Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Kelman and Cardstock

The most recent books put out by Vintage Classics (such as their three Le Clézios) have been a bit frustrating, as they've got lovely covers but no design credits (UPDATE: see a bit below). Two of their other recent re-releases are these two by James Kelman.

They're both very simple ideas, very well done. A Disaffection is the story of a, well, disaffected teacher, while How Late it Was, How Late features a protagonist who goes blind after a spot of police brutality. In the absence of actual information, I'm going to guess that they're the work of Jo Walker, who has done a number of other nifty covers for Vintage. They're the work of Anna Crone, which I would have realised if I'd looked closer at the actual book, and which John Self pointed out in the comments.

Kelman's other books have also recently been gussied up by small Scottish press Polygon, using nice card-stock covers with simple graphic elements. UPDATE: These covers are the work of Angus Hyland of Pentagram. He notes: "The spare cover imagery, which uses bold typography and individual icons to hold the series together, echoes Kelman’s direct writing style. The lettering for the titles is scanned from a collection of wood-cut type, alluding to Kelman’s apprenticeship as a printer."

Covers not printed onto standard white card are surprisingly uncommon, but they can be very groovy, especially with big bold chunks of colour, as on these previously posted, coming-in-2009 Melville House covers for two Hans Fallada books.

The best example of using beautiful, non-white card stock is probably that provided by the wonderful Pushkin Press, to be the subject of a future post. Their beautiful, small paperbacks use textured coloured card for the covers, and also watermarked, high-quality textured paper for the interior pages. They are books that need to be fondled, so these images won't quite do the trick, but the Gracq cover scan does show some of the detail.


John Self said...

I am pretty sure the Kelmans do have an artist or designer credited on the back cover, and I do seem to remember it being a female name so you may be right with Jo Walker. Will check when I get home and confirm.

As to the Pushkins, I attempted - not entirely successfully - to show the tactility of the covers in my review of Marcel Aymé's Beautiful Image.

John Self said...

Nope, they're by Anna Crone.

JRSM said...

I just went and looked, and you're right! Why did I not see this earlier. I am stupid. When you can't "research" for your own blog to the point of finding a name on the back of the book you're talking about, obviously it's time for either a big drink or a hammer to the skull.