These are some of the project’s new book covers. Here, A Tale of Two Cities. - Roberlan Borges.

The Picture of Dorian Gray as a gentle scribble face… - Maelle Doliveux

…and a monster hiding a party inside. - Roberlan Borges

Moby Dick's makeovers are both gorgeous… - E Michelle Peterson

…don’t you think? - Rade Design

Frankenstein is one-part classic portraiture, one-part steampunk. - Vince Mattina

Call of the Wild howls at the moon… - E Michelle Peterson

…sits austere…. - Ed Gaither

…and grabs your attention through casual, extruded typography. - Michael Van Kekem

Crime and Punishment…is that blood or a curtain? - Roberlan Borges

Dracula is both an innocuous figure… - Aurora Cacciapuoti

…and a minimalist joke. - Steve St Pierre

Jude the Obscure is a captivating drawing. - Brixton

Pride and Prejudice opts for peacocks over sexual tension. - Alexis Lampley

This Side of Paradise makes a clever use of upside down. - Sawsan

Through the Looking Glass teases innocence lost. - Jacqueline Li

The only thing Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is missing might be salt stains. - Darrell Stevens

The Count of Monte Cristo is fantastic by any means. - Ashah Bowyer

Sherlock Holmes has so many interesting takes, from this psychedelic print… - Roberlan Borges

…to the iconography of the pipe… - Ioannis Fetanis

…to complex plays on geometry… - Maria Papaefstathiou

…to a neat hat stand. - Alex Morris

Robinson Crusoe makes a wonderful foot map. - Rade Design

War of the Worlds refuses to mesh into a Venn Diagram… - Christopher Scott

…it also captures the old mystique of space. - Luis Prado

And Don Quixote looks in need of a blacklight. - Joshua Sierra

Co.Design

25 Crowdsourced Covers For Literary Classics

Frankenstein’s monster never looked so good.

A few months back, we wrote about a project called Recovering the Classics, which planned to crowdsource enticing new covers for 50 literary classics--great books like A Tale of Two Cities, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Frankenstein, and Pride and Prejudice. By now, the masses have had time to file an incredible array of creations.

“There are some very bold new entries for what we’d previously thought of as stuffy old books but now are in vivid color,” one of the project’s founders Max Slavkin tells Co.Design. “Some are simple and some are intricate, some seem classic while others feel modern, but what has always been most exciting is the range of different styles and interpretations.”

Two interpretations of Dracula, Aurora Cacciapuoti (left) and Steve St Pierre (right).

Indeed, while crowdsourcing is usually a scattershot approach to design, it’s the perfect model for modernizing a collection of old, freely sharable books. Just take these two schools of thought approaching Dracula. One is an innocuous man in a cloak. Another is two red dots that just yanks the chuckle straight from your gut.

Should either cover define Dracula forever? Probably not. But both are wonderful, valid renditions of cover design. In this sense, the effectiveness of crowdsourcing stems beyond mere consumer choice or taste. Each of these books has been scrutinized through a century-plus of literary criticism. They’re famous for their multifaceted stories, which drive vast interpretation and great philosophical debate. And at Recovering the Classics, “crowdsourcing” is really just a new-fangled term for igniting academic discussion and literary criticism.

As of today, the submission process is still open. And you can acquire any cover you like in eBook, print, or poster form, the proceeds of which go to supporting the project into the future.

Learn more here.

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