Judging Books by their Covers

This weeks cover of the week starts with an apology for the missing cover of the week blogs. Sorry!

The cover art this week was suggested by Darren at Uxbridge Library and is The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber, cover art by Yehrin Tong.

strange new things hardback

The book has undergone a few redesigns as each edition came out. First of all was the golden teardrop illustration on the hardback. Tong uses circular patterns based around the simple teardrop shape to create a design that paradoxically simple and detailed. It creates a beautiful rich feel the book and it becomes an object of importance. The paperback editions built on the positive reception of the first book, as explained by Canongate’s art director Rafaela Romaya in this article.

Version 2


The entire set earned Tong the top prize for book cover illustration at the V&A awards last year. And it is easy to see why. The way she crafted the pattern around the teardrop shape to create images to the two central characters is masterful.

Tong’s website is full of beautifully intricate patterns that create some truly wonderful images. I love the attention to detail in these images, even if some of the GIFs make my eyes blur!

In addition to the beautiful covers designed by Tong I have found two other cover designs for this book. Unfortunately I do not know who they were designed by. The second of the two designs below bares some similarity to Tong’s paperback designs as the profiles of the man and woman gaze at each other from either side of the book. The difference of course being that you need both of Tong’s designs to achieve this effect. I do like both of the below designs, particularly the hands reaching through space, but neither of these covers carries the other worldliness of Tong’s designs. Neither makes the book feel special or elevates it above the hundreds of other titles out there. Tong’s designs work well with the title of the book, creating an object, a book of strange new things.

You can read reviews of Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things here.


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