An attractive blonde woman holding a huge, fairy-tale-like book.

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The old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” might be great advice for people, but not necessarily for books. In fact, many people choose books based on the cover art alone.

For example, when R.L. Mathewson published her book Playing for Keepsshe went from about five sales per day to over 1,000 sales per day only by changing the cover. Here’s three book covers from 2017 that blew away the competition with creative, compelling artistry.

1. The World Goes On
The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai features dizzying, sliced word art mounted on a rainbow gradient straight out of a ‘90s Powerpoint theme. Although the design is simplistic, the title text repeated and chopped in half mimics the book’s recurring theme of “wandering-standing,” which The New York Times described as, “…a state the narrator of the opening story describes as the disquiet of listless, hunched-over men on every continent, men yearning to head somewhere — in any direction — yet going nowhere.”

2. Black Moses
The translated French novel by Alain Mabanckou was designed by Jon Gray. The punchy, bright cover makes use of patterns and clean lines to give the book art a screen-print feel without making it look cheap. Although the book is available for purchase on Kindle too, readers are likely to pick up the print version to display on their bookshelf or coffee table.

3. Draw Your Weapons
Writer Sarah Sentilles is credited with all of the brilliant writing in her book Draw Your Weapons, but the minimalist cover art was designed by Oliver Munday. The upper half of the cover makes use of blank space, and the lower half contrasts bullets to a paintbrush softly smearing red-orange paint. The cover art does what all good covers do — it tells the story in a simple yet clever graphic without giving too much away.

While the above three books may’ve been in the lead in terms of inventive design, there’s no doubt lots of other illustrious books were close behind. What expressive book designs will 2018 bring?