The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Getting to the Point: Arrows in Book Cover Design


As I was collecting images for my recent posts on triangles and book covers, I started thinking about the use of triangle’s directional cousin, the arrow. Inspired by a vintage cover design by Elaine Lustig and Jay Maisel, I thought I’d gather a selection of recent book covers that use arrows as part of their design.

I’ve spent far too long on this already, but I am sure I have forgotten some corkers. Please let me know what I’ve missed in the comments. I also have to say thanks to all the designers who helped me with this, especially Catherine Casalino, Richard Green, and (the very patient) Jason Ramirez who all dug deep into their archives for me.

The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman; design by Pablo Delcán (Pantheon January 2014)

The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson; design by Catherine Casalino (Simon & Schuster March 2009)

Adventures in the Orgasmatron by Christopher Turner; design by Marina Drukman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux June 2011)

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; design by Jamie Keenan (Random House November 2012)

The Arc of War by Jack S. Levy & William R. Thompson; design by Isaac Tobin (University of Chicago Press October 2011)

Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe;  art by Edel Rodriguez (Penguin January 2010)

The Bug by Ellen Ullman; design by Jamie Keenan (Picador February 2012)

Buried on Avenue B by Peter de Jonge; design by Ian Koviak / The Book Designers (HarperCollins October 2012)

Busted by Edmund L. Andrews; design by Gray318 (W. W. Norton July 2009)

Caribou Island by David Vann; design by Nathan Burton (Viking February 2011)

Dealmaking by Guhan Subramanian; design by Ben Wiseman (W. W. Norton October 2011)

The Debt Delusion by Mehdi Hasan; design by James Paul Jones (Vintage Digital July 2011)

The Enchanted Wanderer by Nikolai Leskov; design by Peter Mendelsund (Knopf March 2013)

Six Easy Pieces by Richard P. Feynman (Penguin July 2011)

The Meaning of it All by Richard P. Feynman (Penguin September 2007)

Design by Jim Stoddart; model design & construction by Andy Bridge

Give Me Everything You Have by James Lasdun; design by Julia Connolly (Vintage February 2014)

How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson; design by David A. Gee (Riverhead September 2014)

Hush Hush cover art 1
Hush Hush by Steven Barthelme; design by Christopher Brian King (Melville House October 2012)

One on One by Craig Brown; design by Jo Walker (Fourth Estate September 2011)

Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin; design by Rodrigo Corral Design (Farrar, Straus & Giroux April 2012)

The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll;  design by Shepherd Studio (Oneworld May 2013)1

The Perpetual Race of Achilles and the Tortoise by Jorge Luis Borges; design by We Made This (Penguin August 2010)

Rebound by Stephen J. Rose; design by Jason Ramirez (St. Martin’s Press May 2010)

The Rise & Fall of the Great Powers by Tom Rachman; design by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich (Dial June 2014)

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk; design by Rodrigo Corral Design (W. W. Norton April 2010)

Dwight Yoakam by Don McLeese (Texas Tech University Press April 2012)

If I Was a Highway by Michael Ventura and Butch Hancock (Texas Tech University Press Feb 2011)

Design by Lindsay Starr

Warlord by Carlo d’Este; design by Richard Green (Allen Lane April 2009)

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1. sorry about the ugly sticker


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  3. I find the cover design of ‘Adventures in the Orgasmatron’ by Christopher Turner very creative. Good job Marina Drukman.

  4. Pingback: Maps on Book Covers | The Casual Optimist

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