The Beauty of Book Series

In the visual chaos of bookstores, my eye always settles on the logic and order of families of titles — collections, put out by a publisher, with a common visual system, a sort-of brand within a brand.

There’s a pleasing harmony to these single- or multi-author collections. And the viewer goes back and forth between the books’ unifying elements and their unique imagery. You’re able to pay more attention to the books’ art because of the common visual thread running across the individual titles.

Alma Classics is a UK publishing house whose mission is “publishing not only the greatest recognized masterpieces of all time, from every literature and genre, but trying to redefine and enrich the classics canon by promoting unjustly neglected works of enduring significance.”

The translucent band hinges the books together just enough to stand as a solid unit, while not overpowering the book’s unique image.

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Of Penguin’s Great Loves series, designer David Pearson says, “Design for books on this subject can often appear cliché-ridden and hackneyed so we decided on a more abstract, symbolic approach, using botany as the chief source of inspiration.”

You can read more from the designer and see a work in progress here.

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Barnes and Noble has its own Classics — a large and handsome collection that looks like a rich tapestry when the books are seen together.

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This gorgeous collection (see more here) of F. Scott Fitzgerald books was designed by Coralie-Bickford-Smith, a senior book cover designer at Penguin. Explore her site for other delicious work like this Great Food series of covers below.

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This Neversink Library of books, under Melville House publishers in New York, “champions books from around the world that have been overlooked, underappreciated, looked askance at, or foolishly ignored.”

Art Director Christopher King, who designed the charming series in 2010 and continues to do so said, “the design was inspired by a whole soup of historic sources, but probably the most salient influences are Victorian cut-paper silhouettes and early- to mid-20th century American printmaking, in particular the posters produced by the artists of the WPA.”

Are there any collections you particularly like? If so, share a link.

3 comments

  1. pisstkitty says:

    damn these are gorgeous.
    I have a series of mysteries from Germany where they did really great covers with cropped silos from old master paintings on black backgrounds. Unfortunately they didn’t stay consistent and kept changing the design. You can see some them here (in between the redone ones which I suspect were more mass-market versions) #2, 7, 8, 14, 16…
    http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_de_DE=%C5M%C5Z%D5%D1&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=henning+mankell&x=0&y=0

  2. pisstkitty says:

    damn these are gorgeous.
    I have a series of mysteries from Germany where they did really great covers with cropped silos from old master paintings on black backgrounds. Unfortunately they didn’t stay consistent and kept changing the design. You can see some them here on the author’s site:
    http://www.mankell.de/index.php/bucher/wallander/

    #2, 4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 16
    In between you can see the alts.—what I think are “mass market” versions.

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