Puffin by Design – 70 years of imagination (1940-2010)

‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ So they say. But whoever they are, I think they are wrong! All books should, and are in the first instance anyway, always be judged by their covers.

For seventy years now lots of great designers have been creating covers for Puffin. In those seventy years there have been some amazing covers and, I’m afraid to say, some not so . . .

Puffin by Design, which publishes today, is full of hundreds of the amazing covers that have been designed over the years. Everyone will have their favourites. Here are some of mine:




We all remember the cover that was on a book when we read it, and seeing it again brings back memories. At the beginning of researching Puffin by Design we spent time in Puffin’s archive library, which lives in a huge warehouse in Rugby. We poured over the rows and rows of bookshelves and were constantly shouting out, ‘I remember that one!’, ‘Oh, I LOVED that book!’, and also, ‘OMG, what were they thinking?!’

Puffin by Design’s cover was created using about 1,000 books taken from the archive. After carefully laying them out on our canteen floor, leaving spaces to spell out the title, we leaned over the balcony above to take the photo. I hope you agree it looks stunning and you can spend ages spotting your favourite covers.


You can see the whole day in five minutes in this fabulous little film.

For me, the cover is the door to the book, and to the world inside. I am very lucky that creating covers is my job. It is a challenge and an honour. I love it.

Anna Billson
Art Director, Puffin