Not so much a post about Penguin book design, this is more of a post about books about Penguin book design.
In 2005, Penguin Books celebrated their 70th anniversary. Starting in 2004, the publication of the special Great Ideas and Penguin 70s series demonstrated that the spirit of great design is still alive and well at Penguin. Recently, there have also been a few books to look at the history of the publishing house and its tradition of great design, the latest of which I came across while perusing the Penguin Books Canada Fall 2007 UK import catalague:
A unique celebration of Penguin’s most striking and well-loved covers
A collection of Penguin covers from Britain, Canada and around the world, 700 Penguins is a celebration of jackets that remain visually distinctive and addictive to us today from the beautiful to the garish, design classics to design oddities. A full-colour, sensuous delight, with one jacket on every page, the featured jackets represent the personal favourites of Penguin staff from offices all over the world, and run from Penguin’s birth in 1935 to the end of the twentieth century.
Throughout there are jackets that bring back a flood of memories of the first time a book was read; there is beautiful typography from Jan Tschicold; arresting illustrations; visual witticisms from Derek Birdsall; countless mutations of the much-loved Penguin grid. There are also, with no formula at all, jackets that just make sense.
Featuring old favourites and plenty of surprises, 700 Penguins is a unique and inspiring collection of the most impactful and well-loved Penguin covers of the twentieth century.
Penguin By Design has sold over 20,000 copies in the UK since publication.
With one cover on every page, 700 Penguins is a full-colour, sensuous delight.
Pub Date: 6 September 2007 (UK) / 25 September 2007 (Canada)
Price: £20.00 ($30.00 in Canada)
Format: 198mm x 139mm pb
Illustrations: 700pp colour
I don’t know about you but, notwithstanding the other books recently published on the same topic that I already own (see below), there’s no way that I will be able to go on living without possessing these Seven Hundred Penguins of which they speak. Penguin Lust indeed!
While we’re at it, in case you missed them, also published recently on the same topic were:
Ever since the creation of the first Penguin paperbacks in 1935, their jackets have become a constantly evolving part of Britain’s culture and design history. Rich with stunning illustrations and filled with detail of individual titles, designers and even the changing size and shape of the Penguin logo itself, this book shows how covers become design classics.
By looking back at seventy years of Penguin paperbacks, Phil Baines charts the development of British publishing, book-cover design and the role of artists and designers in creating and defining the Penguin look. Coupling in-depth analysis of designers – from Jan Tschichold to Romek Marber – with a wide-ranging look at the range of series and titles published – from early Penguins and Pelicans, to wartime Specials, fiction and reference, this is a distinctive picture of how Penguin has consistently established its identity through its covers, influenced by – and influencing – the wider development of graphic design and the changing fashions in typography, photography, illustration or printing techniques.
Filled with inspiring images, Penguin by Design demonstrates just how difficult it is not to judge a book by its cover.
Format: Paperback | 183 x 220mm | 256 pages
ISBN (UK & Canada): 9780713998399
ISBN (USA): 9780141024233
Publication Date: 05 May 2005 (UK) / 31 May 2005 (Canada) / 28 March 2006 (USA)
Price: £17.99 ($35.00 in Canada)
Imprint: Allen Lane
A record of the Study Day at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on Saturday 18 June 2005
During the celebrations of Penguin Books’ 70th anniversary in 2005, the Victoria and Albert Museum put on an exhibit from 8 June to 13 November, drawing on never before seen Penguin material from their Word & Image department’s archive. The purpose of the display was to show how Penguin has responded to – and influenced – changing trends in British culture. The Penguin Collectors’ Society added their own contribution, organising a study day at the V&A during which Derek Birdsall, Jerry Cinamon, Romek Marber, John Miles, David Pelham and Penguin Press’s current art director Jim Stoddart, all delivered illustrated talks on their work designing for Penguin. The event was chaired by the type designer, teacher and graphic designer, Phil Baines. These talks have been edited and collected into a 184-page B-format paperback, with all 250 of the speakers’ slides and book covers reproduced in colour. This original, limited-edition book (1,250 copies) was edited by Phil Baines and Steve Hare, and designed by the D&AD award-winner David Pearson.
Publication Date: March 2007
This book is published by the Penguin Collectors’ Society and is available exclusively via their website.
Other recent publications of interest to Penguin aficionados include Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane, as well as the new edition of the Penguin Companion, consisting of over 700 ‘A to Z’ entries compiled by Martin Yates on all things Penguin, and an ‘Identification Guide’ containing nearly 300 illustrations in colour of Penguin covers organised by timescale or theme. The Companion is another publication of the Penguin Collectors’ Society, and is available exclusively via their website.
As they say, Penguin: there is no other book like it!