In celebration of 75 years of publishing, Penguin recently bought out a box of 100 postcards showing some of their more classic book covers from over the years. I thought it would be a nice idea to put some together in a large picture frame. I think good design should be appreciated as much as art, so why not treat it in the same way?
I did one for me and one for my partner showing books we’ve read, or interesting, quirky or particularly relevant covers.
Obviously I had to include this one, a great design.
And then I have a few like this, that I just love, and would have loved to design. If only we had more covers like this these days.
These are a few that didn’t make it into the frames, but are still interesting.
Two covers by Romek Marber from 1962 and ’63. Obviously his trademark signature is the red lips in a male symbol. Not sure what that’s all about.
A 1957 knitting book and an author illustrated cover from 1946. Both imaginative uses of the penguin. A fluffy looking knitted one stands as the logo on the left hand cover, and the simple addition of a little platform under their feet turn the penguins on the right into toys. How cute. There aren’t many publishers who would be so liberal about the use of their logo.
Two covers from 1962. Britain in the Sixties, back in the days when sheep wondered across the high street. And also when scootering was all the rage, along with setting the image with a deliberate off print and using lowercase letters throughout the title. Rebels.
A couple of colourful illustrative covers from 1965 and 1966. Both quite surreal and slightly scary.
I find these interesting less for the images, but more for the placement of the typography. Especially the Edna O’Brien cover, the way the author and title are set to the far left with a praise quote running around it, and filling the top of the cover. The title being in red, means this is still the text you see first. It’s from 1969, but sadly there’s no mention of the cover designer. A very small and subtle title is probably all that’s needed on the poets cover, how different from the sort of book covers I design.
Finally, I really wanted to show this pony, over written with what looks like an excerpt from the book, and an exclamation mark for a tail. It’s original, that’s for sure. And the illustration on A Severed Head leaves little to the imagination of what this story is about!