• 01.10.13

When Creativity Takes A Wrong Turn: Lousy Book Covers

Aptly titled new Tumblr “Lousy Book Covers” collects the delightfully dubious achievements in jacket design.

The book Spending Christmas With a Yeti is already at a marketplace disadvantage, what with that title, but then there’s the book cover. Oh boy, where to start. The real-life snowcapped mountain intruded upon by a clip-art Ford Explorer and what looks like an albino King Kong drawing? The puke-green background behind the title? Fortunately, for our amusement at least, it was efforts like this one for which the “Lousy Book Covers” Tumblr was made.


In an age of consumer-as-creator, it’s sometimes fun to see the self-generated works that aren’t soaring aesthetic achievements. Creator Nathan Shumate is a writer and artist who also–wait for it–designs book covers. This expertise gives him special insight into what makes these book covers so bad, but anyone can plainly see that perhaps Chip Kidd was not called in on these jobs. Most covers featured on the site look like self-published works gone horribly wrong. Of course, the major publishing houses are also capable of putting out the occasional clunker every now and then.

Have a look through more lousy book covers in the slide show above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.