Project 4 | Books By Their Covers

“If you had to title your life story (up to this point), what would it be called?”

While my own personal bookshelf at Penn is not particularly full nor diverse, I hope to use Project 4 to create a small library of book covers for not-yet-existing memoirs of my own of friends who are close to me and have impacted my life in profound ways. I’d like to think Oscar Wilde was right in saying “you are what you read”—and if my friends were books, I’d be largely molded by the lessons I’ve learned from them, the advice they’ve given me, the stories they’ve shared.

People say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover—but I believe, if it sounds and looks good enough, a book cover can charm you, shake you, and even make you pick it up and read it.

Below are two attempts I made already for my friends, Karis Stephen and Jane Choi. I am still deciding how many jackets I want to create and whether I should really print them out as actual, physical jackets, and whether I want the jackets to have backs.

01 Karis02 Jane


I draw direct inspiration from Canadian designer Steve St. Pierre and his project, “Jacket Everyday”, wherein he makes book covers of people, both who he knows and who submit their life story to him online.

Other sources of inspiration:

+ Craft and Graft, who re-created A Movie Poster A Day
Pat Fennessy, who takes words from a random phrase generator and uses them to create book covers
+ “Hausfrau”, a book that went through hundreds of iterations with the help of five designers, one illustrator and two letterers
+ C.S. Richardson, VP, Creative Director at Random House of Canada, on the history and practice of book design
+ A short list of the 50 Coolest Book Covers


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