10 of the Best Book Covers of the Month, Feat. Zoe Norvell

Posted inBook Covers

When we kicked this column off over the summer, one of my hopes was to go beyond my echo chamber of subjective book cover faves, and occasionally feature a working book designer’s subjective book cover faves.

A few weeks back, I happened to touch base with Zoe Norvell, whose work I’ve included in different roundups over the years, and ran the idea by her—and she generously agreed to take part.

In addition to the many fantastic covers Norvell has produced throughout her career—first working in-house at Simon & Schuster and Penguin before going solo in 2015—she also runs two websites catered around the craft. The first is I Need a Book Interior, where Norvell provides just that for interested parties. The second is I Need a Book Cover. Prior to editing the print version of PRINT, I worked at Writer’s Digest magazine, and witnessed firsthand how utterly lost writers often feel in the design process, regardless of whether they’re self-publishing or going the traditional route. And that’s why Norvell’s site is such a critical resource. Her audience is multi-tiered: Art directors can find fresh talent. Editors can point writers to the site to help them wrap their heads around the difference between, say, type-driven covers and conceptually illustrated covers. And readers at large can find covers they’re trying to remember based on key elements, thanks to custom filters.

Ultimately, the site is a delightful gift to the publishing and design communities … as are Norvell’s 10 favorite covers from the past month, which follow below, with a little context behind each selection.

Design by Kate Sinclair (art by Jim Holland)

“Kate took a perfectly normal, Hopper-esque painting and turned it into a ‘weird’ book cover, my favorite kind. This wouldn’t deliver quite the same punch if it wasn’t for the addition of the ‘loading’ symbol placed by the book. Nice.”

Design by Kelly Winton 

“Oh, this color palette. I want to turn this cover into fabric and wear the whole thing as a jumpsuit.”

Design by Keith Hayes

“This just works for me. Somehow it’s loud and quiet at the same time.”

Design by Stephanie Ross (photograph by Christopher Harrison)

“Another great cover for my favorite author, and a huge departure from his backlist.”

Design by Sara Wood

“The double-negatives here are making my head spin—in a good way. Plus, that yellow hue is perfect against the cloudy sky.”

Design by Lynn Buckley (art by Amber Cowan)

“Pink strikes again this season!”

Design by Keith Hayes

“Black and white and gold. A classic trio.”

Design by Vi-An Nguyen

“We see cross-out covers often but I’m not tired of them yet! This one is perfectly executed and conceptually spot-on.”

Design by John Gall

“At first glance, I was drawn to the shadowy box. I’m a sucker for trompe-l’œil covers when they’re done well. It was only after a little while that I realized what the woodpeckers are doing to each other. Cheeky.”

Design by June Park

“June Park never fails.”