Visual Vocab on AD Aesthetic • B is for Book

Visual Vocab: B is for… Book

In Graphic Design, Inspiration, Visual Vocab by Ashley2 Comments

Visual Vocab on AD Aesthetic • B is for Book

Hey there! After a rough couple of weeks, (more on that here) we’re getting back on the blogging horse today with our recurring column, Visual Vocab — in which Dawn and I scour the internet for the best visual inspiration based on a randomly selected word. In case you missed it, the last column was full of great ampersand inspiration. Up this month, the letter B, and our chosen B word is book.

B is for… Book: [bo͝ok] • noun
1. a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers.

More specifically, we will be focusing on book covers. While, some say not to judge a book by it’s cover, as designers we must politely disagree, and today we are here to do just that. But first, a brief history of the book cover.

Initially book covers, or dust jackets, came about as a practical way to protect the fine materials, leather and silk, that made up a book. Far from the colorful jackets we know today, these dust jackets consisted of a plain paper wrapper that would protect the book on it’s journey from the bindery to the library or store. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that publishers began to realize that the dust jacket could actually be very useful in advertising as a way to promote the story inside. Gradually over time, the dust jacket started to become more and more decorative, and by the 1920s it’s function had evolved from providing protection to being the promotional tool that it is today.

With over 600,000 books published every year in the US alone, it’s no wonder that there are MANY stellar examples of book cover design. Everyone from graphic design greats such as Chip Kidd and Alvin Lustig to student designers and amateurs have tried their hand at cover design with varying degrees of success. So, without further ado, here is your visual inspiration:

Against Happiness • Cover by Jennifer Carrow

Against Happiness by Eric G. Wilson • Cover Design by Jennifer Carrow


Latecomer • Cover by Ross Proulx / Doublenaut

Latecomer by Dimitri Verhulst • Cover Design by Ross Proulx / Doublenaut


Metamorphosis • Cover by Bill Bragg

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka • Cover Design by Bill Bragg


A Manual for Cleaning Women • Cover by Justine Anweiler

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin • Cover Design by Justine Anweiler


Fahrenheit 451 • Cover by Elizabeth Perez

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury • Cover Design by Elizabeth Perez


Impossible Modernism • Cover by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein

Impossible Modernism by Robert S. Lehman • Cover Design by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein


Underground Railroad • Cover by Oliver Munday

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead • Cover Design by Oliver Munday



Egg • Cover by Claire Skeats

Egg • Cover Design by Claire Skeats


Moby Dick • Cover by Umberto Scalabrini

Moby Dick by Herman Melville • Cover Design by Umberto Scalabrini



Ghostland • Cover by Jon Contino

Ghostland by Colin Dickey • Cover Design by Jon Contino

That’s all for today! Check in next month for more visual inspiration and the letter C.

*Ashley's signature


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