Design

30 Coolest Alternative Book Covers

Books are the window into our own imaginations. A great read can create its own world within our minds, so it seems tremendously unfair that there should only be one cover image to represent it, which may not correlate with your experience.

Well these good people have refused to accept that and spent their own time and effort creating alternative and, in many cases, superior, covers for a range of classics.

Below are 30 of our favourites, let us know any we've missed in the comments...

Click on an image for more information

  • Watership Down

    Watership Down

    Author: Richard Adams Artist: Aurora Cacciapuoti This… More details

    Watership Down

    Author: Richard Adams

    Artist: Aurora Cacciapuoti

    This charming reworking of Adams' childhood classic is simple, but effective, with an array of bunny ears nudging into view at the bottom. Hopefully they're not playboy bunny ears - that would really ruin the innocence.

  • A Tale of Two Cities

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Author: Charles Dickens Artist: Rowan Stocks-Moore An… More details

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Author: Charles Dickens

    Artist: Rowan Stocks-Moore

    An absolutely ingenious alternative design for Dickens' tome, combining the towering landmarks of London and Paris beautifully. Le Tour Eiffel was actually built after Dickens wrote the book (in 1889 - Tale of Two Cities was published in 1859), but we're sure if he'd seen this cover he'd have thrown in a mention in an updated version.

  • Microserfs

    Microserfs

    Author: Douglas Coupland Artist: Bryan Connor As we all… More details

    Microserfs

    Author: Douglas Coupland

    Artist: Bryan Connor

    As we all know, everything is better made out of lego. And this alternative cover for Coupland's Microserfs is no exception, taking inspiration from the original cover by William Graef and running with the theme.

  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World

    Hard-Boiled Wonderland And …

    Author: Haruki Murakami Artist: M.S. Corley This stunning… More details

    Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World

    Author: Haruki Murakami

    Artist: M.S. Corley

    This stunning design perfectly mirrors dreamlike nature of the book; Corley explains that "the image for this was inspired by 'the End of the World' town which is in the narrator's unconscious mind...and since the narrator was never named nor described I created an image of Haruki Murakami himself for the rest of the head."

  • Catch-22

    Catch-22

    Author: Joseph Heller Artist: Kulvinder Dhillon A stylish… More details

    Catch-22

    Author: Joseph Heller

    Artist: Kulvinder Dhillon

    A stylish reinterpretation of the classic cover, retaining the bold title typography but updated with a modern feel. One of many great alternative book covers by Beat The Pulp, including Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies and Brave New World.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Catcher in the Rye

    Author: J.D. Salinger Artist: Beth Elaine Austin The… More details

    Catcher in the Rye

    Author: J.D. Salinger

    Artist: Beth Elaine Austin

    The original is a classic in its own right, but this alternative is effortlessly cool; employing a a striking illustration style to capture of the essence of Holden Caulfield, the 'hero' of the book.

  • High Fidelity

    High Fidelity

    Author: Nick Hornby Artist: Hans Kroes If we had the chance… More details

    High Fidelity

    Author: Nick Hornby

    Artist: Hans Kroes

    If we had the chance to go back and do a school art assignment again, this is what we would do. Hans Kroes created this incredible alternative cover for Nick Hornby's High Fidelity using "mainly James Last and other garbage that would make your ears bleed, from a second-hand shop of course'. An old vinyl record becomes Rob Fleming's head, filled with silhouettes of his former girlfriends, who he contacts through the course of the novel. As if this wasn't brilliant enough, the central record label is evocative of pair of big old headphones. Unbelievably cool.

  • Misery

    Misery

    Author: Stephen King Artist: Manel de Ramón Relying on… More details

    Misery

    Author: Stephen King

    Artist: Manel de Ramón

    Relying on hand-drawn illustration, this wonderfully evocative cover brings a sense of fairy tale-esque sense of menace to Stephen King's classic thriller. It's a perfect example of how old-fashioned artistry can easily out-do Photoshoppery.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Author: L. Frank Baum Artist: Paul Bartlett This stunning… More details

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Author: L. Frank Baum

    Artist: Paul Bartlett

    This stunning reimagining of this children's classic combines elements of the characters that we all know and love to create one composite of a wide-eyed face; a mystified young girl in a strange new land.

  • American Psycho

    American Psycho

    Author: Bret Easton Ellis Artist: Shawny Withay Ellis's… More details

    American Psycho

    Author: Bret Easton Ellis

    Artist: Shawny Withay

    Ellis's iconic novel of a crazed yuppie deserves a cover which is just as debauched as Patrick Bateman himself. This simple yet effective design cleverly gives an insight of the lead character's total apathy as well as showcasing his dangerous bloodlust.

  • Alice in Wonderland

    Alice in Wonderland

    Author: Lewis Carroll Artist: Christian Jackson One of a… More details

    Alice in Wonderland

    Author: Lewis Carroll

    Artist: Christian Jackson

    One of a series of brilliant hyper-minimal designs, Christian Jackson manages to capture the spirit of Alice in Wonderland with just a single white, grinning, Cheshire Cat crescent of a smile. Superb.

  • The Twits

    The Twits

    Author: Roald Dahl Artist: Craig Munro Whilst Quentin Blake… More details

    The Twits

    Author: Roald Dahl

    Artist: Craig Munro

    Whilst Quentin Blake is the man who brings Dahl's vivid characters to life, if they ever decide to update the imagery they could do much worse than approach Mr. Munro. This brilliant alternative cartoon version of The Twits captures the madness of Mr & Mrs Twit perfectly.

  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Do Androids Dream of Electr…

    Author: Phillip K. Dick Artist: Hannes Beer Beer created… More details

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Author: Phillip K. Dick

    Artist: Hannes Beer

    Beer created this cover and others as part of an 'All Day Everyday' project, where a poster was made about one item that had been inspirational in the previous 24 hours. Amazingly, each one was designed and created within 60 minutes. If only we could be that productive...

  • Origin of Species

    Origin of Species

    Author: Charles Darwin Artist: Delicious Design League A… More details

    Origin of Species

    Author: Charles Darwin

    Artist: Delicious Design League

    A joyful celebration of Darwin's seminal work on evolution, the premier league stars of the animal kingdom are all represented looking very happy indeed. Forget those sober typefaces and dark colours - all scientific books should have covers like this one.

  • Lolita

    Lolita

    Author: Vladimir Nabokov Artist: Emmanuel Polanko There are… More details

    Lolita

    Author: Vladimir Nabokov

    Artist: Emmanuel Polanko

    There are many fan-made covers of this classic book, but this one is our favourite, by the French designer Emmanuel Polanko. Minimal, stylish and elegant, with the flourish on the 'o' completing the impression of the young Lolita's face beautifully.

  • The Return of the King

    The Return of the King

    Author: J.R.R. Tolkien Artist: Jack Fish Inspired by Obey's… More details

    The Return of the King

    Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

    Artist: Jack Fish

    Inspired by Obey's updated 1984 and Animal Farm covers, Jack Fish designed these fantastic new covers for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This is our favourite of the three: Sauran's eye is always going to be the coolest element. Fish thought that "many people seemed had seen the films but discounted the books" and "wanted to attract new and different audiences to read the books by combining elements people were familiar with from the films with an all-new style of cover design". Job done we think.

  • The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

    The Strange Case Of Dr Jeky…

    Author: Robert Louis Stevenson Artist: Jason Edmiston A… More details

    The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

    Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

    Artist: Jason Edmiston

    A suitably frightening and evocative design for this classic, Edmiston's stunning illustrations and a well-positioned prop displaying both sides of Mr Hyde's personality.

  • 1984

    1984

    Author: George Orwell Artist: Luke James Like Lolita, there… More details

    1984

    Author: George Orwell

    Artist: Luke James

    Like Lolita, there are many unofficial new covers for Orwell's epic, but our favourite is this one, with the famous Big Brother security camera shining a light on the title and the famous first line from the novel, while retaining the famous Penguin orange and white colour scheme.

    You can see a bigger version of the cover here.

  • The Illustrated Man

    The Illustrated Man

    Author: Ray Bradbury Artist: Micco Caporale Ray Bradbury is… More details

    The Illustrated Man

    Author: Ray Bradbury

    Artist: Micco Caporale

    Ray Bradbury is responsible for one of the most famous cover designs of all time, with the Joe Pernaciaro-designed cover for Farenheit 451. But Micco Caporle has designed a stunning alternative to another of Bradbury's books, with this incredible design for The Illustrated Man. Appropriately enough, it's illustrated, depicting the vagrant whose tattoos each tell a different tale within the book's pages.

  • Romeo & Juliet

    Romeo & Juliet

    Author: William Shakespeare Artist: Christopher… More details

    Romeo & Juliet

    Author: William Shakespeare

    Artist: Christopher Porter

    Porter states that he "tried to go with a direction that would appeal to younger generations, the Irvine Welsh generation, the sort of people who are more than likely to judge a book by it’s cover", and this is certainly an incredibly eye-catching and arresting alternative cover. Combining a beautiful, sad photo with a modern graphic design element at the bottom, this is brilliantly done.

  • Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone

    Harry Potter & The Philosop…

    Author: J.K. Rowling Artist: M.S. Corley A direct mock of… More details

    Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone

    Author: J.K. Rowling

    Artist: M.S. Corley

    A direct mock of the Penguin Marber grid covers from the 1960s, Corley created this fantastic alternative for the first Potter outing, following the rules of one bold colour, black and photograph. "I felt like one of the most pivotal parts of the book was Harry getting his letter from Hogwarts so I created an image of the owl flying out from Hogwarts carrying his letter." The red for the wax seal completes the image, with the added bonus of making the title rectangle hugely eye-catching.

  • Dune

    Dune

    Author: Frank Herbert Artist: Paul J. Murray This subtle… More details

    Dune

    Author: Frank Herbert

    Artist: Paul J. Murray

    This subtle but brilliant design depicts the desert planet Arrakis and the Fremen fighters which populate it, as two other planets lurk ominously in the distance.

  • Watchmen

    Watchmen

    Author: Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons Artist: Michael… More details

    Watchmen

    Author: Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

    Artist: Michael Cullen-Benson

    An elegant alternate cover with a shadow morphing into the hands of a ticking clock across the whole cover, Cullen-Benson cites his inspiration for the design as, "the climactic ending, that lead me and I think many others, to question morality. What exactly can one man do to save humanity and how far would you be willing to go to do so? No other page in the Watchmen book had more resonance for me, then when those two strangers embraced each other in their last moments of life."

  • The Road

    The Road

    Author: Cormac McCarthy Artist: Ken K Chung Cormac… More details

    The Road

    Author: Cormac McCarthy

    Artist: Ken K Chung

    Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic masterpiece hits you like a bus and that's exactly what this re-designed cover manages to do as well. The beautifully designed image hints at some of the devastating events which befall the lead characters and clues you into the fact that this one might not have the happiest of endings.

  • Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

    Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

    Author: Hunter S. Thompson Artist: Nate Gonzalez One of… More details

    Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

    Author: Hunter S. Thompson

    Artist: Nate Gonzalez

    One of four brilliant designs, this new "old" cover for Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo classic is our favourite. The handpainted stars-and-stripes suitcase consisting of the substances that lead the two protagonists on their journey into the unknown...

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude

    One Hundred Years of Solitude

    Author: Gabriel García Márquez Artist: Oli… More details

    One Hundred Years of Solitude

    Author: Gabriel García Márquez

    Artist: Oli Phillips

    Phillips' response to the original artwork of this epic book utilises an autumnal set of leaves; representing where the characters found within are from, and as a metaphor for their family tree. Understated and elegant - very cool indeed.

  • The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

    The Lion, The Witch & The W…

    Author: C.S. Lewis Artist: Rowan Stocks-Moore A second… More details

    The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

    Author: C.S. Lewis

    Artist: Rowan Stocks-Moore

    A second entry from Stocks-Moore, this is a clever piece of design, incorporating the wardrobe - the gateway into Narnia - as the centrepiece of the Lion and the mane simultaneously acting as a clock; although of course in Narnia, it may turn from day to night, but it will always be winter...

  • Outliers

    Outliers

    Author: Malcolm Gladwell Artist: Smoke &… More details

    Outliers

    Author: Malcolm Gladwell

    Artist: Smoke & Song

    Mysterious artist Smoke & Song takes inspiration from the cover of Loneliness , removing the dot from the title to create its very own outlier. Very clever, and very cool.

  • A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    Author: Anthony Burgess Artist: Amy Harding So much of A… More details

    A Clockwork Orange

    Author: Anthony Burgess

    Artist: Amy Harding

    So much of A Clockwork Orange's artwork is iconic, that it's hard to shed new light on it. However, Amy Harding has done a terrific job; again keeping it simple but effective, with stylish typography and a centrepiece of Alex's dead-eyed stare.

  • Anatomía Del Fascismo

    Anatomía Del Fascismo

    Author: Robert O. Paxton Artist: Carles Barrios A striking… More details

    Anatomía Del Fascismo

    Author: Robert O. Paxton

    Artist: Carles Barrios

    A striking redesign of this important historical work by Paxton; cleverly using a literal take on the book's title as a series of tools dissect the Fascist emblem, the Swastika, with methodical precision.

Tags: design, books, art

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