Back in 2009, Venus febriculosa, a blog run by John Bertram, held a book cover competition, asking entrants to redesign Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel Lolita. Now, Bertram is publishing an entire book of new covers for the novel, each contributed by a prominent designer. Bertram told Imprint that the idea for the contest came after stumbling across Nabokov scholar and translator Dieter E. Zimmer’s gallery of Lolita covers and realizing that they were, by and large, not great.
“Seeing all of the covers grouped together, most of which seemed to fall quite wide of the mark, compelled me to see if there were better covers out there waiting to be born,” he explains. “The fact that the competition was only marginally successful propelled me to further investigation, so I sought out well-known designers and artists who I thought would be able to embrace the challenge… For the gallery of covers in my book, I was interested to see what well-known designers might come up with when freed from editors, publishers and art directors and the constraints implicit in the marketing and selling of books.”
As you may know, we love book covers, and especially Lolita book covers, so obviously we’re more than thrilled about this project. To whet your appetite, we’ve chosen some of our favorites both from the original contest and from the upcoming book — click through to see some seriously great design, and then be sure to check out the rest of the contest entries here.
Design by Peter Mendelsund