From Henning M. Lederer’s “Covers” (gif via Vimeo)

In the 1950s and ’60s, book cover designers borrowed from the aesthetics of the burgeoning Op art movement, creating brightly colored geometric patterns that looked like mass-produced Bridget Rileys or Victor Vasarelys. If you wanted to get your hands on one of these mid-century graphic design gems today, you’d probably have to try your luck at a used bookstore or do some deep digging online. Or you could watch German artist and designer Henning M. Lederer give these covers a 21st-century update — he’s turned 55 of them into mesmerizing animations.

In Lederer’s video, once static designs for books like Banesh Hoffmann’s The Strange Story of the Quantum and Heidegger’s Existence and Being become trippy, kaleidoscopic wormholes, orbiting planets, and churning cogs.


From Henning M. Lederer’s “Covers” (Gif via Vimeo)

The project is part of a larger trend in the design world of reviving old-fashioned book cover styles in the digital age — for example, the New York Public Library’s Generative eBook Covers project automatically creates colorful, geometric, ’50s-inspired covers for eBooks that need them, and the jackets of Faber’s Modern Classics series intentionally evoke mid-century design.

Lederer sourced his cover images from Montague Projects and Book Worship, digital treasure troves of vintage book design.

h/t Mental Floss

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Baffler, The Village Voice, and elsewhere.