Charles Dickens gets a facelift: Redesigned classics earn a prominent place onyour shelf
With our literate society moving further and further away from those printed-and-bound artifacts in favor of digital book formats, a limited-edition novel-ly (pun intended) designed cover might be a way to keep consumers buying hard copies and carrying them with pride.
We're talking about the idea of books as collectibles whose covers, despite that old childhood idiom, are begging you to judge them on all of their creative merit.
Over the past several years, publishers have released classic books that have been redesigned to reflect the current era's tastes without losing the integrity of the title.
Below, we've compiled a list of collections so beautiful you may want to dust off some shelf space and begin a tribute to the tradition of book-keeping all your own. A Kindle could never look this good:
Angus Hyland, partner at Pentagram’s U.K. office, recently designed hardback series of Virgina Woolf’s major works. Fast Co. Design reports that Hyland's covers are modeled after the cultural moment in which the writer matured and prospered and, specifically, the textile designs of the Omega Workshop.
Penguin Group commissioned designer Coralie Bickford-Smith to create vibrant cloth and stamped hardback covers of some of the world's most classic literature, including A Tale of Two Cities, Emma, Wuthering Heights and The Picture of Dorian Gray. You can buy them individually and finally catch up on all of those high school English classes you ditched, or buy a box set of Charles Dickens' major works.
This spring, powerhouse Penguin also launched "Penguin Threads," a series of book covers whose prototypes were first hand-stitched by artist Jillian Tamaki and then embossed in mass-production to give the cover that raised, textural feel. You can buy Emma, Black Beauty and The Secret Garden on Amazon.
Again, Penguin Classics released 20 culinary books redesigned by Bickford-Smith. A particular standout is the blood-red cleaver surrounded by fish on Murder in the Kitchen.
Struggling retailer Barnes & Noble also hopped on the creative bandwagon, employing popular Brooklynite Jessica Hische for a series of typographically focused classic book covers, whose internal organs boast marbled endpapers, painted page edges and matching ribbons and headbands.
Illustrator and freelance designer M.S. Corley imagined his own interpretation of a Harry Potter redesign and came up with a series of retro covers for each book in the series. Unfortunately, these are not published, but Corley has earned an Internet following of supporters pushing to see this art in print.
Have any other great finds? Tell us in the comments, and we can all work together to support the cause of an endangered species — The Hardback Book.