Judge a book by its cover. It sometimes guides.

Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary," cover designed by Manolo Blahnik

Rebelling against the well-known adage can sometimes lead to trouble but for graphic designers, a book’s cover can hold significance.

The Penguin Classics edition of novels come to mind immediately when I think of a great book cover. The minimalist esthetic of the books is from the genius by the name of Jan Tschichold, a well-known typographer who had studied calligraphy and had a background in artisanat. His experience with papers of different qualities and weights gave him an edge over other typographers.

Tschichold was deeply influenced by the Weimar Bauhaus which steered him in the minimalist direction, after the first exhibition in 1923. A manifesto for Modernist design was written thereafter by the man, whose work was considered by Hitler a threat to the German people, after Tschichold’s arrest for ‘cultural Bolshevism.’ The printed word is powerful.

Working for Penguin Books has led to Tschichold’s immortality, at least in the shelves of bibliophiles and design-o-philes everywhere. There is even a WordPress template, the digital reincarnation of this very intriguing designer.

Penguin’s legacy in book cover design has led to collaborations with designers Ron Arad and Manolo Blahnik. Yes. You read correctly. Even classics like Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky have to remain current. As a literature enthusiast and design enthusiast, there is nothing better than having the best of the written word and design. Even better, a designer piece for less than $15. Manolo Blahnik has never been so accessible.

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3 Comments

Filed under art, fashion, graphic design, literature, publishing

3 responses to “Judge a book by its cover. It sometimes guides.

  1. Hey there!
    I noticed you commented on the Jak & Jill blog http://jakandjil.com/blog/?p=4248
    The girl in the pic is wearing sQ leather pants… sQ is the anti-diffusion label of myPetsQuare.
    You can see the rest of the range here: http://www.thegrandsocial.com.au/sQ and also be sure to check out both our blogs!
    http://www.myPetsQuare.blogspot.com and http://www.sQthelabel.com

    PS LOVE your blog!!!

  2. DIOR POODLE! hahha!!! What a funny name of a breed! When only the best will do!
    We want to give away bow ties like the one PK is wearing! Email us at info@squareunion.com.au to enter! AAAA-AND (drum roll!) we’re entering everyone who fans us into a competition ot win a $400 wardrobe at http://www.shop.myPetsQuare.com
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  3. Sometimes, it makes me sad when I’m in a bookstore and spot a cover that’s just beautiful — and then I look at the blurb and find I’m not interested in the story at all. It’s sad, really…

    By the way, thanks for checking out my blog! 🙂 As for your TV consumption: I’d definitely recommend Doctor Who (looking at my blog, that probably goes without saying)! Apart from that, my top suggestions for current and fairly new shows would be: “Castle” aaand… “The Good Wife.” (Of course, it’s summer break now, but you could catch up on the internet.)

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