I did some spec ads for Penguin Classic Deluxe Editions this past semester and in my hunt for creative inspiration (and product research) I discovered a new-found love for book cover designs, mostly because Penguin does such a good job of making me want to stare at the book rather than read what’s inside. Ultimately, I have come to learn that you really can judge a book by its cover:
M.S. Corley does a fantastic job with his redesigns of the Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket series that harken the early days of Penguin Classics. Not only does he capture the Penguin spirit, but he also makes me hate him because these are just specs and don’t actually exist… I mean seriously, they’re gorgeous!
Moving on, I’d like to showcase an actually Penguin design series for their cloth hard-covers. Coralie Bickford-Smith redesigned several (and by several I mean 15-20) classics that make me want to buy each and every one – which is okay in this case since they do actually exist. In fact, I bought Pride and Prejudice and Emma for my sister and just sent in an order for Sense and Sensibility for myself.
Finally – and yes, it’s another Penguin plug – in my rabid search across the inter-webs for more material from which to write a series of ads, I came across some delightful Penguin designs from the UK. And ONLY in the UK. I apologize for the obnoxious Amazon.com display copy that I was forced to include because it is attached to the images. The following shows an awesome redesign of two Orwellian favorites, including my all-time favorite book (1984). I love that it is designed to mimic the style of the Communist Manifesto – and fitfully so. I received my very own copy of this 1984 redesign via a friend and I absolutely love it.
There are so many fantastic Penguin covers out there, old and new, that I couldn’t possibly show them all. Something really neat that I discovered was that Penguin has also created a “naked cover” series that presents you with a blank-cover copy of a book so that you can add your own flair and personality, designing the cover the way you want. There website totes tons of self-designed copies that show the personalities of the individual readers (and some celebrities as well) – check it out by clicking “this”. Overall, it’s amazing to me how much effort can go into the design of a book cover and most of the time we don’t even notice. Of course, for the most part, book covers tend to be boring and indistinctive, but if you take the time to truly create a work of art of the cover of a literary work of art, it pays off, for both the publisher and the reader.