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5 Iconic Book Covers

There are no set rules on how to create an iconic book cover so let's check out 5 awesome designs.

Posted by Stef Cowie

We explore some of the most famous book covers that are instantly recognisable throughout the world. Below are five examples of book covers and their titles that we have delved into.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo


The distinctive strings controlling the puppets and the bold typography are recognizable to enthusiasts of this cherished masterpiece, originally published in 1969, as well as its immensely popular film adaptations.

Crafted by the talented S. Neil Fujita, the puppeteer symbolizes Don Corleone, the master manipulator who holds absolute authority, a legacy later inherited by his son, Michael.

In a poignant moment, Vito confides in Michael, expressing, “I never desired this path for you. I dedicated my entire life—I make no apologies—tending to my family’s welfare, and I steadfastly refused to become a marionette, dancing at the whim of those influential individuals.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


In 1960, Shirley Smith artfully designed the captivating cover of the renowned novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Although some may perceive it as overly simplistic due to its sole depiction of an oak tree, this criticism has failed to diminish its status as one of the most cherished and iconic designs within the realm of book enthusiasts.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien


In 1937, when The Hobbit was first published, its cover was a remarkable creation by none other than its author, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Interestingly, the original design did not feature a red sun, unlike the later editions. According to the Tolkien Library, Tolkien had initially envisioned the sun and the flying dragons on the cover to be depicted in a vivid shade of red. However, due to financial limitations, he was compelled to alter his artistic vision.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Incorporating the artistic brilliance of Joseph Mugnaini, this dystopian novel from 1953 (among many others on this list) presents a captivating portrayal of a peculiar figure composed entirely of flaming paper.

Ray Bradbury, the author, shared an intriguing anecdote about the genesis of his profound connection with the illustrator. It all began in 1952 when Bradbury stumbled upon Mugnaini’s captivating paintings showcased at a prestigious gallery in Beverly Hills. To his astonishment, the images he had envisioned and penned down in his writings were strikingly reminiscent of Mugnaini’s artistic expressions.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


Margaret Atwood’s renowned novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, first published in 1985, has witnessed numerous cover designs throughout the years. However, the latest rendition by Noma Bar, unveiled in 2017 to coincide with the popular dystopian TV series adaptation, stands out as truly iconic.

This version’s minimalist design captivates with its vibrant colours, which not only create a striking contrast but also evoke the profound themes explored in both the book and the show. Additionally, on the back cover of this edition, the artist ingeniously employs the same silhouette to form the shape of a keyhole.

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