First introduced to Murakami's novel by a friend in 2004, I'm constantly awed, inspired and fascinated by each novel that I discover. The unique, almost scifi-esque, surreal plots are brought to life using distinct but subtle and almost ordinary narrative that feels comfortable as it transports you into a different world full of wonderful, and curious themes. My holidays are often accompanied by at least two of these novels and my bookshelf proudly exhibits a selection of the distinctive black and white covers, designed by John Gall.
Since the 1980s Gall has worked alongside Chip Kidd, developing the paper vintage cover for each of Kidd's Hardcover designs. Some of these can be seen above. Gall's designs compliment the Hardcover original as well as ensuring that the books remain part of the same family. (Above, left Chip Kidd, right John Gall)
The newer, black and white covers aim to reflect contemporary Japanese culture. They are designed to appeal to a wider audience and are both bold and quiet at the same time. A vintage art feel, each image usually represents character traits or themes that appear throughout the novels. Elements are often cleverly collaged but are never to crowded or too descriptive. Although the previous Kidd covers are classic, these new covers create a very identifiable family - I often spot Murakami's novels in the hands of other tourists and smile in recognition.
Read more about the design of Murakami's covers on his site here.