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Off the Shelf Inspiration: Science Fiction Paperbacks

Lesley Yarbrough March 31, 2021 · 2 min read

If you’ve read some of my past posts on this blog (first of all, thank you) you probably know that I’m a huge lover of books. They’re an endless source of inspiration and creativity, and when it comes to designers, keeping that well of creativity full is extremely important. But what’s fun about books, is it’s not just the words that inspire, the covers that contain those words are often works of art unto themselves.
Now, as an avid reader I’ve naturally acquired my fair share of books, and a good number of those are old paperbacks. This is mostly because 1) they smell amazing, and 2) vintage cover art is, more often than not, much more interesting than contemporary designs. It’s fun to just sit down with a stack of books and study the covers. The typography, the style of the artist, the way they pull you in before you even so much as read a word — it’s all fascinating.
Today I was in a bit of a science fiction mood, so I pulled a few of my favorite paperbacks off the shelf and scanned their wonderful covers. I hope you enjoy!

George Orwell

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Douglas Adams

Frank Herbert

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

Fountains of Paradise
Arthur C. Clarke

Here Abide Monsters
Andre Norton

The Sirens of Titan
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The Well of the Worlds
Henry Kuttner, cover design by Alex Schomburg

Time is the Simplest Thing
Clifford D. Simak


Feeling inspired? Here’s a few science-infused design goods to help your project come to life.

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Lesley Yarbrough

Tinkerer. Maker of quirky fonts with a sprouty disposition.

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