Skip To Content
    Updated on Aug 21, 2020. Posted on Oct 21, 2014

    26 Gorgeous Book Covers From Penguin's “Drop Cap” Series

    Bibliographic beauty from Austen to Zafon.

    Penguin Drop Caps are a series of 26 rainbow hued hardcover editions, each with a gorgeously illustrated "drop cap" letter by type designer Jessica Hische.

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

    A collaboration between Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series features classic works by 26 authors – one for each letter of the alphabet – from Jane Austen to Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

    The result is a beautiful, unique set of books that you should probably add to the Christmas list of any bibliophile in your life.

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    My Ántonia by Willa Cather.

    Hische told BuzzFeed: "I started by reading each book. For the series, we worked on three or four titles at a time, which definitely was a time management challenge."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

    "As I read, I highlighted passages that spoke to me or that I thought could contribute to a cover idea."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Middlemarch by George Eliot.

    "After I finished reading, I brainstormed ideas and presented a few sketches to Paul Buckley, the art director, each showing a unique idea and design for the cover."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

    "With the letterform designs, I wanted a good mix of narrative artwork–like The Lord of the Flies–and more abstract designs, like Great Expectations."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

    "Since we worked linearly through the series, I just had to pay attention to what we’d already done to make sure there was enough variety in approaches."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Siddartha by Herman Hesse.

    "I really loved making the B for the cover of Brontë’s Jane Eyre, but I had the most ideas for O’Hara’s BUtterfield 8–I think I sent 8 or 9 sketches for that one."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro.

    "The amount of ideas I have is usually pretty telling about how I feel about a book."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.

    "In general, the books that were more plot focused were the easiest to come up with solutions for, and the books that were more ethereal or descriptive were hardest."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

    "Proust was definitely a challenge, both to read and represent. I always get self-conscious when designing book covers for beloved titles, as I fear the judgement of the fans!"

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee.

    "The reaction has been wonderful, so many people have sent me photos of the books lining their shelves or told me that they bought the books as gifts for the design-friendly folks in their life."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Moby-Dick Or, The Whale by Herman Melville.

    "My favorite feedback though is always from non-designers—a number of whom have written me to say they bought the books just for their covers!"

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Five Children and It by E. Nesbitt.

    Elda Rotor, Editorial Director for Penguin Classics, told BuzzFeed: "It’s been quite the editorial adventure! There were weeks dedicated to talking about all the authors that start with the letter U or Q."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara.

    "There were obvious classic authors who are perennial favorites – Austen, Bronte, Melville – people own many editions of their works, they can’t help themselves, and such editions give new reasons to love the work."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Swann's Way by Marcel Proust.

    "It enhances the reading experience, the package offers fresh interpretations, appeals to different aesthetics of what makes a beautiful book and reading an enjoyable experience."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen.

    "For other letters we had the great opportunity to publish earlier works of modern living authors. It was important for me to bring diverse writers to the mix, with novels that are modern classics."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie.

    "These include works by Sue Monk Kidd, Chang-rae Lee, Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie, Amy Tan, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

    "Xinran is ready for a rediscovery and her novel based on a true story has a beautiful contemplative quality to it that will attract readers of Buddhism."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

    "I researched her and her work and was inspired to learn about how much readers enjoyed the story of this incredible woman and her journey to find her lost husband."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Kristin Lavransdatter, The Wreath by Sigrid Undset.

    "The reaction to the series is first physical. People hold the books for a longer period of time, savoring the book as an object. Other times there is the glee of seeing a favorite work in the series."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Candide or Optimism by Voltaire.

    "People comment on the variety of the list as well, there is something in the series for a diverse number of reading tastes."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Leaves of Grass and Selected Poems and Prose by Walt Whitman.

    "I have all 26 displayed in my office and what happens often is this: people happily blinded by the rainbow spectrum come visit and then they literally coo over them."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    Sky Burial by Xinran.

    “Then they share a Proustian moment of remembering their first experience with a particular book.”

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    When You Are Old: Early Poems and Fairy Tales by W.B. Yeats.

    "It’s really great to witness."

    Penguin / Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form