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Early Penguin book covers were simple typographic and coloured statements about the publisher’s identity rather than the content of an individual book, and when images first appeared it was initially in a very controlled way. Over the first thirty years of its history the company would experiment with using images in different ways for different markets without having any consistent policy. It was only in the late 1950s that they finally accepted that their use was essential for changing market conditions, and that the design of covers was a specialist design problem.
This talk will chart these changes and discuss the emergence of graphic design from the separate activities of commercial art, publicity design, and the print trades
Professor Phil Baines is a member of the research staff at University of the Arts London: Central St Martin’s. His design practice includes high profile, one-off commissions; general graphic design for arts organisations; and type design. The underlying themes include an interest in history and experimentation, and in the relationship between form and content. He is the author of Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005, Puffin by Design: 2010: 70 Years of Imagination 1940-2010 and Type and Typography (with Andrew Haslam), among others
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