Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

20 DECEMBER, 2012

Illustrated Alphabetic Drop Cap Covers of Literary Classics by Jessica Hische

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Austen, Brönte, Cather, Dickens, Eliot, Flaubert.

If you love graphic design twists on literary classics as much as I do, you’d be equally riveted about a new collaboration between designer extraordinaire Jessica Hische and Penguin art director Paul Buckley, who set out to give 26 beloved works of literature vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers for Penguin’s forthcoming Drop Cap series. Each cover will depict a different letter of the alphabet, with which a famous author’s last name begins, illustrated in Hische’s signature style — at once distinctively original and reminiscent of legendary designer Louise Fili’s iconic work. The initial batch: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre, Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, and Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.

Images via Imprint

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19 DECEMBER, 2012

All the 2012 Best-of Reading Lists, Together at Last

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The year’s finest reading, organized by subject.

By popular demand, here are all of this year’s best-of omnibus reading lists, in one shareable place:

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19 DECEMBER, 2012

The Little Golden Book of Words: A Rare Illustrated Gem from 1948

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Places to go, things to do, people to meet, and other illustrated essentials of daily living.

The other day, I came upon typography czar Jonathan Hoefler’s brilliant remix of a mysterious vintage children’s chart and Milton Glaser’s iconic Bob Dylan poster. Naturally, I set out to find the origins of the vintage gem. Imagine my delight, as a hopeless lover of vintage children’s books, in discovering that it came from The Little Golden Book of Words (UK; public library) — a rare out-of-print gem by Selma Lola Chambers, originally published in 1948. The charming vintage illustrations by Gertrude Elliott, covering such favorite children’s book subjects as numbers, people, animals, and the seasons, pair each small picture with the specific word it depicts to help young children form the essential associations between words and their pictorial representations. Revealed in equal measures are the era’s distinctive aesthetic sensibility and its dated cultural biases regarding gender norms and social expectations.

Sadly, like other gems from that era, this little treasure is long out of print — but you might be able to grab a used copy online or find it at your local library.

Thanks, Debbie

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