Author: Peter Matthews
Some books are instantly recognisable thanks to their iconic covers. But sometimes an alternative version is even more eye-catching than the original. Spear’s looks at some of the best alternative book covers created.
Designed by Manchester-based illustrator Ben Jones, the alternative book cover for the classic George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was selected as the winner of the 50 Watts’ Polish Book Cover Contest in 2011.
The judges of the competition, which asked contestants to design the “Polish edition” of their favorite book, were won over by Jones’ design, created using a mixture of print making and collage.
Written by Orwell in 1948, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a powerful novel, which predicts a haunting vision of the future.
Image credit: Ben Jones www.benjonesillustration.com
The Catcher in the Rye
Although the original cover of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye remains one of the most recognisable book covers of all time, this striking version by American illustrator Beth Elaine Austin is certainly worth a look.
Featuring an illustration of the book’s protagonist and narrator, Holden Caulfield, complete with his red hunting hat and a cigarette in hand, the artwork captures the ‘effortless cool’ of the troubled teenager.
Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most beloved stories ever published in the English language. A coming-of-age story about a young man – Caulfield – and his experiences with life, love and sex, the novel has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide.
Image credit: Beth Elaine Austin www.bethaustinillustration.com
The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is one we’re all familiar with – and this alternative book cover designed by illustrator Jason Edmiston captures the essence of the tale perfectly.
Originally created by multi-award-winning illustrator Edmiston for an exhibition at Gallery 1988 in Melrose, Los Angeles, the cover is a frightening depiction of both sides of Mr Hyde’s split personality.
The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886.
Image credit: Jason Edmiston www.jasonedmiston.com
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Graphic designer Rowan Stocks-Moore is known for his clever designs, and his alternative book cover for C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is no exception.
The lion is the centerpiece of the cover, with its face incorporating the wardrobe – which is key in the story – and its mane appearing to be a clock, while also featuring the mountains and trees of Narnia.
C.S. Lewis’s fantasy novel, written in 1950, follows the tale of four siblings who discover a world behind their magic wardrobe.
Image credit: Rowan Stocks-Moore www.rowansm.tumblr.com
The Origin of Species
On being published in 1859, Charles Darwin’s The Origins of Species revolutionised science, philosophy and theology.
Over the years, the book has looked every inch the major scientific work of the 19th century with images of the evolution of mankind and the animal kingdom on its cover.
However, in 2011 Chicago-based design and illustration studio Delicious Design League decided to create a cover which asked, what if The Origin of Species was a children’s book? The result is a very colourful and happy representation of the animal kingdom.
Image credit: Delicious Design League www.deliciousdesignleague.com
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Designed by British illustrator AJ Hateley, this cover of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won the Penguin Design Award in 2012.
Praised by the competition’s judges for being clever, intriguing and engaging, the cover features twelve eggs on its front – eleven of which are finely cracked, while the twelfth is entirely smashed.
The design perfectly captures the chaotic essence of Ken Kesey’s novel, which is set in an American psychiatric ward.
Image credit: AJ Hateley www.aj-hateley.tumblr.com
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Winner of the graphic design blog The Fox is Black’s Re-Covered Books Contest, this cover is a stunning creation designed by American freelance art director, designer and illustrator Paul Bartlett.
Created by putting together elements of the book’s main characters to form one image, the cover is a vivid representation of the adventures of Dorothy in the Land of Oz.
Written by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been published all over the world and in several languages.
Image credit: Paul Bartlett www.pjbart.com
Usually Roald Dahl’s brilliant descriptions of the spiteful Mr and Mrs Twit are brought to life by Quentin Blake’s artwork, but this cartoon version – created by graphic designer and illustrator Craig Munro – is a fantastic alternative.
Featuring an exaggerated hand-drawn illustration of the gruesome pair, with their windowless house in the background, the cover perfectly captures the madness of Mr and Mrs Twit.
Image credit: Craig Munro www.craigmunro.co.uk