In the mid-seventies, I bought my very first Conan paperback, '
In short, not only did the series look unique. It also set my imagination working. The same is true of the Michael Moorcock books published by Mayflower, also in the seventies. They all had a clean, white modern font that set them apart on the bookshelves, and a cover design that was a mixture of psychedelia and Tibetan religious art. 'The King of the Swords' is still my favourite. There was a look to the covers that made you want to collect them all.
The same could be said of sci-fi artist Chris Foss's iconic designs for Isaac Asimov's books, almost photographic in their realism, blazingly colourful, but again with a title font that was clear and recognizably Asimov.
The seventies were the first time I was old enough to buy my own books. My decisions on what to buy were often based on the look of the covers, and there seemed an endless range of unique covers to choose from. It may be my imagination, but fantasy book covers have come to look increasingly generic. Back then, covers were one-offs - individual and creative; Pauline Baynes' design for 'The Lord of the Rings' with its arching green trees, striking red lettering and oddly depicted creatures peering from the edges, is a case in point. When I saw the cover at the age of 12, I knew I was about to buy a serious book.
Two others come to mind. My school library held the C.S. Lewis 'The Space Trilogy' in Pan paperback, their strange covers a dark amalgam of Yellow Submarine and Art Deco. While the Puffin version of 'Catseye' by Andre Norton,which I was given one Christmas as part of a science-fiction box set, was like something I had not seen before - there was an artistic 'quality' to it, like Pop Art.
I could go on. I will let these covers speak for themselves though, and ask one thing - where are all the uniquely creative fantasy book covers today? I mean, covers that have a look absolutely like no other. If you know of any, do let me know. I am more than happy to be proved wrong.