The site is, as it states, and archive of book cover designs and designers dedicated to the appreciation and categorisation of excellence in book cover design. That’s a bunch of words that really means it’s a site dedicated to book cover porn. And porn it is, with the homepage a breathtaking layout of book cover panels guaranteed to set any booklover’s heart racing.
I’ve had the Book Cover Archive open on my laptop for days and my appreciation for book cover design genius as a whole has reached new levels.
How greatly simple and powerfully effective, for example, is the Ugly Man cucumber cover?! Who isn’t mesmerised by The Art of Immersion, the cover art that, like those cryptic 3-D puzzles you used to stare at as a kid, reveal more the longer you look at it?!
And whose mind on seeing The War on Words doesn’t whirr off in a million thoughts about the clever intersection of newspaper print, puns, and typography?! I also really love the haunting, show-don’t-tell simplicity of The Ethics of Interrogation.
The beauty of this site’s design is immediately apparent—the crisp, simple header gets out of the away of the site’s real stars: the book covers. But its thoughtful, subtle design is something you appreciate more as you spend time on there.
Each book cover image links to a page containing all the information (and links) you could ever hope for: the author, the publisher, publication date, designer, genre. Each of those enables you to drill down and sort by the one you prefer.
There’s also a small, non-intrusive link to purchasing the book via Amazon if you so desire (which I so don’t), and about which the site’s owners are completely transparent: ‘Amazon sends us a small commission for purchases made by way of The Book Cover Archive. We hope you don’t mind and appreciate your support.’
Who’d possibly begrudge them early a few cents (and it will be only a few cents—we are talking Amazon) after a kindly note like that? Well, me actually. I appreciate their sentiment and it’s nothing personal, but I’ll still be buying the books from this Australian-owned, carbon-neutral bookstore.
There are other fantastic finds in what’s effectively the site map at the bottom. In addition to the standard social media and newsletter sign-up options, you find out who’s behind the blog and the book covers featured and can leap off onto their sites—fantasising, of course, about one day commissioning them to do work for you.
There are also links to fantastic books and websites about cover design, of which one can never have or ogle too many (in fact, be warned: this entire site is a veritable rabbit hole of book and website and design porn).
My two favourite aspects of the site, though, are the fact that they include a list of planned ‘future enhancements’ for the site and details of the font indentification.
The former outlines how the site is a work in progress, but a considered and (to borrow the word I used to describe their Amazon links) transparent one. As someone who works on websites and (painfully) understands how much goes into even the simplest of designs, I appreciate knowing where the website developers have been, where they’re heading, and especially how far they’ve come.
The latter-mentioned font identification is something that helps all of us solve that eternal question—not ‘What is the meaning of life?’ but ‘What font have they used on that book?’ I’ve committed many hours of my life that I’ll never get back on the hunt for the ever-elusive answer to that.
Which indeed reminds me that the internet is for porn. If you haven’t discovered the mindblowing-ness that is Typographica (which, now that I look closely, has an extremely similar design), I suggest you grab a coffee and buckle yourself and your internet connection in—that’s another, extremely worthy, highly addictive rabbit hole all of its own …