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Fourteen Books to Love Here at re:design we heart many things – LEGO blocks, huskies, bacon, The Good Wife, Christmas Eve and I could really go on – but books are definitely in our top three. And now that Valentine’s Day is upon us again we profess our love for literature with a series of (literally) heart-centered covers.

Memoirs of a GeishaHeart is a fun shape to work with and surprisingly versatile. Each cover uses the shape as the center of the composition around which a symbolic illustration and typography are arranged. The books range from pulp romances through venerable classics to postmodernist experiments but all feature some version of the eternal love theme.

LolitaLolita by Vladimir Nabokov, an ambitious and rather pervy, if read literally, take on love.

Bridget Jones DiaryBridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, a decidedly unambitious take.

The Vagina MonologuesThe Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (a more physiological interpretation of the theme).

The Hunchback of Notre-DameFatalistic view of love and life in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo.

Quo VadisQuo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

In Search of Lost TimeIn Search of Lost Time or in love with the past, by Marcel Proust.

Cinder House RulesCider House Rules by John Irving.

Ireland: a NovelIreland by Frank Delaney.

A Good YearA Good Year by Peter Mayle.

Homer's DaughterHomer’s Daughter by Robert Graves.

NanaNana by Emile Zola, a socially critical anti-love story.

One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The GamblerAnother classic, The Gambler by Dostoyevsky.

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, love in Japan.

Title page of LolitaTitle page for Lolita, with the logo for the series.

Books to LoveSeries of spines. For typography we chose a combination of Scala and Stag. We picked a limited color palette of reds and grays with some greens and yellows.

re:design loves booksThe logo of the series, consisting – predictably – of 14 hearts.

And we wish all of you a happy Valentine’s Day (either spent with your beloved person or with your beloved book).

We read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (as well as the second part; we’re still in the third one) and while find it flawed in many ways, it’s much less repulsive and more enjoyable than many bestsellers we had had the bad judgment to read in the past. But this is not a literary critique piece. This is the biggest collection of book covers for the Millennium trilogy you’re likely to find on the internet as of today. And with our judgmental commentary, to make the deal even sweeter.

Disclaimer: all the images are used as illustrations and not a single one is our work or in any way owned by us. We try to give info that identifies the author (or, usually, the country of origin) or source but only broadly, not to be tedious. And, obviously, all the opinions are ours and personal so you may disagree or agree, as you wish.


To start at the beginning, the original published in Sweden came out with this set of covers and this was also reprinted in other countries (including where we live) by those publishers who don’t believe in paying local designers for doing work once done. Until it was driven away by movie-inspired covers, this set dominated the Larson section of a bookstore. It’s hard to be passionate about these covers: except for the newspaper-like typography, which is very appropriate and, strangely enough, not much copied, there’s little to like here. The first photo draws attention, even if in a crime channel style, and answers to the gloomy and somewhat gruesome character of the novel but the other two are just bland and give zero information as to the style and even genre. We also take away points for the low-opacity, drop-shadow treatment of the Millennium logo.

Verdict: We mildly dislike it.

Tons (or 92) more covers under the link.

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Today we continue with our self-appointed and majorly depressing job of ugly book cover muckcrackers. After two parts on fantasy we decided to plunge into the world of glitter, fluff and rainbows and find the ugliest children’s book covers on the shelves of the local book megastore. We did start with pounding hearts because in our minds we already saw disgustingly amateurish illustrations and scary typography but, to our surprise, the bad covers did not dominate the section of the store: instead we had to search a little. Of course, when we did we found exactly what we were looking for and more but, optimistically, a large portion of children’s book is not as ugly as what we present under the link.

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After covering ugly fantasy covers and having more in mind for the series, we feel a little guilty in advance, should anybody think Polish book covers are all crap. This is most untrue and as an antidote today a series by Kuba Sowiński, a very interesting and talented designer (no, we don’t know him personally, just stalk from afar).

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Every time we enter a book megastore looking for a gift, or just checking out new publications we have to avert our eyes from the pile of ugliness that attacks from every shelf. Of course, there are examples of good design but the amount of bad ones is terrifying. It’s often bland bad but sometimes it reaches the level of epically, hilariously bad – and this is our newest preoccupation: we’ve decided to publish a series of posts on the ugliest finds in the local bookstore.

Today one of the genres that invite the most kitsch, namely fantasy books. This is not a highbrow critique entitled “We wouldn’t touch a fantasy book with a pole and also they’re ugly.” This is more of “When we read fantasy in public places we hate that we have to hide the cover.” We’ve discovered that bad fantasy art falls into a couple of categories and follows a couple of graphic clichés. (When possible we show English language versions of the books for clarity.)

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This will hardly count as news because we’ve only discovered the first season of this great entertaining show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist while the second is already on but entertaining it is. Episode three involved a design task which we consider worth mentioning, especially because of its overall uplifting conclusion.
If you don’t know, Work of Art is a reality show about artists trying to make it through a series of timed tasks – sort of like the shows about fashion designers and cooks, only fun. And for one of the tasks the sculptors, painters, performers and a waitress were supposed to design a book cover for a Penguin classic. (Note: sorry for bad quality screenshots.)

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