I set about researching the book cover designs of different publishing houses – how their book covers are styled and how the covers fit together as a series. There appeared to be two main groups of book cover series – the first was a design style that identified with the publishing house itself and included books from a variety of genres and authors and the second was a group of covers that linked books by the same author or more specifically, a series of books by that author.
I made a pintrest board of examples of book cover designs that fitted together as a series. It included examples from both groups detailed above.
Book cover designs which are unified by a coherent and identifiable design style act as a guide for readers to signal that the books are in some way connected or part of a collection. They are often visually appealing and the use of illustrations or graphics with distinctive qualities means that when they are lined up on a bookshelf it is easy to identify them and pleasing to the eye. A strong specific design style unifies the theme of the series and can brand the publisher, the author or the genre. A common approach is to choose a general composition for the designs including fonts and illustration styles and then change the background colour or a pattern from cover to cover.
The British publishing house, Penguin Books (now a part of the worldwide Penguin Random House) is well known for its iconic book cover series, a design style using bold block colour and the company’s logo with a simple block of white space containing the book title and name of the author. These covers identified the books to the publisher and covered a range of titles and authors.
Penguin have recently released a new series of clothbound covers for their range of classic books with a more modern twist, employing the use of geometric looking patterns and minimalist graphics combined with vintage colour schemes.
Bloomsbury Publishing use typefaces, colour and distinctive illustrative style to establish the series within the covers of the Harry Potter books. This is common to both the covers intended for children and the ones designed with adult readers in mind.
The Oxford University Press, a global education publisher, worked in conjunction with the comics laureate Dave Gibbons and comprehension expert Lindsay Pickton to design a series of classic books and their covers in a graphic style to promote literacy in children. The panelled comic illustrative style and font choice on the covers made the series instantly recognisable.