Books, Art, & Visual Culture


Writing and design by Melissa Hill, graphic designer.

Bookshop visit: Mary Martin, May 2018

There were so many beautiful covers to look at on my latest visit to Mary Martin Bookshop.  It really is a feast for the eyes at the moment.

1. First up is The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. This floral confection features the beautiful botanical illustrations of Edith Rewa, an artist I've been interested in for a while. I've been lusting after her wonderful silk scarves on Instagram and now here is her work on a book cover, quite stunningly arranged by designer Hazel Lam. I love the detail of the colour illustrations set against the black background.

2. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is a delightfully ornamental design, reminiscent of a beautiful Victorian textile pattern.

3. Circe... this gold stunner keeps grabbing my attention. It's a bit hard not to when it's so gold and shiny, but the splendour suits the Greek mythology well, especially since the design borrows from the iconic black pottery painting associated with Ancient Greek art.

4. The Only Story. In contrast, I love the raw simplicity of this cover, the sense that someone has handled this book, has written and re-written it.

5. Romance was Born. The utter pinkness of this cover makes sense for a book about a fashion label known for its originality, sense of fun and colour. I just really love the typography on this, it's a very elegant but contemporary serif... and of course I love the pink pages edges... fancy!

6. Axiomatic. Unfortunately these pictures taken on my mobile really can't do justice to what's going on here... the contrast of silver ink on the black uncoated stock really brings out the soft swirling textures of the image...the subtle shimmer just makes me want to keep turning the book in the light...and the lovely restraint of the geo sans type of the title in a white foil mmmmmmm.

7. The Lucky Galah. I really want to read this book – it's narrated by a galah. I love galahs, they're so full of character, waddling around in the grass. I especially love their shade of pink, so having a close up of galah feathers on this cover is a winner for me.

8. Kintu. I'm really enjoying the pop of teal against black on this one, but I especially like the patternwork in the title, it's really striking. 

9. Dyschronia. I really want to read this one too. Actually, I want to read most things in this list. You probably can't tell from the pictures, but the title there is in a nice shiny gold foil. That's not what got me though, I just really enjoy the cleanliness of this design and the vintage style of the squid illustration.

10. Brave New World. Vintage books has put out a great edition of this classic work of dystopian fiction . There's three titles in this series that I know of, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Orwell's 1984 being the others. They're so striking in their simplicity – it really is all about that highly stylised illustration (created by Noma Bar), with the title and author name being blind debossed so as not to detract from the rest of the design. There are also red page edges to get excited about and some cool patterned endpapers.

Phew! I hope you enjoyed this book cover round-up... perhaps it's inspired you to get on down to your local bookstore, because there really is a lot of beautiful design to look at (and bring home with you!)