I recently had the spur to look for redesigned book covers after seeing one or two recent redesigns that I really liked. I then came across the blog of an american graphic designer and illustrator called M.S Corley. He has recreated the book covers of several very well known book series, namely Harry Potter, A Series Of Unfortunate Events & The Chronicles of Narnia. These series of books, shown below, have all been designed with the Marber's grid template to represent the original 1960s Penguin books style. He tried to find well known scenes from the books and incorporate them as part of the cover; this way he couldn't give the story away but keep people intriguied whilst appealing to readers who already know what that scene represents. And the most important thing is that it is kept so simple! Some of these are obvious and yet they work well. Though all are very similar in the way they are designed (vectors with specific colours per book & textures to each background), they are all unique and can easily be identified not only as individual books but as a whole series too. He also realised that the colours match up too :)
It all really gets my creative juices going, and makes me think how I could do a redesign of some books that I like.
These Harry Potter books hold the same style throughout. Some elements of photography have been used I think, such as the letter in the first design. But these have been combined with vector based images in, what si my opinion, very Saul Bass inspired. All of them are genius, and follow a colour code; apart from the base cream like colour, each book has a corresponding colour which follows from the bar through to the image. All have a overlay of texture, which I would love to find out how to do, as it adds an element of depth and perception to each piece of work.
Again, like the Harry Potter books, the Series of Unfortunate Events books follow a set pattern, with corresponding colours that represent each book reflecting in both the image and the text (this is opposed to the Harry Potter template however, which had colour in the bar and not as the text alone). Textures have evidently been used again. In these designs however, there is a very common design aspect. There is an eye in each picture; if you are a large fan of these books, like me, and know what the eye represents, then you will think this is a very clever, cunning way of implementing what the story is about, and how the conveniently named Unfortunate Events occur in the story, and that the eye of the villain is always lurking in these stories somehow.
In a way, I feel more inspired by these book designs than the Harry Potter ones; however, I really like them both, and I feel more inspired! All the books below follow the same template as I have described, as you can see for yourself.