Friday, 4 February 2011

The magic of book cover illustration...

They just don't make 'em like this anymore!
A year or two ago I had a trip out to a small village up the road called Osmotherley and came across a small antique shop which basically turned out to be a storeroom for the owners life time worth of books, designer wrapping papers, patchwork quilts... My favourite find was the amazing collection of books for sale.

I've always loved antique book covers for the hand rendered approach to the illustration and application of print onto the backing clothette. Like screen prints, its nice to see small off-centered imperfections and depth of embellishment. The imagery always beautifully stylised, usually with an impression of Art Nouveau or Deco (my favourite periods). These days, we see a growing contradication within the world of design between the thriving trend for hand illustration and graphics on products, and the development of technology such as the Kindle and Ipad helping to aid the decline of purchases on physical material. Book publishers are adjusting to these new technologies but some still recognise the importance and magic of owning the solid material. Penguin have been running open submission competitions and commssioned established artists and illustrators to redesign classic book covers. Designer Coralie Bickford-Smith has worked on many covers for Penguin and has recently produced a collection of pattern based designs for F. Scott Fitzgerald. Visit: 

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