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Don’t Judge a Book By…Wait, What?

You know how the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. I was recently in the Rizzoli Bookstore in New York City for the first time. Rizzoli is teeming with pretty coffee table books all vying for attention. The old adage is useless in a bookstore like Rizzoli, with tables and tables of book covers staring up at you. You pick up what catches your eye. To earn a place in my library, a book better have cover art that can hold its own. I walked out of Rizzoli with one book, The Anarchy of Chilies by Caz Hildebrand. The book is a reference of 100 types of chilies and Caz Hildebrand is both author and artist. Hildebrand’s book stands out with its super saturated illustration of chilies on a bright white background. The same Mexican oil cloth inspired illustrations are carried throughout the book. Hildebrand designed a very specific style for The Anarchy of Chilies, and I would love to see a whole series of reference books in the same style from her. Inspired to wander into a brick and mortar bookstore? Check out this list of 11 Author recommended destination bookstores in the US.


  1. tyap wrote:

    I love visiting a good bookstore, especially when it has eye catching products. Its a trend now that bookstores serve a certain visual interest for luring customers in, even if its not to purchase books. I agree that a good book cover design will intrigue me more than a stoic design. I’ll pick a book up that catches my eye and will determine if I want to read it based on the description. But the cover art is the first impression.

    Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  2. bhaskett wrote:

    In a modern world where reading is not as popular as a form of entertainment, I believe it is necessary for books to have appealing and eye-catching covers. While the cover cannot speak for whether the writing will be good or bad, a cover that will be picked up by patrons gives that book more exposure. Frankly, I don’t read, but books can be used as design elements in interior spaces.

    Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
  3. ecativo wrote:

    It’s interesting to think about how we now consume book covers quickly and scan for them the same way we scan Netflix covers and album covers. I wonder how the book covers will evolve over time

    Monday, February 18, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink
  4. jsams2 wrote:

    Awesome post, I agree with you that the cover of the book must stand on its own. I’ve past up some good books because of lousy cover art, this just shows how powerful art can be.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  5. ccollett wrote:

    Really interesting post about book covers! Your title really reeled me in and I was delighted to learn about this interesting topic

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  6. btobin3 wrote:

    This is a great post. I was drawn in by the title and the use of color.

    I do, however, question whether graphic designers need to start thinking of book covers differently now that so many people buy books on line or prefer to listen to audiobooks. If consumers no longer browse bookstores or own physical copies of books, will book cover designs need to change to keep up with the times?

    Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink