History of the Book Cover Art

I am finding some really interesting information on cover art. When I started research for this paper, I was certain I wouldn’t be able to find anything, but I have. For anyone who is interested in learning more about book cover art how it got started, where it got started, why it was started, Front Cover: Great Book Jacket and Cover Design by Alan Powers is amazing. It not only provides great information about cover art but it has full color pictures that show examples of the book art they talk about. This book explains the history of dust jackets and cover art, breaking cover art into decades and art movements as well as famous cover artists. It’s amazing and totally worth checking out! Another good source of information on cover art is Penguin By Design: Cover Story 1935-2005 (thank you Professor Battistella for letting me borrow the book). Penguin has been one of the leading booksellers for years and they know a thing or two about cover designs, afterall, a good cover design can lead to better sales of a book. I’m also looking into how covers change over time. I found an article about a book called Black Boy and how the cover art changes everytime it is re-released.

In my essay I will be showing not only the change in the look of cover art over the years throughout each art period: modern, nouveou, etc. but also how this change shows that cover art reflects the culture that surrounds it. I am still working out the details but this is what I have so far. Any ideas on how to maybe expand it or shrink the idea down would be most welcome.

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
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