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book cover redesigns

spring 2023

graphic design | print | typography | illustration

tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Blender
team: individual

I redesigned the covers for eight of my favorite books across eight different genres (urban fantasy, magical realism, romance, mystery, contemporary, historical fiction, classic, and science fiction). As both an avid reader and designer, my intent was to really lift the themes of the novels and translate them into visual designs, highlighting the storytelling and bringing a new life to their covers (because yes, I definitely do judge books by their covers). 

Click to skip to:

01. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (urban fantasy)

02. Braised Pork by An Yu (magical realism)

03. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (romance)

04. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (mystery) →

05. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (contemporary) →

06. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (historical fiction) 

07. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (classic) →

08. Dry / Ready Player One (science fiction) 

01. Ninth House

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo is a novel set within the secret societies of Yale University, full of dark magic and conspiracy. It unpacks heavy themes of death, grief, and fantasy in such nuanced, atmospheric ways that left my head spinning. 

“You couldn’t keep sidling up to death and dipping your toe in. Eventually it grabbed your ankle and tried to pull you under.”

-- Leigh Bardugo

I think the original cover has a lot of merit-- it communicates the mood of the book through the mainly black palette, and the serif font suggests a hint of academia. The snake bears little relation to the book itself, so my goal with the redesign was to hint more at its themes. I opted for an illustrative style that draws motifs from the story. 

Image by Studio Media

02. Braised Pork

Braised Pork is a book that is hard to describe. A woman finds her husband dead in a bathtub, having left behind only a mysterious drawing of a man with a fish for a head. She embarks on a dreamlike journey through nocturnal Beijing and the high plains of Tibet, wrapped in enigma, melancholy, and magic. 

“As the tears gushed out of her, she felt herself shrinking down like a bar of soap, losing her original form. She had become a shapeless and authentic version of herself. This change, she knew, was going to be irrevocable.”

-- An Yu

The original cover is a bit vague, which stays true to the nature of the book. It keeps the reader unexpecting, guessing. 

make two covers, blue and orange.

Image by Isaac Mitchell

Truly Devious- really like the monotone cover, with hints of different elements of the book scattered across in a big mess

Kite Runner, Lord of the Flies- cover felt a bit outdated

03. Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes is a book I read my freshman year of highschool. It's a classic Young Adult romance/contemporary-- lighthearted, sweet, and leaves you grinning from ear to ear.  

“Uncertainty isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it can even be filled with extraordinary potential.”

-- Jean Bennett

truly devious cover- "truly devious" written in loopy script and made 3D, all white, blue splash acrylic lettering overlayed on top, OR "truly devious" cut out of paper layer press

ready player one- illustrate bg myself

letters to the lost- tire marks?

starry eyes- paper cutout effect 

ninth house- opted for a more illustrative horror effect, makes the book feel younger in a way? 

lord of the flies- example more classic illustrative style, two or three tone, "dangerous" triangle composition OR mountain

final- 8 book covers laid out horizontally across page, some tilted in different directions 

Script: funny story i actually got into graphic design cos i used to make book covers for random people on wattpad back in middle school

Image by Brandi Redd
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