Book Cover Design: Just So Stories Sketchbook


This page explores the different designs that have been given to Rudyard Kipling’s titles. Since Rudyard’s book has been around for quite some time now, it is easy to see the differences in the traditional and original designs and the more recent ones. The traditional ones appear to have been done by hand illustrations and the newer ones appear to be more digitally developed and in my design process, I have developed both hand illustrations and digitally produced designs to experiment with what works well.

The second page shows some covers done by some chosen designers which i have seen both in book shops and have found doing some research.

Rifle Paper Co has designed book covers for classics such as Little Woman and Alice in Wonderland. These book covers are cloth bound and consist of hand-painted illustrations. There is also good use of colour which I think works really well given the choice of books.

Debra Macfarlane and Rovina Cai have collaborated to produce book covers for classics such as Peter Pan. They use small details against a prominent background which work well to create a minimal, yet colourful, design.

Coralie Bickford-Smith is a designer which I have become very familiar with recently and I really like her book covers. They are all different, yet you can somehow distinguish her work straight from a pile. Coralie has re-designed many classics such as The Great Gatsby and literary classics such as Wuthering Heights. She uses a variety of finishes – cloth bound, spot uv, foil and matt and gloss lamination. Depending on which book she is designing for she will make appropriate choices for her design and makes them work well for the title and what is between the pages. 

It is interesting to see how classic novels have been re-designed for the modern market and targeting a whole new demographic and this is something I have kept in mind whilst producing my own designs for Just So Stories.

This is the moodboard for my first design. Here, I have taken images from the internet and other sources such as Instagram to create page that shows the style of pattern on book designs that I like. The array of colours are eye-catching and make for pretty covers for classic literature.

This is the first design that I created as a rough sketch. I combined colours which would stand out on the shelf but ones which are still relevant to the themes in the book.


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For my second design, I wanted a simplistic theme that would be minimal yet effective.

The concept of leaf and palm prints is something that I have seen a lot of recently and it is very popular on Instagram and Pinterest. It is aesthetically pleasing and has appeal to that kind of demographic – young, female, interest in trends and art and uses social media. This design would be marketed at this type of consumer as a self-purchase or a gift.


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The design as a whole:


This is the third design I developed using a moodboard and artist inspiration.


Whilst exploring artists that I liked, on Instagram, I came across an artist on Instagram that I liked: Mr Boddington. I then went and explored the website and really liked the work and I could take inspiration and ideas from this regarding the colours, the paint-like style and the small details.

After coming across Mr Boddington, I then found other artists and covers that I liked that used similar styles in terms of texture and colour. I liked this and thought it was something I could also do and apply this to Just So Stories.

My third design:


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Once I had got an idea for a design, I then did some experimenting with colour myself
and decided that this is the design I wanted to go with.


I made use of colour swatches of reds, oranges and yellows and small areas of black which are used to create the detail in the design. The colours are very prominent and I wanted to make this the leading feature of the cover  but also having that little extra dynamic to reflect more about the book’s content and that’s where the black silhouettes came about.


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