Cover Story: Norse Mythology

Remember my love of good book cover design? And my love for Neil Gaiman (both the man and his books)?

*happy sigh*

After waiting several months since the announcement of this book last summer, I finally picked up my copy of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. My oh my, is this a beautiful book!


First off, can we talk about the intricacy of the designs? And how the hammer is set against a night sky full of stars? The hammer’s metallic look gives it a sense of weight and of age, while the night sky backdrop lends the design a feeling of mystery and, for me, anyway, a sense of beginning. The beginning of the world, perhaps, or maybe just the beginning of a good story. Like Gaiman is saying, ‘It’s dark out. Come and sit by my campfire and I’ll tell you stories to chase your fears away. And if I don’t chase them away, at least you’ll hear of how they can be defeated’.

I don’t know if my photographs do it justice, but all those designs and the lettering are embossed. That, combined with the cover paper’s satin finish, makes the book feel like it’s made of fine metal beaten into wafer-thin layers.

Just holding this book is wonderful.


Even the cover’s spine gets a royal treatment, with black letters embossed against a gold field and a fine white knotwork you might overlook at first glance.

Though there are no pictures between the covers, there are plenty of knotwork designs interspersed throughout the book, such as this one:


A lot of time, attention, and love has gone into this book’s design and I am thankful for it. Though I’m not opposed to e-books, simply holding a book crafted as thoughtfully and as beautifully as this one adds to the experience of reading. I think that if more physical books were designed with as much care and detail as Norse Mythology, people would be more inclined to buy physical copies of books instead of their digital counterparts.

Note: The cover design was done by Chris Welch Design.


Now that I’ve waxed on about the cover design for Norse Mythology, I think it might be interesting to write more posts about book cover designs. Though I have an art degree I’m not a designer by any means, so I wouldn’t be able to break down symbolism or design styles or eras or anything of the sort. I’d just be gushing about covers that make my bookish, artistic little heart go, “squeee!”.

So what do you all think? Would you be interested in reading about my thoughts on the various book covers I come across?

6 thoughts on “Cover Story: Norse Mythology

      • I’ve actually never read Neil Gaiman which I know is a crime! Haha. I absolutely love fairy tales and fairy tale-like stories, so I feel like I would love his stuff. I just haven’t gotten there quite yet!

      • You haven’t read Neil Gaiman?! *gasps* You must rectify this situation as soon as possible!

        Neverwhere is my favorite of all his work, though American Gods is more popular (a Starz TV series based on it premiers sometime this spring). Stardust is wonderful, too (and there was a great movie based on it starring Charlie Cox and Claire Danes).

        If you have a busy schedule and are looking for something a little shorter, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Coraline, and the Graveyard Book are all stories that are angled toward a younger audience, usually, but are great for adults, too, and they’re not gigantic novels.

        The series that put him on the map was The Sandman comic series, which is AMAZING. It’s now a series of ten or so graphic novels, with several standalone stories (also graphic novels). Sandman is a deep, deep well of story, so you’ll want to be able to devote some time to it if you decide to read it.

        He also gave a wonderful speech about making mistakes and making art. It’s here if you want to take a look:

      • I know!!!! I am ashamed of myself haha. Coralline and Neverwhere are probably the top two on my list right now!! And that speech sounds really interesting…ahhhh for more time in the day! Haha. I definitely want to get to these soon, though. 🙂 Thanks so much for the recommendations!!

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