Covering the Classics: New Art for Old Titles

After an author has been dead for 70 years, their written works (typically) go into public domain. At this point, these important works belong to us, collectively. But that doesn’t mean we’ve always treated them responsibly. The brilliant content of their aged pages can often go unread, unloved, and even forgotten. Like immortal vampires entering yet another decade of existence, these classic pieces of literature are always in need of a new life.

A joint project by the Creative Action Network, DailyLit, and Harvard Bookstore called Recovering the Classics is hoping to to give these classics just that. Their mission is to crowdsource the talents of designers and illustrators, tasking them to re-imagine cover art for the first 50 greatest literary works in public domain history. Imagine, your design gracing the cover of “The Metamorphosis” or “Madame Bovary.”

Unfortunately, some titles suffer from art that isn’t inspired, and just doesn’t speak to a new generation.  And while, yes, no one should never judge a book by its cover, we live in a world where sometimes that’s all we have to go on. A Millisecond matter. This is a cool way to get these books back on the public radar.

So far, these eye-catching, frankly beautiful designs have already started garnering a lot of attention. People should not miss out on “The Picture of Dorian Gray” just because the front art looks stuffy. Oscar Wilde is scoffing from the grave, but we read his words another day.

Artists, stake your claim.