We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but cover art is the first thing that a reader sees of a book, and is fundamental for marketing and attracting the right readers. So perhaps we can’t judge a book by its cover, but we should certainly judge the book covers themselves on their own merits and whether or not they do the job they’re meant to do.

Jeroen Ten Berge is a talented New Zealand graphic designer who works in book covers, illustrations, and brand design.  We asked him for a few of his top picks for great book cover design, and here are the results:

the twelve

The Twelve: Appropriately dark and brooding. Simple, but very effective.

medal of honor

Medal Of Honor: This mean mother f*****, and a medal of honor? Gotta read it. Dirty, gritty and bold.

the retribution

The Retribution: Colorful and ominous. Typography could have been stronger, bolder. The blurb is even hard to read when seen at a larger size.


Pet Sematary: One of a series in this style, this one appeals most. Again, simple, but very effective.

girl with dragon tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Intriguing image, distinct use of color.


The Road: One of a series, this one the best. Nice incorporation of a blurb. If the blurb had been a little bit darker the author and title would have stood out more. Still, Chip Kidd’s cover is better. Favourite book of mine.


Dark Places: Bold, great use of the image and color. Supported by solid typography nicely integrated with the image. Fantastic book.


Telegraph Avenue: Very smart way to immediately tell the reader what this book is about – great cover.


What’s Left of Me: Love the restraint and starkness, the use of color. The typography is a bit scattered for my taste, but overall an excellent cover.


Twilight: Love it, and hate it. The image is fantastic and has become iconic, the typography I fancy less, could be bolder without competing with the image. The author’s name is hardly readable.

divided states

The Divided States of America: Bold in color, lay out and typography – the design reflecting the divide between the two ruling parties in the US.


PYGMY: Bold colors, matched by bold typography. Love the repetition.


Micro: The clever illustration sucks you in. That, combined with the limited color palette and bold typography make this a great cover.

Visit Jeroen Ten Berge’s website: jeroentenberge.com/

Find these book covers and more of Joroen’s picks on Kobo!

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