Judging A Book By Its Cover

January 27, 2011 - 12:58 pm 4 Comments

In today’s age, there are certain associations with classic literature. Some people presume that because the classics were written long ago, the storylines are so far removed from modernity as to be irrelevant. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are some things (ahem, human nature) that simply do not change over the years. So how do we get past these roadblocks that are predetermined misapprehensions?

Penguin has the answer. Eye candy! The influx of striking cover designs from Penguin Classics serve to bridge the gap between the past and present while supplying readers with new associations. Instead of assuming antiquated, mundane, and dense, readers can get right to the good stuff – passion, scandal, revenge, and vanity – with the help of a visual aid. Due to these eye-catching covers, the classics have heart (and heat) from the very beginning for everyone to see.

Approach #1: Charm Goes A Long Way

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Coralie Bickford-Smith, the senior cover designer at Penguin, created absolutely stunning covers for renowned titles, such as Little Women, Great Expectations, and Wuthering Heights. Bickford-Smith went for a whimsical but timeless look. She incorporated a personalized element from each story into a pattern of repetition on the cover. Each novel is unique but cohesive with others in the series, establishing them firmly as a set. As you can see from the images, they would make a beautiful library.

Approach #2: Great Cause, Gorgeous Books!

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(Product) RED partnered with Penguin to release a series of classics that are distinctive and completely attention-grabbing. Each book displays a fused Penguin/(Product) RED logo, a cherry red stripe, and a quote from the book in daring, cutting edge graphics. Also 50% of the book sales help eliminate AIDS in Africa. As if the covers weren’t enough of an incentive! Titles include Vanity Fair, Anna Karenina, and The House of Mirth, among others.

Approach #3: Walk, Walk, Fashion Baby

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What do you get when you combine couture with literature? Ruben Toledo, renowned fashion illustrator, designed covers in mediums, such as oil, watercolor, and pencil, to deliver innovative and dexterous interpretations of famous novels. They almost look dreamlike in representation, yet torrid with passion. My favorites are Jane Eyre and The Picture of Dorian Gray, but Pride and Prejudice, Dracula, and The Scarlet Letter are other notable works included in the series.

Reconsidering the classics now, are you? Oh, the cleverness of packaging.

4 Responses to “Judging A Book By Its Cover”

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