Eye of the Beholder

night-of-light-philip-jose-farmerAbeBooks’ exhibit of Penguin book covers begins with this line of praise: “One of the many reasons Penguin has been so successful over the years involves its history of creating fantastic book covers.”

I had to laugh – most Penguin covers look to me like high school art projects made with ten cents worth of clipart.

Not that I’m condemning the publisher. I always considered that one source of the savings being passed along to me when I purchased these inexpensive editions.

Besides, if I put any Penguin cover next to an old Gollancz edition – well, it does looks pretty good.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

4 thoughts on “Eye of the Beholder

  1. I would agree that at least those examples of Penguin covers are pretty bad. Penguin has, however, done some really nice cover work over the years, most recently re-releases of classics in which they’ve tapped various artists to do the covers. One of my favorites is the cover that artist Tara McPherson did for Bridget Jones’ Diary.

  2. The red and Yellow covers wax nostaligic with me. I didn’t like them then., and I don’t like them now. They stained easily when the paper was softer; the slicker paper was a step upward. But still ugly. When did Gollancz stop with the typeset format?

  3. Not all of the Penguin covers were terrible, for the record. Here they are:
    But I must say that the more “art design school” of the bunch look rather flat. As for poor Gollancz, they must have read that yellow is the color that sells books, which apparently is all they needed to know about cover art! It is sad to see the fine tradition of SF cover art slipping into meaningless “designs”, like the hopeless rorschach blots for P. K.Dick books being published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: http://goo.gl/V05Za For my taste I much prefer Davis Meltzer’s painting for Clans of the Alphane Moon, featuring the strange robot face on a hinge [ http://goo.gl/MYa6r ], then a diagonal row of giant blue pills! [ http://goo.gl/oPx6N ] To each their own…

Comments are closed.