The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Series Design 2016


Some of the most interesting and innovative book covers in the last few years have been designed as part of a series — designers and art directors seem to have more leeway with backlist titles (especially so if the author is no longer in the picture!) — and 2016 was no exception. Here are some of my favourite series designs from past year…


The Angelus Trilogy by John Steele; designed by Jason Booher (Blue Rider Press / 2016)

Inspector Littlejohn Mysteries by George Bellairs; design Stuart Bache (IPSO Books / 2016)

The Birds and the Bees; cover art by Timorous Beasties (Vintage / 2016)

Read more about the series on the Creative Review blog.


Virago Modern Classics Daphne Du Maurier; designs by Jamie Keenan, Neil Gower, Gray318, and Nico Taylor (Virago / 2016)

Vintage Eliot; cover art by Zeva Oelbaum (Vintage /2016)

Read more about the series on CMYK, Vintage book design tumblr.


Found on the Shelves / The London Library; design by David Pearson; illustration by Joe McLaren (Pushkin Press / 2016)

Read more about the design of the series at The Bookseller


Gollancz William Gibson ‘Sprawl Trilogy’ and Burning Chrome; design by Sinem Erkas; cover art by Daniel Brown (Gollancz / 2016-2017)

Read more about the books and the design on the Gollancz blog.

Patrick Hamilton reissues; design by Jack Smyth (Abacus 2016- 2017)

Sonya Harnett reissues; design by Marina Messiha; cover art by Maxim Shkret (Penguin Teen Australia / 2016)

New Directions Roger Lewinter; design by Erik Carter (New Directions / 2016)

Macmillan Classics; design by Neil Lang (Macmillan India / 2016) 

This is just a fraction of the covers designed by Neil and he is working on even more to complete the series.

Beck and Mal Peet reissues; design by Jack Noel; illustration by Telegramme (Walker Books / 2016)

Pelican Shakespeare; design by Manuja Waldia (Penguin US / 2016)

Mortal Engines by Stanislaw Lem (Modern Classics); series design by Jim Stoddart; cover art by Haley Warnham (Penguin / 2016)


The Great Science Fiction by H.G. Wells (Modern Classics); series design by Jim Stoddart; cover art by Evan Hecox (Penguin / September 2016) 


Penguin Essentials; designs by Kyler Martz, Gray318, David Foldavi, Julian House (Penguin / 2-16)

See more of the series at Design Week.

dune design Alex Trochut

Penguin Galaxy series; design by Alex Trochut (Penguin /2016)

No Man’s Land Trilogy by Andy Remic; design by Christine Foltzer; illustration by Jeffrey Alan Love (Tor / 2016)

Read more about Jeffrey Alan Love’s work on the series on


New Directions W.G. Sebald; design by Peter Mendelsund (New Directions / 2016)





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