I love me a pretty book. They say never judge a book by its cover but let’s face it, we do. Even in the most literal sense, when it comes to facing a shelf of new releases in a local bookshop, I will always be drawn to the prettiest covers. Or, actually, when you think about it, to the prettiest spines. Because, quite often, the spine is the first thing you see – if it’s on a shop shelf or if it’s on a bookshelf. Inspired by Sanne’s brilliant video on Pretty Spines I decided to make a response via a blog post because I realised after watching her video that I have a lot of pretty book spines/covers that I don’t take enough time to appreciate properly. So without further ado here are my top 10 book spines/cover art, with a cheeky bonus pick complete with video.
(NB: Edition information in parenthesis)
Penguin Red Classics are always pretty but this one especially so. I love the calligraphic font chosen and the soft purple colour of the font which plays well nicely with the crisp whiteness of the spine’s background. It also stands out on a bookshelf because of this. The cover, meanwhile, is a gorgeous image but most of all I like the way the photo has a purple tint to it which incorporates into the font colour/style perfectly.
This one is pure typography. The hodgepodge mix of fonts, sizes, and colours really makes this book stand out by just its spin alone. I like the way some of the words are on a different orientation because the words then fit neatly onto the spine in such a pleasing way, from a graphic design point of view.
Anyone that’s ever seen this edition will have doubtlessly admired the blue shiny element to the cover design which really makes it pop. The pinky background is not one I would have thought worked well with blue, until I saw this cover, and it absolutely works. I love anything with intricate swirls so the white swirl detailing within the title’s letters sold this book to me on design alone.
Nothing beats a good ol’ Penguin Classics. I must admit, these look at their most impressive when they are lined up side-by-side on a bookshelf, creating a block of black with that infamous white band and orange highlights. I’m not actually a huge fan of Hardy – I resolutely get stuck in this book and never finish it – but this edition is simplistic and beautiful for that very reason.
Continuing the theme of popular editions of classics, here is Vintage’s range. I must admit I love these for the same reason as I love Penguin’s Classic editions – the minimalism and simplicity of design that really makes these editions stand out on a bookshelf. What I like about Dracula in this edition, however, is the simplicity also of the cover which is a white page with drops of red ink… or blood, you decide, and given the nature of the narrative, the latter is the conclusion everyone must come to!
Not necessarily a favourite book of mine, I nevertheless adore this edition. The grayscale picture is gorgeous, of course, but the simplicity once again of Penguin’s Modern Classics range immediately catches the eye. The font too is iconic and helps to set the Modern Classics range apart from the Classics line that Penguin is also famous for.
This a slight cheat because between you and me the spine doesn’t do much for me – it’s simple and to the point, the purple and green colour of the font is nice I suppose but it’s in the cover where this collection really earns its spot on this list. I mentioned my affinity earlier for swirls, well give me a floral-ish flowing swirl and I am one happy girl. I love the look of this cover, the incorporation of the roses into this symmetrical design is so beautiful and definitely fitting for a collection of poems about love.
Caitlin Moran’s book is brilliant in itself, its cover continues that theme and I believe it was the spine which actually lead to me picking this up in an airport bookshop. The colour scheme is limited to shades of grey/silver but I adored the unusual font of the title and the shiny silver in which it pops on the spine.
A recent purchase, it was the spine’s colour scheme which drew me to this book. That sort of teal-ish colour is my favourite colour so obviously I was sold on that alone because I don’t have many books which use it on their covers/spines. I also like the bold white font that stands out against the lovely gold branch design which spreads over from the cover onto the spine itself – covers that wrap around onto their spines are also winners in my book.
Words cannot describe how much I adore this book and it was, once again, the cover which actually made me pick this up. I’m a sucker for simplicity and it was the use of black/red/white that drew my attention. The font perfectly illustrates the fantasy/magical element of this novel and the little details of the cards falling from the female’s dress finish off this design beautifully.
Bonus: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Vintage, 2012) – in which I gush via video too because it really is the best way to show this book’s pages.
The thing I love about this edition isn’t really the spine. It isn’t even really the cover, though I do like the distressed design of it. No, what won me over with this (okay I was uncontrollably excited, what can I say, I’m easily pleased), was the blue edged pages of this edition. The distressed blue borders of the cover carry through into the edging of the pages (I’m sure there’s an official design term for that) and I’m such a sucker for colour edged pages that this won me over immediately. Also, I suppose the dandelion clock image, after you’ve read the book, is symbolically interesting without giving away a single detail (or even a smidgen of detail) of Barnes’ narrative.
So, those were some of my favourite book spines/covers. Are there any editions you own that are particularly beautiful or interesting? Comment below, I’d love to hear about them!