Thursday, March 30, 2006

So, Penguin's putting out a series of classic books with packaging redesigned by cartoonists. The Jungle, for example, is going to have a cover by Charles Burns, although I don't think it's that great of an illustration. I think some of the packaging is awesome- Some is good enough to make me care about things I didn't previously care about, some are just better designed versions of things I already care about. I do feel like it's mostly uniformly a step up, even when the artists involved aren't people I care about. Some of them, I just don't know how to feel. The only one I'd designate as being clearly bad is Art Spiegelman's cover for The New York Trilogy, but maybe that's actually awesome and I just don't get it because I haven't read the material. The only one on the market currently, I think, is Chris Ware's version of Voltaire's Candide, which I think looks amazing but I can't find a large enough image to link to. It's worth noting that it's not just cartoonists doing the front cover illustration, although I do think that in many cases, that'd be enough of an improvement- but a design of the backcover and inside cover flaps as well. Ware seemingly even got some jokes in. Even beyond such decisions of design, it's just interesting to me the decisions made for the packaging of the content- I don't know who did the cover, but Rashomon is going to have an introduction written by Haruki Murakami.

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