A murky memory for anyone who has studied English using textbooks that date back to the 80's or earlier are the minimalist covers for the books themselves. I didn't give them much thought at the time, but there is a kind of clean, cheesy look to them that is quite appealing. Penguin covers have become a bit of a design icon all on their own, even releasing a book on the topic and re-issuing a few classic design books using the old-school cover design. Pelican books also have some pretty distinctive covers, though I personally don't like the look of them as much as the Penguin covers.
However, what has been especially awesome in the past few months has been the interpretation of contemporary creative endeavours - in the style of these minimalist book covers. A few of my favourites:
A template if you'd like to have a go yourself.