Oxford’s Very Short Introductions series spans an extensive range of subjects, delivering authoritative and accessible insights into diverse fields, from Public Health to Classics.
Expert authors blend facts, analysis, and enthusiasm, providing an engaging reading experience that makes complex topics highly readable.
The series continually evolves to suit a contemporary readership, with over 700 titles and numerous new editions, offering an indispensable resource to enrich understanding across various areas of study.
Current Cover Designs
The current covers in the series employ a somewhat outdated, textbook-like appearance, using painted backgrounds that no longer achieve the desired visual impact.
The front page title is set in Lithos, which aims to remind the viewer of thoughts and writing of importance from places such as Ancient Greece. However, combined with the painted backgrounds, the covers feel unapproachable and outdated.
Through this concept redesign project, I have intended to modernise the series by infusing fresh and engaging aesthetics that reflect the dynamism and accessibility of these concise introductions to a world of subjects.
My Series Cover Concept ReDesign
In my redesigned book cover design system, I focus on highlighting the written word as the central theme, emphasising the fact that each word within each Short Introduction is carefully chosen. The design concept revolves around the metaphor of meticulously cutting through layers of paper to reveal the essence of each book, symbolising the act of delving into the content.
Each of the 12 categories boasts a distinct colour for both paper and text. The chosen typeface, Pangram Pangram’s Neue Machina, conveys the hand-crafted appearance of precision cutting, emphasising the art of the written word.
What sets this concept apart is the inclusion of actual text from the book, with the opening page and two additional pages becoming a captivating part of the cover, enticing readers to engage with the content from the very moment they lay eyes on the book.

These covers, as a tribute to the power of the written word, offer a unique and visually engaging experience for readers across the various diverse categories, whilst also encapsulating the essence of each subject within a single glance of the cover.
Style Guide
Book Cover Redesign Process
Initial Book Cover Trial
Being inspired by the concept of stacked and cut book pages, I started trialing initial book cover designs within Photoshop.
This experimental design utilised numerous layer styles and effects to craft the illusion of pages in the book cut and stacked.
Upon reflection, I realised that the design leaned excessively on a lot of effects, resulting in a dark and overly complex composition.
Thus, I felt that some amount of simplification was essential to achieve the desired visual impact and create visual clarity.
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