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I love books. The feeling you get when you touch and feel a well designed and crafted book is unlike anything. Designing books – be it the covers or the inside layout – is an art form and demands a high level of skill and experience. In this weeks branding inspiration feature, we look at 10 inspiring book branding designs from talented brand identity designers and brand builders that we felt stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Background: Created by the talented Michael Haberbosch and Vanessa Schnurre, this was a project that started out as a thesis for their masters at the University. To create this masterwork, the duo went on a road trip through Scandinavia visiting close to 20 studios to gather first-hand information about the brand identity, cultural influences, and inspiration through a series of interviews. With a noble aim of creating a book that showcases the Scandinavian graphic design, the project garnered a lot of attention that propelled the duo into the limelight and even a speaking gig at the Muthesius University.
Design Notes: The book cover are minimalistic and yet very striking. With a black cover and bold white text, the design really brings home the simplicity of Scandinavian design sensibilities that you also find in brands such as IKEA.
2. MY OCD BOOK DESIGN
Design Notes: This is an interesting book design by the talented Chia-Lin Wu which marries the traditional with the modern in terms of its style, layout, typography, and photography. The book is about obsessive-compulsive disorder and is the form of poetry and narrative.
The cover shows what appears to be paint-drops along with precisely placed buttons of color. The purple color and the texture of the cover add to the depth and heaviness of the book. Inside the book, the layout, the photos and the flow are so chaotic, it is an irony the book is about OCD.
3. THE LETTERS OF VINCENT VAN GOUGH
Background: This beautiful and quirky book design was created as a project for the Senior Year Graduation at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University by Gizem Kara.
4. I WRITE, YOU STAY – EXPECTATIONS OF A HEART
Background: “I Write – You Stay. Expectations of a Heart” was conceived as a visually lyrical oeuvre that reflects the texts of the poet Cornell in terms of materials, colors, forms, and contrasts by VISEE Design. In order to blend poetry and design, this book can be read in two directions.
The part “I Write” is kept in white; it begins in the present and introduces the makers and the programme with the words “Only if you say what you feel, then you say something”. The second, black part aims to encourage interaction with the claim “You Stay”, visualizing this aspiration through the neon colors complementing the black-and-white.
5. HONG KONG INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS ANNUAL AWARDS 2016/17
6. THE PLEASURE OF BEER
7. PETITE PASSPORT
Background: PetitePassport began as an online platform and has been a widely referenced travel site for well-heeled travelers going for well-designed spaces. The inspiration comes from passport and visa stamps that are key signature elements applied across the collaterals. This series of books were designed by Foreign Policy.
8. DA VINCI – LADIES PORTRAITS
Background: This beautiful book is a volume compiled by Sandy Migliore on a study of numerous scientists and specialists in art, particularly paintings of portraits of women that made Leonardo da Vinci. This book was designed by Creanet.
9. POST-FOUNDATIONAL POLITICAL THEORY — BOOK COVER SERIES
Background: Book series exploring new ways to understand politics through the lens of the most important thinkers of the 21st century. The collection consists of 15 books but only 5 have been published and designed so far. The idea is to reduce the core idea of each book into a single icon and color. This series of books was designed by Studio Carreras.
10. UNI:VERSE 2012
To conclude, remember that to create an awesome book design, understanding storytelling is important. Donald Miller wrote an excellent book called Building a storybrand on storytelling and although it is geared at brand story, the same principles can be used to for branding a book. Also check out work done by David Airey who has designed some really stunning book designs.
The aim of a book design is to stand out from the crowd and make the world of branding proud. Clarify your message on the cover. Remember branding strategy can be applied to any book design project as it is as important as creating a brand.
For some fun and creative examples of book cover designs, check out Marty Neumeier book – Brand Gap, Brand Flip, Zag and more.
This list is not exhaustive and is based purely on my personal opinion at this point in time. When my preferences change I will try and update the list. In the meanwhile, if you have any favorite book designs you would like to share, please leave a comment below with a link to the design.