An interesting piece in The Guardian on Saturday talked about the iconic design of the Penguin classics, which celebrate their 60th anniversary, and how the book format became so important. To celebrtate the publisher has commissioned various people to come up with the art work for the covers including artist Sam Taylor-Wood, fashion designer Paul Smithand the graphic designers Fuel who could each take any book and design what they wanted. The books are limited to 1,000 copies coming in a perspex slip case and come with a price tag of £100 per book. The publisher is describing them as “The most stylish gift to give this Christmas”. Somehow I can’t quite see my wife taking that view.
Anyway of all the book designs Penguin is the one that continually gets the recognition and over the past couple of years I have seen the exhibition of Great Ideas book jackets that were short listed in the Design Museum Design awards and an exhibition of book covers at the V&A. You walked away from both exhibitions appreciating the work that goes into thinking about book jacket design but you also felt, particularly at the V&A exhibition that perhaps the publisher is at risk of getting trapped in a certain style and that perhaps on some titles the covers get revised far to often.