Who doesn't judge a book by its cover?
A semi-casual Tony Blair stares out from the cover of his autobiography, The Journey, which is due to be published this September.
Dressed in a black open-necked shirt, his piercing blue eyes lock onto the passer-by like laser-guided missiles.
The image portrays a self-confident, middle-aged man who - if we didn't know better - could be anything from a successful European lawyer, a member of a 70s prog-rock band or a perma-tanned TV personality.
All careers that might well have crossed the ex-prime minister's mind at some point during his life.
And the choice of this image, the styling and the crop is not flippant. Hours, days and quite probably weeks will have been spent choosing the cover image for a book that pundits think will be the biggest-selling political memoir since Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street Years.
Never-judge-a-book-by-its-cover is a cliche that has at its root an anti-superficiality message. But the truth is that publishers and authors do want us to judge a book by its cover, otherwise they would simply produce books wrapped in block colours to denote a genre.
At a talk I recently attended by Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish writer, he explained that not only did he personally source and choose the cover image for his new book, The Museum of Innocence, he also rolled up his sleeves, switched on his computer and spent many hours on Photoshop to create what he felt was the perfect visual metaphor for his novel.
Book cover design is an artistic practice that goes back centuries and includes the illuminated manuscripts of the middle ages.
But it is in the 20th Century with the emergence of the professional graphic designer in concert with mass-market publishing that the visual language of book cover design has found a place in everyday life.
It shows and tells a compelling story of modern graphic design, which really only got truly underway at Penguin when they acknowledged the importance of cover design by appointing Germano Facetti as the full-time Cover Art Director.
But even before that Penguin had the aesthetic sensibility to employ the great modernist typographer and designer Jan Tschichold to help them bring some design rigour to their books, which were already well known for their distinctive branding.
The ensuing Penguin Book covers now have a significant part in the history of graphic design.
And as from the 17 April the publishers Faber and Faber will be mounting an exhibition at London's V&A museum where they will, "put on display items from its historic archive in a display describing its dedication to book design."
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for book design as we move towards a digital age in book publishing. It is easy to imagine a digital version of the book cover with a groovy 3D image that animates like a movie.