Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Dull Graves

So I get my copies of two of the newest Penguin Modern Classics, reprints of some of the lesser-known Robert Graves novels. And they have no fucking covers, or at least no cover art: just the basic template text for the series. And they're £15 each. For no fucking cover.



I'm not impressed. I mean, here's a cover I came up with and put together in literally 7 minutes for Wife to Mr Milton, using only a public domain image and a free stock photo. It's far from a work of brilliance, but it's better than nothing, surely. Do they want people to pick these books up or not? Madness!


And there seem to be at least 4 other Graves reprints lined up with the same non-covers. I hope this can't-be-arsed attitude doesn't spread to the rest of the Modern Classics line.

13 comments:

Brian Busby said...

"It's far from a work of brilliance..." In fact, it's quite close to a work of brilliance. I suggest that another seven minutes would have been more than enough to put it over the top.

Those white Penguin covers? Well, they are white... and, as history demonstrates, will be collecting dirt, scratches and stains. Simply put, they won't be white for long.

JRSM said...

Maybe I'll even devote a full quarter-hour to it! You have to be professional about these things, after all.

Tulkinghorn said...

I'd love to see your King Jesus.

I admire text-only covers. (Maybe with color though.) My idea of a good time is the NRF/Galliamard or the old Serie Noir. Or for that matter the monodesign of the old Penguins.

There are robably better forums for that opinion, though...

Rob said...

I think the covers look nice. It's refreshing to see designs that aren't overly designed.

Craig D. said...

And to think that I used to complain whenever a work of classic literature was published with a cover that was just a painting grabbed at random that had nothing at all to do with the story. It's like the publishers overheard me and said, "You'll get nothing and like it!"

on site said...

I'll take a clean cover (so French) over a layered, cobbled together, misleading collage meant to attract punters. These are classics, readers know what they are getting, they don't need to be 'sold' by graphics.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

Hey! The type is nice. They're not bad, but a little something something won't hurt. I just wonder what the cover design fee was.

JRSM said...

There probably wasn't any fee as such--it follows the same template as hundreds of other books in the series, it's just that all of those other books have an image too. I wonder why poor old Robert Graves was singled out for blankness.

Alaina Buzas said...

I'm pretty sure they're all going to look like that, based on everything I've seen about them so far. I think it's a nice cohesive concept but I can understand why some people might want more.

PearlFog said...

The blankness seems a real shame to me, especially since I've always really liked the Penguin modern classic cover style. My personal favourite is the cover of 'The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love', although despite the great cover and the great title, I gave up on the wretched book two thirds of the way through. Like you, I hope this isn't the way they're going to go from now on, it would be such a shame.

Phire said...

I was just saying to myself that I really LOVE those covers, and then I saw your disparagement of them. Then again, I'm a fan of minimalism, and would prefer well-set typography on my books to most paintings/illustrations/photography. Is that particular edition a little plain? Yes. But I think it's better than yet another mysterious shot of a woman's neck.

JRSM said...

I'm interested to see so much support for the image-less covers. Perhaps Penguin is on to something after all. I'm still puzzled as to why they've just done this for the one author, though--fortunately no other books in their upcoming Classics list seem to be text-only.

Mike said...

You're joking, right? They are fine covers. Just because they're not plastered with pictures doesn't mean they're not carefully designed.