book cover design

“Be My Cover” Exhibit: Watch Video of Our Designers In Conversation

Penguin Random House, in partnership with Strand Book Store, recently presented an exhibit of 100 notable book covers created by a select group of Penguin Random House creative designers and art directors in a special Be My Cover exhibit in the Rare Book Room at Strand Book Store in New York City.

To celebrate the exhibit, Penguin Random House presented a conversation with acclaimed designers Peter Mendelsund, Jaya Miceli, Oliver Munday and Helen Yentus on May 14, when the featured guests were able to discuss their experiences designing for books.

The sold-out event was moderated by exhibit curators Fabrizio La Rocca and Roberto Maria Clemente. Many Penguin Random House designers, past and present, were able to attend the panel, along with excited book and design lovers from across NYC. Topics covered include favorite designs, common pitfalls when designing for books, and how to keep their creative juices flowing. In case you missed it, the Be My Cover exhibit will be on display in the lobby at 1745 Broadway during Company Week (June 18 – 22). To read a transcript of the Be My Cover Strand conversation with our designers, click here. Watch a video of the event below.

Iconic Penguin Random House Book Covers on Display in Exhibition at Strand Book Store

Penguin Random House, in partnership with Strand Book Store, is proud to present an exhibit of 100 notable book covers created by a select group of Penguin Random House creative designers and art directors in a special “Be My Cover” exhibit, May 11–23 in the Rare Book Room at Strand Book Store in New York City. Books on display range from classics such as MOBY-DICK by Herman Melville and WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy to contemporary titles such as THE STRANGE LIBRARY by Haruki Murakami and THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett.

The exhibit is curated and organized by Roberto Maria Clemente, principal of FIONDA, a design firm, and professor of Graphic Design History NaBA (Milano) and Design professor at MADE (Siracusa), with Fabrizio La Rocca, SVP & Creative Director, Corporate Design, Penguin Random House. The exhibit will be held at Strand Book Store, one of NYC’s and the nation’s most celebrated and highly visited bookshops, whose rare book room is internationally recognized. Acting within the cultural and visual communication of its time, a book cover design’s quality contributes to the definition of our present-day society, besides being a practical instrument of commerce. In this way, the exhibit’s visuals transcend geographic borders—from the United States to Sweden, from the U.K. to Italy—while presenting a variety of styles and trends of cover-visual design. “We are proud of our exceptional talent in cover design, which we share across regions,” explains La Rocca. “Over the years, among the best creators of inspiring and innovative covers have worked among us and have reshaped the way we see and choose the books we read. Every day arresting covers are designed at Penguin Random House. This creativity is a foundational attribute of our company.” "Strand is honored to host 'Be My Cover' and celebrate the fantastic works of designers that make bookselling and bookstores so special,” says Leigh Altshuler, Communications Director for Strand Book Store. “They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’, however, we're excited to be doing just that this May." To learn more about the books and designers featured in this exhibit, visit Special Event: In Conversation with the Designers To celebrate the exhibit, Penguin Random House is pleased to present a conversation with acclaimed designers Peter Mendelsund, Jaya Miceli, Oliver Munday and Helen Yentus on May 14, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The designers will discuss their design experience with the publishing company. The event—presented in partnership with Strand Book Store as part of New York City’s annual celebration of design, NYCxDESIGN—will be moderated by curators La Rocca and Clemente. Admission information is listed on the Strand website. For any questions about the exhibit, reach out to Phil Stamper-Halpin at

Behind the Book Covers with Riverhead's Grace Han

Grace Han, Senior Designer for Riverhead Books, has worked  at Penguin Random House for nearly four years, designing covers for a wide range of titles, everything from cookbooks (THE ART OF FLAVOR) to Drew Barrymore’s memoir (WILDFLOWER).  Her covers are simple, elegant, and beautiful. We’re thrilled to feature Grace in our Beyond the Book Covers series.

Below, she shares her journey into the world of book cover design, her work process, some stories behind her covers, and her thoughts about the future. What initially drew you to the world of book cover art design? I studied graphic design and motion graphics at the School of Visual Arts. During my last year, a good amount of my thesis project ended up being book covers. I think my love for reading and design converged. Once I realized there was a career in designing book covers, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Not long after graduation, I was lucky enough to be hired by Riverhead Books.       How would you describe how you work when conceptualizing and then creating cover designs? It’s different for every book, but I usually enjoy writing down concepts and visuals, sketching while reading the content I’m designing for. Then I play with ideas on paper or on the computer. When you play enough, ideas will work themselves out. Sometimes, all it takes is a great piece of art or typeface so I spend a good amount of time researching images, artists, and type designers. For HALL OF SMALL MAMMALS, I was able to work with Kate Bergin whose work is so wonderfully quirky–perfect for Thomas Pierce’s writing. It’s great getting to fully craft a cover by myself, but it’s also really exciting to be able to work with other creatives.   Which of the book covers that you designed are you proudest of and why? I loved working on THE LONELY HEARTS HOTEL, especially because I enjoy Heather O'Neill’s writing. The book is dark, sexy, and beautifully tragic. For the final cover, I came across a photo of a woman on the moon which felt romantic and sad. The font Futuracha, created by Høly, a creative studio in Athens, Greece, added just the right amount of eccentricity. It took a lot of drafts to get to the final, but I was able to explore many directions and learn a great deal in the process.   Where do you see the future of book design going and how do you envision the evolution of your craft? I think book design will need to continue to be creative and push boundaries. I believe people will continue to appreciate books as a tangible object. But books will need to be a covetable item while still being able to stand out as a thumbnail in the digital world. I enjoy working at PRH because I feel like we are aiming to do just that. You can view more of Grace's work here.