If you are like me, you are a mere mortal. You have talents. Perhaps you curl — either weights or that thing where you broom a disc across ice, both of which are things I cannot do and both are impressive to me. What is more impressive to me is good graphic design. I love good book covers. I think it is a very specific talent, and one that I cannot entirely speak into.
For this reason, I recruited Holly, the Leslie Knope to our entire team of Ann Perkins. Holly has about 6,000 talents, one of which is graphic design. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to Officially Declare the best covers of 2017, because we all know writing a good book is only half the battle. Here they are, presented with her commentary:
The Best Book Covers of 2017
At Home in the World
by Tsh Oxenreider:
How many book covers do you see with both airplanes AND octopi? If they were all designed this well, the answer would be “not enough.” I love that in one glance, you get a feel for the multiple environments of this story, and the symmetry keeps it clean.
Narcissism for Beginners
by Martine McDonagh
My favorite things: ice cream and millennial pink. The juxtaposition of the cloudy background with a punchy font keeps you guessing on content – and THAT HAND-LETTERED FONT.
Album for the Young (and Old): Poems
by Vera Pavlova
Can you tell I’m a sucker for pink? Nice use of white space, and the non-descript person is perfect for the titular illustration.
by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess:
This is such an energetic design! I love the warm color, the expressive font, and the illustrations.
by Jennifer Egan
This is nautical – in the best of understated ways. The through-helmet view (the book features a female diver), beachy color scheme, and safety-tether font ligatures? Too good.
The Sun and Her Flowers
The minimalist illustration hits on Kaur’s internal doodles in a way that seems effortless. But let me tell you – if I was making post-it note flowers, they wouldn’t be featuring on a “best of” book covers list.
They Both Die at the End
I (almost) never advocate for a spoiler alert, but this cover tells it how it is. I like how the bright colors emphasize the arguably less-happy subject matter, and how small the key characters appear in relation to the time element.
The Other Side of Beauty
by Leah Darrow:
This design makes me curious…who is this woman with the gorgeous hair? Is this the beautiful side or is it another side? And, most importantly, what is beauty?
by Emily Bain Murphy
Is needlepoint making a comeback? The answer should be yes. I love the tactile feel of this, and it leaves you wondering why each element is significant – because sometimes, your cover is the best hook.
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
THIS – the weight balance of visual elements, use of white space, angry splash of red. I’m even including the back cover, because it’s so necessary. Look at that stark contrast. Everything about this is right.
by Mohsin Hamid
The angles of the type and the words that you can’t quite read all make me want to pick this book up and turn it over, and isn’t that exactly what a cover is supposed to do?
Words in Deep Blue
by Cath Crowley
The color and implied texture here is lovely – and I’m all about the literal title (+ script fonts that aren’t cheesy). Plenty of books have used books on the cover in an ironic twist, but this one is more inventive and interesting.
Mercy Never Sleeps
by Jamie Blaine:
Everything vast and empty that a starry sky evokes is juxtaposed with the bright-lights density and hustle of a city on this cover. Plus I love pink and purple, I’m not going to lie. The ombre is amazing on this cover.
by Annalee Newitz
I love covers that create questions – the hanging wires and curvature of the hand contrast cleanly with the sharp cuff outlines, and the analog-style font is a bonus for theme.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends
by Amy Silverstein
I now want to put flocks of rainbow hummingbirds on ALL the things. I love the cluster imagery as it relates to friendship, and how it’s bright without being overdone. In non-cover related news, please try reading the product description of this book without crying. Good luck.
S is for Southern
by the Editors of Garden & Gun
This type treatment is goals – they’ve taken the children’s alphabet book concept and made it work in an entirely sophisticated way. This echoes all kinds of front porch loveliness.
Home Sweet Maison
by Danielle Postel-Vinay
This gives me major Madeline nostalgia. The detail is thoughtful in every aspect – from the pastel blue wallpaper feel, to the collection of vignettes, to the champagne. Cheers!
We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled
by Wendy Pearlman
This cover feels true to the content of the story in a powerful way – collective experiences blending like the muddy watercolor text. The use of muted color feels creative and expressive, while being respectful of the gravity. This could have easily had a tragic photograph on the cover, and I think they went in a better direction.
The Essex Serpent
by Sarah Perry
When you could frame a cover and use it as art, you’re doing something right. This imagery stays true to the vibe of historical pieces of the time, and the font curvatures a nice touch.
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng
There’s something sweet about these papery houses, with the dusk treatment adding an element of question. Also 10/10 for the fire-colored window light.
by Courtney Maum
A book titled after a tactile sense with finger-painted font? Clever and colorful.
When’s My Birthday?
by Julie Fogliano
Kraft paper and hole-punch confetti add such a playful element to this birthday book. It feels like a grade-school art project that deserves to hang on your fridge. Bonus points for dog wearing party hat inside!
by Carolina De Robertis
Conveys the image of a protest without being graphic, and the inclusion of a dove above the pickets is a telling addition, while the postage envelope conveys the letters-as-essays content well.
Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember
by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee
The flora-as-anatomy imagery works very well here, and the almost-monochromatic color scheme keeps the significant detail from being overwhelming. This is a really nice concept with clean execution.
by Katie Kitamura
Maybe I have a thing for finger-paint, ok? I love the mix of traditionally hot and cool colors in a way that covers title text in a frantic but legible way.
What do you think? Is there something we left out? Something that shouldn’t be included? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.
Holly is an enigma. Her job description title says, “Event Planner,” but her resume says, “top secret government spy.” She used to work for the Department of Defense (as in, the real one) and came to publishing for some peace and quiet. Despite relocating to Tennessee, she still roots for the Crimson Tide. You can catch her leaning in and changing the world, one assertive memo at a time.
HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP), Inc., operates Page Chaser, the publisher of Mercy Never Sleeps, The Other Side of Beauty, Solo, and At Home in the World . HCCP is owned by HarperCollins Publishing, Inc, the publisher of Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember, The Essex Serpent, We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled, The Hate U Give, Home Sweet Maison, and They Both Die at the End.