Saturday 25 December 2010

Essential Penguin Essentials

Back in the late 1990s, Penguin UK released a number of their (then) Twentieth-Century Classics as small A-format paperback 'Penguin Essentials', with very lovely covers by a range of different designers. There ended up being around 80 books in that series. In early 2011 they're doing it again with the cunningly renamed 'Essential Penguins', of which there will be a first round of 20. I've got 18 of the covers (with Lady Chatterley's Lover and Brideshead Revisited still unaccounted for) here:

UPDATE: See here for the other two, and for all designer details, see here.

For comparison, here are those same books in their 1990s PE versions (save Lolita, which wasn't included in that set). I have to admit, I mostly prefer these to the newer versions.

Here are the two books yet to get covers in their 1990s versions:

And, finally, here are a few other 'Penguin Essentials' I especially loved the designs for (several of these books, like the Greenes, have since gone to other publishers, hence their absence this time around).

This being Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle

Crappy scan, but it's Nin's Delta of Venus

Monday 20 December 2010

Burton in Space

Jonathan Burton, the extremely talented illustrator and designer who I interviewed here, has a number of cool things coming up (next year, for example, he has redesigns of some of the Kingsley Amis backlist for Penguin Classics--pictures to come when I get them). Most recently, there is his work on the Folio Society's new edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This book, and its first three sequels, were like catnip to me when I was a kid--I read my copies almost literally into pieces, to the point where I can't reread them now for fear that both the prose and the physical books won't hold up.

Here's Burton's cover: Marvin the paranoid android  in holographic ink, glittered cloth and embossing...

And here are some of his wonderful interior illustrations.

For more, see Jonathan's blog and site.