From Pasta Cookbooks to Zadie Smith: The Creators Talk About Their Favorite Book Covers

To mark World Book Day 2022, we asked designers to choose recent book covers that stood out to them and why.

Personal copy of Plummer from Small Bodies of Water

“One of my favorites from the library this year has to be Small Bodies of Water by Nina Mingya Powles, illustrated and designed by Gill Heeley. A series of enchanting essays that explore identity and what it means to belong. Nina weaves personal memories with tales of wild swimming, childhood dreams and nature adventures – spanning the globe (from New Zealand’s rugged coastline to bustling Shanghai.)

“The blurb of the book itself made me want to jump in, but the vibrant, spring-like cover appealed to me even more. Every paragraph of this book is full of color and Gill perfectly captures that energy with his cover. vibrant and graphic hand painted.And while subtle, I love that the colors also bleed into the typography, bringing texture and a touch of fluidity to the cover as well.

“A simple yet cheerful blanket to usher in a hopeful spring (and maybe even encourage a few cooler swims in the sea).”

Bethany Plummer, senior designer at Baxter & Bailey

“Intimations by Zadie Smith is a series of short essays written in the midst of lockdown and in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. The cover – a collaboration between paper artist Owen Gildersmith and photographer Stephen Lenthall – and the book reflect this powerful period with beautiful photographs and illustrations so simple, yet impactful.

“I appreciate that it looks like it has been painstakingly crafted, which makes it all the more impressive to me. Its simple construction with the use of light and shadow evokes a sense of drama, resulting in a somewhat haunting image to reflect on the events of the time.The black and white imagery paired with bold typeface is smart and eye-catching, giving the book exceptional quality for any shelf.

Charlotte Clowes, senior designer at We Launch

Tanguy’s copy of Think Big

“I first saw this blanket on Instagram and I was immediately intrigued. I read a bit about it and quickly decided to buy it. So it did the job that it was meant to do. It’s a mix of a direct, ambitious title with a bold, positive design. There’s something about it that’s almost default, like some VHS tape packaging from the 80s.

“I’ve always loved idea-based cover design, like the 70s Penguin covers designed by Derek Birdsall. They often dealt with complex and serious subjects like inflation, poverty, ethnomethodology – but they seemed exciting and accessible.

“Think Big’s cover does just that. The book discusses behavioral science and its use in personal and professional development. The content is engaging and inspiring in a very practical way. The cover design embodies this. Professional self-help books could easily come across as trying too hard to look smart. This blanket celebrates color and simplicity. It delivers a powerful message with very few elements. This is when the design is at its best. And the strangest thing for me, I don’t even know who designed it!

David Tanguy, creative director at Praline

Copy of Lewis from Peace, Love, and Pasta

“Peace, Love, and Pasta is a cookbook, with a cover designed by Heesang Lee. The playfulness of the pasta illustration is what caught my eye. Subtle details such as the pasta wrapping around from the center point of the fork really add depth to the overall design.It’s interesting because most cookbooks tend to include food photography in their covers.

“Heesang uses a beautiful color palette for the design, which allows you to break down the design hierarchy into digestible sections. On the light brown fork, a foil printing technique has been applied, which gives the design a and a distinctive feel.

“Using a handwritten font on the “and” allows the reader to focus more on the serif words, which are the central elements that bring the book to life. The back cover is an extension of the front cover, with the pasta illustration wrapping around it. The content presented on the back is based on a sharp graphic image that is shaped like a pasta cutter. These details really give the design a more cohesive look and feel.

Kieron Lewis is a London-based graphic designer

Courtesy of Viking Books

“My favorite book cover is The Hike, written by Drew Magary and illustrated by Will Sweeney. I totally did the shot and picked it up from the library based on the cover alone. I tend to gravitate towards edgy design in illustration, the more quirky the better. I was immediately drawn to the originality. A zombie? A cave cricket? What type of hiking are we talking about? I also have a funny affinity for crabs, being a Cancer I really feel they are my spirit animal – so I was sold. After reading it, it became my favorite book.

Rebecca Williams, Design Director at BrandOpus