Design, Time Travel Tuesday

Time Travel Tuesday: Vintage Penguin and Pelican Book Covers

Illustration and book covers go hand-in-hand. I see them as a critical part to a story; book covers help us imagine characters, and convey the tone of what we’re going to read. The Harry Potter covers, for example, were around before the films, and ultimately helped define what Harry looked like (beyond JK Rowling’s descriptions).

Going back further, the stories-turned-book Treasure Island spoke of adventures of pirates, and illustrator NC Wyeth imagined what these buccaneers looked like. His depiction permeated our visual culture and ultimately helped define how we imagine pirates today.

So, what I’m trying to say with this is that book covers are more than mere decoration. Here are some great vintage covers of both Penguin and Pelican books, some that are more illustrative and some that are more conceptual. Either way, the front cover is a way we can get to know the book before we pick it up.

All images via Joe Kral’s Flickr. Check it out for even more vintage covers!

Mind You, I've Said Nothing!
Rabbit, Run
Persecution 1961
She Came to Stay
The Economic History of World Population