Design, Time Travel Tuesday

Time Travel Tuesday: Vintage Penguin and Pelican Book Covers

Illus­tra­tion and book cov­ers go hand-in-hand. I see them as a crit­i­cal part to a sto­ry; book cov­ers help us imag­ine char­ac­ters, and con­vey the tone of what we’re going to read. The Har­ry Pot­ter cov­ers, for exam­ple, were around before the films, and ulti­mate­ly helped define what Har­ry looked like (beyond JK Rowling’s descrip­tions).

Going back fur­ther, the sto­ries-turned-book Trea­sure Island spoke of adven­tures of pirates, and illus­tra­tor NC Wyeth imag­ined what these buc­ca­neers looked like. His depic­tion per­me­at­ed our visu­al cul­ture and ulti­mate­ly helped define how we imag­ine pirates today.

So, what I’m try­ing to say with this is that book cov­ers are more than mere dec­o­ra­tion. Here are some great vin­tage cov­ers of both Pen­guin and Pel­i­can books, some that are more illus­tra­tive and some that are more con­cep­tu­al. Either way, the front cov­er is a way we can get to know the book before we pick it up.

All images via Joe Kral’s Flickr. Check it out for even more vin­tage cov­ers!

Mind You, I've Said Nothing!
Rabbit, Run
Persecution 1961
She Came to Stay
The Economic History of World Population