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re-motivation-02Last week we introduced our project Words Matter, a series of book covers employing tangible type so it’s high time to start sharing the covers. The first one is one of the simplest (and definitely, definitely the easiest and fastest to make) but it’s still one of our favorites because of the simple fact: the letters of the title form a pyramid so well and it illustrates the book so perfectly. When we discovered this we were really excited and the cover almost designed itself.

Abraham Maslow, one of the great in the history of psychology, studied child development and came up with the idea of the hierarchy of needs, which he expressed in 1954 book Motivation and Personality. He illustrated the idea with a neat diagram in the shape of a pyramid. Unlike for other covers we didn’t create the letters: we used ready-made children blocks. We actually bought a whole set of the classic-looking wooden kind, similar to ones we had as children. We really liked the vivid colors and emphasized them with the bright warm yellow background to add to the sense of fun and play.

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As was our plan with all the covers, the selected material and form illustrated the important themes of the book: not only the pyramid itself, but also children and their way of combining fun with education.

As you will see, for all the covers we offset the extravagant tangible type with simple typography used for the name and spine and the logo we described last week. Back covers were not actually a big part of the academic project, just a chance to play some more with the solutions chosen for each cover. For each back we created the WM logo in the same way as we did the title on the front. As you may see, the design of the back cover also includes the space for a blurb but have not written the blurbs, not yet anyway, so for now the backs are fairly minimalistic.

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re-shop-friendsAnd a completely different thing that you might find interesting: it’s another week of free shipping on Society6 so if you wanted to buy a poster, that’s as good a chance as they get. Simply use this link.

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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