finds herself in.
Author: Seamus Heaney
Artist: Seth Rubin
This epic Old English poem has a brilliant, simple cover that captures the feel of Beowulf, wearing his chain mail, preparing to head away from the reader, into battle. We can all admit that Scandinavian warriors are always cool.
That’s all folks! These were the best book covers of all times. Does this spark a light within you to create a book cover for yourself too? We’ve got you! Here is how you can create a book cover online for free via Glorify. Let the artist inside you rekindle and create the best book cover design of all times. You never know, what you design today may go down in history as the best book covers of 2021!
Get to designing!
We hope this beautiful trip down memory lane was as enjoyable for you too. This was a list to remember some of the best book cover art of all time.
Was there any book cover that stayed with you throughout the years? Let us know!
20 Best Book Covers Of All Time FAQs
1. What color book covers sell best?
Some of the best colors to use are, red (symbolizes energy, enthusiasm, emotion, power), pale yellow ( symbolizes friendly, approachable, warm), Bold Yellow ( symbolizes ambition, motivation, creativity, cutting edge), Green ( symbolizes nature, vitality, environment, health) and blue ( symbolizes dependability, trust, thoughtfulness, calm), etc.
2. What makes a cover stand out?
Make sure your title is striking. The title of your book should be clearly visible. It carries the essence of the book and differentiates it from the rest.
3. What does the design of the book tell you?
The design gives us, readers a chance to predict the story or the information contained inside.