Pelican book cover design


11 Responses to “Pelican book cover design”

  1. Norfolkadam says:

    They really are super aren’t they? In my town in England there is an Oxfam bookshop that has stacks of these in wonderfully obscure titles that I’ve been buying for 49p a pop.

    A few of my favourite’s are Freud’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci and The Hidden Persueders about American culture being imported into Britain and how to avoid being sucked in.

    It’s such a shame there is no major publisher brining out these kind of titles now, whatever happened to Pelicans?

  2. Dougall says:

    The Penguin book covers of science fiction seemed to me to be some of the finest examples of graphic arts I’ve seen.

    One in particular stays with me as perfectly evocative of the book’s content and style (surely the first job of cover art is to expound the story and style of the novel! – I hate abstract covers). Besides being beautifully rendered, it is spare and dark and frightening.

    The cover of JG Ballard’s ‘The Wind From Nowhere’ perfectly dramatizes the book’s theme. The slightly stylized image of a Challenger tank flying through the air is inseparable in my memory from the experience of reading the book.

    Five minutes searching on Google found a good image of this and several other Ballard covers on this blog:

    If you love good graphic art you should take a look – these covers are stunning.

  3. David Pescovitz says:

    @DOUGALL, Fantastic link. I love that Ballard cover. Thank you!

  4. Piers W says:

    Jan Tschichold, Derek Birdsall, Romek Marber, David Pelham, Germano Facetti. I’d say the high point in book cover design.

  5. Pantograph says:

    You really can tell from these why everybody had gotten sick and tired of Helvetica by the mid 1980s

    For me, the odd gem notwithstanding, these pale in comparison with the illustrative genius of Dick Bruna (who does the Miffy books which were blatantly ripped off by Sanrio’s Hello Kitty.)

  6. Piers W says:

    I always thought the airbrushed Ballard covers were designed by David Pelham but the paintings were by Alan Aldridge.

    I just discovered here:

    that he did them himself – (along with the classic cover of Clockwork Orange and a ton of other fantastic work).

  7. totalcardboard says:

    I’ve collected lots of beautiful old cover designs here:

  8. Thad E Ginataom says:

    Yes, the covers were great — but what about the books?

    Pelican books were an incredible resource of learned information; a whole reference library available from your local bookshop, at prices realistic even at pocket-money levels

    I wonder how many of those titles made money for Penguin?

    It’s just wonderful that the series existed at all; publishing at its very, very best.

  9. J France says:

    Way back when I actually worked for a graphic house, I remember being super excited as we trainsitioned from bromides and plates for colour work to PostScript RIPS and CTP.

    But as we went on I noticed both the art and the ideas from clients got lazier and lazier, visually lkess interesting and eventually homogenous – in regards to style, identity etc etc.

    Working with coarse halftone printers and clunky GTOs, creating bromides on 300PPI lasers, having to use pasteups – they can create a much more interesting effect. Hell give me “four colour process” on four copiers with different coloured toners over a Fiery RIP and a Xerox A-series.

    I think it’s sad that many course now seem to skip the hands on visual studies and design fundamentals – which include pasting up type, so you can get a feel for kerning and leading, negative space etc – in favour of easily available technology.

    Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage is a great example of paste-up / early typesetting smacking down the notion that technology has somehow made for a richer visual landscape, rather than glossier colours and substanceless pap.

  10. J France says:

    I’d also highly suggest checking out the entropy tango, which #3 linked too.

    A freakin’ excellent repository of book covers.

  11. David Pescovitz says:

    Wow. Hadn’t seen Entropy Tango before but it is *fantastic.* Maybe I’ll post about that tomorrow! : ) Thanks!

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