Artists Are Giving Classic Books a Brand New Look

The public domain is a great thing: after a certain amount of time, a work of literature can’t be copyrighted anymore. That means that efforts like Project Gutenberg can make the full text available online for free. The only problem: these free old-school texts lack similarly free covers. According to Wired, one dedicated group of artists is changing that.


The new covers project is called Recovering the Classics, and it aims to make awesome new covers for public domain texts. The idea came to organizer Jennifer 8. Lee when she was working with the literary website DailyLit to provide chunks of free reading to visitors every day. The literature was free, but the covers that came with it were either boring or nonexistent. Commissioning designers to make new covers wasn’t an option, because it was too expensive.


That’s what led Lee to team up with the Creative Action Network and found Recovering the Classics in 2013. The idea was to crowdsource new covers for classic books, and the response was incredible. Designers flooded Recovering the Classics with their visions of classic covers, and from those Lee was able to create a huge database of new covers.


It’s an incredible project, and it’s not too late for you to help. Recovering the Classics’ next big project is a tour that will bring 50 of their book covers to all 50 states for display. You can donate to that effort on their Kickstarter.


All images: Recovering the Classics