Monday, 8 October 2012

Redesigned Book Covers

I just discovered these redesigned book covers for a 100 classics on Apparently, they got a 100 artists from 28 different countries together to create alternative covers and to be honest, I am not a very big fan. I understand that a project like this would choose artists that will make something unusual, something that publishing houses perhaps wouldn't think of, but I still feel like most of the covers aren't that amazing

Of course they chose 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights' as 2 of their classics, who wouldn't? But I don't really like the covers. I am slightly baffled over the Jane Eyre one because I wonder whether this is supposed to be Bertha Mason, Rochester's first wife. If so, why did they put her on the cover? I understands he is what originally stands between Rochester and Jane but I would much rather have seen something else I think. If it is Jane, I don't quite get what it is supposed to say. The 'Wuthering Heights' cover I just don't really like. The book has some great moments, much better than the idea of Catherine at the window, which doesn't even actually happen. Perhaps the artist was also referencing the popular Kate Bush song, but I just think something better could have been chosen. What I do like is the slightly twisted look of the cover, but the colours on Catherine are just off. Both of the covers have a distinct Gothic and scary look, which at least for Jane Eyre I think is slightly over the top. Yes, the mad woman is in the attic but for the rest it is a love story. 'Wuthering Heights' is very dramatic and psychological and yet the cover here is more hysterical.

Here are three other ones I didn't particularly appreciate. From left to right, 'Frankenstein', 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Picture of Dorian Grey'.
 I really don't appreciate the 'Frankenstein' cover. I don't even think it is very original because the pop culture references are everywhere. There were never any bolts in the Creature and he was never a servant of any kind. I just think the cover is slightly tacky which is a shame because the book has so much to offer. The same counts for the cover for 'The Lord of the Rings'. I mean, where did this "artist's" creativity come in? He just blended some of the artwork from the movie itself, even used their print and is now passing it of as a redesign. Next to that, it represents a situation that never actually takes place in the book. Yes, indirectly, Frodo and Sam are fighting Sauron but by that tie he doesn't look like that anymore. I would have appreciated some originality. I spent a long time thinking about the 'The Picture of Dorian Grey'-cover and am still slightly undecided about it. I think it might be one of the few that I find artistically interesting. I don't get the spinning top thing though. The angry and the sad face are clearly meant as references to the character of Dorian and Basil Hallward. But although I don't get it, I like it much better than the other two.

And yes, there are two covers I do like. As you may know, I am currently reading 'If On a Winter's Night A Traveller' by Italo Calvino and am enjoying it. I really like this cover because I feel it represents the different and complex layers of the book pretty well and also shows how together they create something quite beautiful. I would definitely buy the book with this cover. Next to it is 'Emma' by Jane Austen'. I don't really like the book itself that much and perhaps that is why I like the cover because in its design the drawing is rather childlike which I feel fits Emma's character. She isn't that grown up and the novel is very much about her being educated, so this cover could give people the right kind of indication about the book.c

So, what do you think? Do you agree with me or do you really like these covers? Hop over here for all 100 of them and over here for the Shortlist website.


  1. Oh, I do like that Emma cover. :)

  2. I think that Frankenstein, Picture of Dorian Grey, and Wuthering Heights look nice. I think that they would fit better on other books. The main problem is that they do not represent the books they are covering. Jane Eyre's cover is eh. Emma's is okay. I think If On a Winter's Night A Traveller looks good. My main problem with the projects to redesign classic covers is the same novels get picked to be redesigned. I wish that some obscure and not well know classics could get a redesign cover to get more exposure.

  3. "He just blended some of the artwork from the movie itself" I saw the progress shots of that guys book cover illustration and he drew everything himself. you make it seem as though he's just copied and pasted artwork from the movie. not very fair towards him. I think he did a great job. but to each his own.

    1. Looking back at the post now I agree my words are a bit rash. I obviously didn't want to hurt any of the artist's feelings and have all the respect for the work they put into their art. I think what I was trying to get across was my disappointment at the similarity between the cover and a lot of the art we have already seen around The Lord of the Rings. I would have loved to see the artist pick up on some other themes and create something absolutely new. Thanks for stopping by :)