Cover Love: The (RED) series from Penguin Classics

If you follow my Cover Love series then you would know that I have a bit of a thing for typography-based cover designs. In the past I’ve praised the virtues of the ‘Art of the Novella’ series from Melville House, hailed the glory that is the Faber 80 Beckett Series from Faber Books, and now, in this latest Cover Love feature, I pay homage to a gorgeous soon-to-be-launched ‘rebadged’ series of titles from Penguin Classics, which is being published in partnership with AID’s awareness fund, (RED).

Featured in this Cover Love post are the first eight titles which will hit the bookshops from 20th May, and I think, in terms of design at least, that they are exquisite. As you can see for yourself all the covers are primarily based on typography, but each design is also based on a pertinently chosen quote from each book which forms the word art for each cover. What I find particularly striking about most of the cover art in this collection however (aside from the vivid red colour accent of course, which triumphantly broadcasts the primary raison d’etre of the series), is that the typography has been allowed to ‘bleed’ into Penguin’s normally ‘untouchable’ sacrosanct title-band in the lower portion of the cover, which I think is deliciously rebellious, especially for titles which come under the mantle of the Penguin Classics range :).

Interestingly, the cover art is the product of more than one creative hand, with each cover having been designed by a different designer. Artists range from in-house designers to commissioned individuals, and included are ‘old favourites’ of mine here at RobAroundBooks, such as Coralie Bickford-Smith (The Secret Agent) and Jonathan Gray aka Gray318 (Notes From Underground).

Out of all of the eight covers pictured above I’m probably most drawn in an aesthetic sense towards Gray’s cover for Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground (that’s the cover bottom right, above). For me it’s definitely the best of the bunch in terms of design, with the cover for Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin (created by Penguin’s own in-house art director, Jim Stoddart) coming in a close second. For once Bickford-Smith hasn’t moved me as much as she has done in the past with her creation for Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent (you may remember her work on the ‘Gothic Red’ series blew me away), but even so she’s still manages to rustle up a beautiful design. As for the rest of the cover designers, here’s a rundown:

So that’s a quick look at the first eight titles in Penguin Classic’s new (RED) series which, to recap, are published on the 20th May. If you want any more info, clicking on any of the covers above will take you directly to Penguin’s product page for each book.

Finally, although it was the Penguin Classic’s newsletter that first brought my attention to this new series, most of the information for this post was gathered from that most excellent of websites – Creative Review. So full credit to them.

So fellow readers, what are your thoughts on Penguin’s new (RED) range? I’d love to know what you think.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books)

Comments

  1. Stujallen (Twitter: stujallen)
    says:

    these are nice rob not sure if i ll get them all may get a couple thou ,nice to see you back 🙂 stu

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      It’s great to be back Stu! and now that I am I’m never going away again.
      Warmest
      Rob

  2. These are really beautiful. I saw them before on Frances’s blog and already preordered the Therese Raquin. It’s probably the only one I will get.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Oops I had no idea that Frances had featured them Claire. Hope she’s not too mad with me :o). I’m glad you’ve already pre-ordered one though, they’re pretty much irresistible aren’t they?
      Hope all is well with you. Haven’t spoken for a while
      Warmest
      Rob

  3. Oh my gosh. I love these covers. Red is my favorite color, but I love the designs and how all the covers are limited to the same color palette. I know I’ll be tempted to pick up at least a couple if I see them at our local book store!

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      The red certainly fits in with the charity doesn’t it Valerie? And it’s not a garish tone either.
      Warmest
      Rob

  4. I love the red color but I’m not in love with all of the art in this series. The lines and “glowiness” (I know that’s not a word but I didn’t get enough sleep last night) of the Dracula cover is too modern. But I do love the way the Great Expectations text goes into the red band. I really like the Dostoyevsky too. I think there are a couple of these that I would buy. 🙂

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Got to agree with the Dracula cover Kristen. Design-wise it’s certainly spectacular, but in terms of relevance…emmmm
      Warmest
      Rob

  5. Hmmmmm, I hate to be a party pooper but I’m not sure I’m liking these all that much. I particularly don’t like Dracula or Anna Karenina. I think I just like my classics to look oldy-worldy. Maybe if they were the covers of more modern books I wouldn’t have such a problem with them. Or maybe I would…I can’t decide.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Anna Karenina I do like, although I admit that the ‘oldy worldy’ feeling isn’t there. As for Dracula, well I agree. It’s probably the cover that fits in the least, whic his a shame because technically it’s a triumph.
      Warmest
      Rob

  6. I love Great Expectations and Therese Raquin.

  7. I also have a thing for typography-based covers, and a slight bias (usually) for hand-lettering over fonts.

    My favourite here is Therese Raquin by a long shot.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Well, given your love for ‘hand-lettering’ over fonts, it’s no surprise you went for for the Therese Raquin cover Lija. It kind of marks the middle ground between the two styles of typography doesn’t it.
      Thanks for your input
      Warmest
      Rob

Trackbacks

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