Ernest Hemingway’s Book Covers That Inspire


We are excited to announce a new column! Now you can get inspired not only by modern designs but also by classic book covers. And we’ll start with the first editions of one of the most iconic American writers.

Let’s go on a journey through Ernest Hemingway’s classic book covers, explore their distinctive features, and get a dose of inspiration. Off we go.

Why are Ernest Hemingway’s first edition book covers significant?

Ernest Hemingway’s classic covers have been a source of inspiration for generations of authors and book designers. And here are some simple reasons why:

  • He is one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century.
  • Collectors and book enthusiasts highly seek Hemingway’s first-edition book covers.
  • These covers often feature beautiful,  intricate, and various designs. We can enjoy different approaches and combinations of elements.

If you’ve never analyzed Ernest Hemingway’s books from the perspective of book cover design, you’ve got this chance now.

What are the specific features of Ernest Hemingway’s book covers?

Ernest Hemingway’s novels and short story collections were issued by many publishing houses, each of which made its unique cover design. Thanks to this, we can enjoy a variety of book art today.

We have grouped Ernest Hemingway’s classic covers according to a particular feature. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Typography-based Ernest Hemingway’s book covers

These covers are pretty minimalistic, but they perfectly emphasize the writer’s writing style and personality. Without unnecessary embellishments, they hint at the directness and seriousness of Ernest Hemingway’s works. A bold, sans-serif font is an excellent choice for this purpose.


Although a typography-based cover may not seem minimalistic if you choose a non-standard approach to text placement. Hans Tisdall created the cover for A Moveable Feast. The highlight of this design is the continuity of the front and back covers united by the author’s name.



2. Symbolic Ernest Hemingway’s book covers

At first glance, these covers seem abstract, but if you look closely, the background of each cover was chosen for a reason.

Behind the title A Farewell to Arms, we can see rows of silhouettes of soldiers. The background of Islands in the Stream is a detailed map of the Bahamas, where the novel events occur. Newspaper clippings on In Our Time perfectly emphasize the collection’s title. 




3. Landscape-based Ernest Hemingway’s book covers

Since Hemingway’s novels often occur in distinct settings, a landscape-based cover can immediately transfer readers to a specific place. Even before starting a book, the audience has a necessary mood.

Moreover, Hemingway’s characters often interact with nature. A cover design focusing on the natural world can capture this sense of adventure and exploration, whether a rugged mountain range or a serene lakeside.


4. Ernest Hemingway’s book covers that hint at the plot

Such book covers usually include images that hint at the plot of the story. This technique allowed Ernest Hemingway to intrigue the readers even before they started reading the book. Specific imagery also sets the necessary mood and emotions.



Military elements on the cover of A Farewell to Arms hint that events are connected with difficult war times. Couples on The Torrents of Spring reveal that the plot focuses on relationships between people. A bull and bullfighting attributes in Death in the Afternoon mean that the book is about the ceremony and traditions of this dangerous Spanish sport.




5. Ernest Hemingway’s book covers inspired by Ancient Greece

Some of Ernest Hemingway’s classic editions feature ancient Greek motifs on their covers. These can be heroes from famous myths, ornaments, or symbols.


Ancient Greek mythology is filled with influential and iconic figures. A cover design featuring these mythological figures can create a sense of grandeur and epic scope reminiscent of Hemingway’s writing.



Bonus: Modern Ukrainian Ernest Hemingway’s book covers

It’s time to step away from Ernest Hemingway’s classic covers and check out some modern ones.

Notably, we want to show you Ukrainian Ernest Hemingway’s book covers designed by The Old Lion Publishing House. Get inspired while looking through them:

Book cover designs by The Old Lion Publishing House

Summing up

We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey and got much inspiration. Ernest Hemingway’s covers are gorgeous, whether we speak about typography-based, symbolic covers or those ones hinting at the plot.

Which of Ernest Hemingway’s book covers do you like the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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