Murakami covers by Noma Bar

Vintage has redesigned its Haruki Murakami backlist and commissioned illustrator Noma Bar to recover each of the Japanese author’s books.

Vintage has redesigned its Haruki Murakami backlist and commissioned illustrator Noma Bar to recover each of the Japanese author’s books…

Writing on the Vintage Books Design tumblr, Random House creative director Suzanne Dean says the use of the central circle device, along with a colour palette of red, black and off-white create a consistent identity for the set of 15 books.

All the covers were printed at Tuckshop, Print Club London‘s bespoke screen printing service.

“Murakami’s work has a sense that something has been lost or hidden, what is real and what is not,” she says. “To match this playfulness for the covers, we commissioned Noma Bar [whose] powerful graphic illustrations cleverly utilise negative space concealing secondary images and illusions. Noma’s illustrations were screenprinted by hand to give them a personal and softer edge.”

“As with Murakami’s writing,” adds Bar, “new meanings can be found in my illustrations on closer inspection and these discoveries reveal themselves in layers, like a puzzle. These layers of discovery are evident in all of my work.”

The full set of 15 Murakami titles can be seen at (13 of the covers are by Bar). See Noma Bar is represented by Dutch Uncle.


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  • Decimal

    I wish all 15 had kept the circle motif (why only 3 that don’t?). Still a nice series and good work from Bar as ever.

  • They are lovely.
    No chance of a Pinball reissue?

  • Lovely series, great work from Bar as usual!

    However, I almost wish the circle device was applied a little more loosely (or not at all?) – for me the strongest covers are those that do without completely, especially “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” and “Underground”. The circle works well where it actually represents something, such as “South of the Border, West of the Sun”, but in some it almost feels as though the illustrations have simply been shoehorned into the constraints of the device, occasionally coming across as a little forced and slightly gimmicky (especially in “Norwegian Wood”, which otherwise is an stunningly simple and beautiful summation of the book).

    I’m also a little confused as to why Bar didn’t do the entire set?

    Still, great to see a well-known authors’ back-catalogue get the full illustrative treatment!

  • Wow, they’re all so consistently clever. Impressive work.

  • I was looking at my Murakami’s last night and thought that they badly needed a redesign. Looks great.

  • Luke Weall

    Not sure if it is deliberate but of the three books that do not use the circle motif, two are non fiction and the other I believe a collection of work by other authors chose by Murakami. All his fiction work maintain the circle which I personally quite like. Kafka and After Dark are particularly striking and sum up the books very well.

  • How does he do it, Noma Bar never fails to impress me with his witty ideas. Took me a while to get the Elephant one.

  • Kalle

    @ Decimal

    They all feature a circle in one way or another, think it works well to keep the series together

  • Felipe


  • Sublime!

  • Rosie Milton

    I think the typeface let’s the artwork down massively. What is that, Verdana? Helvetica? Ugly.

  • Its so easy to like Noma Bar’s work, effortless…

  • Geoff Naylor

    I agree with Benedict. Use the circle construction – which presumably has something to do with the rising sun – or don’t.

  • Second image kinda looks like the ‘Death Star’.

    Nice work Norma!

  • Great ‘design’ but I don’t really think they reflect the actually writing of this great author. The one of the broken record… I’m sure that’s almost identical to a previous design of that title too.

  • @John Amy: It’s similar, but a silhouette of a face is made with the broken edge of the record, giving it an additional level of thought that wasn’t on the previous cover.

    It’s hard not to Like Noma’s work.

  • @Luke – I thought the same but “After the Quake” is a collection of short stories too. Hmmmm.

    Really love the wind up bird chronicles cover.

  • Great work.

  • Nate

    The Wonder of the Moth.

  • hanna

    The reason three of them don’t have the circle motif is because they are nonfiction. Also, does anyone know where these can be purchased? (I’m in the states). These are lovely.