Inspired by one of our favourite covers of the year, H is for Hawk, we shall be paying tribute to a subject favoured by many designers, illustrator and art directors across the globe – birds. More specifically we’ll be focussing on a popular pairing we’ve noticed lately: bird designs combined with hand-drawn lettering.

Struggling to find a starting point for a cover you’re involved with? Why not try experimenting with this winning formula yourself?


1. H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald


Chris Wormell’s illustration of a proud hawk is enhanced by bold, slightly irregular typography in a rich black. It reminded us of vintage educational posters. Publisher: Jonathan Cape H is for Hawk Cover - Helen Macdonald


 2. The 10 P.M. Question, Kate de Goldi


Here a more scratchy text is beautifully matched with a vibrant, textured collage image. The grungy background ties it all together and adds a slightly edgy, sinister note. Illustration by Sarah Maxey. Publisher: Templar Publishing The 10PM Question Cover - Kate de Goldi


 3. A Love Letter from a Stray Moon, Jay Griffiths


In this design the striking natural colours of the macaw pop against a plain background. We like the way three colours from the bird’s plumage are picked out for the text. Publisher: Text Publishing A Love Letter from a Stray Moon Cover - Jay Griffiths


 4. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt


Designer Keith Hayes lets Carel Fabritius’s painting, The Goldfinch, take centre-stage on this cover. The little bird is framed with simple elements: white paper, masking tape and casually drawn charcoal text. Publisher: Little, Brown and Company The Goldfinch Cover - Donna Tartt


 5. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris


This somewhat provocatively titled book caught our attention. The instantly recognisable silhouette of an owl (a long-eared owl to be precise) is paired with childlike handwriting. The playful composition suits the mix of upper and lower case characters. Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Cover - David Sedaris   If you have favourites of your own please share them with us below. We’ll also be publishing a book cover design tutorial very soon.