Book Review: Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover by Paul Buckley & Audrey Niffenegger


Pages: 287 pages

Published: 2016

Publisher: Penguin Books

Genre: Nonfiction, Classics, Art





In Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover, Paul Buckley showcases more than ten years of stunning cover designs from Penguin Classics. This curated tour begins with the now-iconic redesign of the signature Penguin Classics black-spine series in 2003 and moves through award-winning series like the Penguin Classics Graphic Deluxe Editions, Penguin Drop Caps, and Penguin Horror. Exhibiting a mesmerizing array of front covers and full cover layouts, Paul Buckley illuminates the unique and inventive approaches to typography, image, and design that grace Penguin’s covers of the best works in literature. Throughout the book, the artists and designers including Chris Ware, Ivan Brunetti, Jillian Tamaki, Jessica Hische, and Ruben Toledo who have collaborated with Penguin Classics offer commentary on the design process. For lovers of classic literature, book design, and all things Penguin, Classic Penguin has you covered.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. That saying always applied to people but us book lovers try to judge the story instead basing our first impressions on the book cover. However, it is first thing that we see when we peruse through the shelves and impressions our based on how beautiful the book cover is. It mostly influences  us when we are either buying or borrowing the book. That shows how important book cover design is in publishing. It attracts attention to the reader. Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover demonstrates just that.

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Penguin Group Publishing ( Penguin Random House), in my opinion, always made the best book covers, especially when they republished the classics. As a book lover and a librarian, you see how much detail and hard work is put in to cover design. I have never seen such beautiful art work, especially on objects I closely love. You will enjoy reading the

illustrators’ and designers’ commentaries on the creative process. It is just so fascinating and enjoyable the process is, even if they do not always agree. They are passionate about what they do and I think that is important in the book world. You have to have a love for the book in order for you to beautifully design it. And as you peruse through the pages, you clearly see that passion.

It takes a look at the designs that are well-known throughout the world such as the “black spine” design or “drop caps” design. And then you here about cover designs that you didn’t know existed like the “Penguin Play” series. When I worked in a rare book library, we always made note of any interesting book cover in the library record. People would always wonder why but we needed to show the changes of perception of how society saw the classics in a certain time era. Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover shows the illustrators impression on how they felt about and saw the classic title. This book demonstrates the importance of keeping books, especially the classics, relevant. Book cover designs need to change and these Penguin illustrators prove that they can change the cover design to make it applicable to the time but keep it true the title’s form.

If you love books or art design, you will not be disappointed in this book. You will get everything you want in it and more. It also makes a great holiday gift for any book lover!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Get It At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository | Your local library

Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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