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Book Cover Design: Is this the End of an Era for Graphic Designers?

The epic battle between print and digital book design and the impact on designers.

With the transition from traditional print to eReaders, books and their buyers have gone through an incredible facelift in the past couple of years. They’ve traded the smell of freshly cut paper, for a megabyte of space on an eReader, opening a whole new way in which we interact with books. The thing is, how is this transition from print to digital format impacting designers; has an end of an era really happened? Is there anything for graphic designers to be afraid of?

Print is not dead, it’s just in Rehab.

This is a wonderful quote from  The Atlantic‘s very own Darhil Crooks, who speaks about a truth graphic designers may not be willing to deal with – print is not dead, it’s just in rehab. Is it true? Maybe. Because print is probably not going to come out of Rehab much stronger than it did when it was dragged in there. But there’s hope, I think!

According to book cover designer Peter Mendelsund, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to print dying. When I was at the, Design Thinkers 2013 conference, Peter spoke about his belief of how editors will always be seeking cover design for books, even if print does take a peaceful passing. So for now, we can all take a sigh of relief. Because book covers will still be around for awhile, and if you’re an up and coming designer wanting to get your designer hands on a book cover project, you may still be in luck!

Mastering the Digital Medium of Book Covers

Designers are known for their flexibility to adjust to new tools, software, and mediums, especially when it comes to book cover design. Once again, Peter thinks so. In his talk at Design Thinkers 2013, Peter mentioned the importance of book covers today, because of the explosion of digital books on iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and eReaders. Wouldn’t you say, this digital age of book cover design is more reliant on the designer than ever before? I sure do!

It’s time to ‘Cover’ Up

Let’s face it, maybe my grandchildren will never read Dr. Suess’ classics on paper, but why would that limit what we can do for book design. Yes, print may be on the outs, but that gives us a whole whack of opportunities to play with screen resolution and on screen design instead of a single standardized book cover. Yes, change can be scary, but it also opens up wonderful opportunities! Digital book covers are now giving designers a chance to play with animation, effects, and design processes that are just not possible with print!

 As Graphic Designers get used to the change from print to digital books, maybe we can refresh ourselves of the new learning opportunities it creates, by dabbling in new software, and embark on the opportunity it brings to design new concepts for clients who seek digital book cover design. Cause when one door closes, another one opens right?

If you want more info about book cover design and the transition from print to digital check out Peter Mendelsund at his blog or his work. As well as Tim Kreider’s article The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover is a great resource.

Tell us your thoughts on the epic battle between print and the digital era! Maybe you’re a traditional bookworm who loves the smell of a new book, or maybe you’re a new age reader, who won’t be caught anywhere in public without their Kindle in hand. Let us know your thoughts, and leave us a comment below!


About The Blogger


Jesyka Bastelak- Guest Blogger

Jesyka Bastelak is a third year Graphic Design student at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario. She focuses her energy on concept development, and communicating exactly what needs to be said to an audience.

In her spare time she likes to read comics, play video games, discover new music, and explore creative outlets. She hopes to eventually take some time to travel Europe in the next year. You can follow Jesyka on Twitter @jaiiemmbee or delve into her mind through her Tumblr at

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