GRAPHIC DESIGN: George Giusti – Book Cover Designs

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img918Just when you think you have seen all the different work of the excellent designer George Giusti, namely his record album covers and book cover designs, another one comes along somehow.

I can’t think of a better design than on the book cover of The Organization Man by William H. Whyte, Jr. In particular, it to shows graphic design based on the “Swiss Grid”. This 1956 book cover by George Giusti (1908-1990) a Swiss/Italian designer who moved to the United States before World War II. George Giusti seems to have had a natural knack for clean design and always on the Avant garde forefront with the image.

Perhaps, it is the reason why he must have had a natural affinity for science illustrations and his work for Geigy. Some good examples of this type of cover illustration can be found here on Shawn Hazen’s blog site Book Worship. Work for Westinghouse and Holiday Magazine is nicely illustrated on this site, Thinkingform. Back to the book shown below.

img919William H. Whyte, Jr. wrote a bestselling book in 1956 shown here in the Doubleday Anchor Edition of the same year. The book index gives us some clues as to what is in store.

img920img921The book goes counter to the then relatively new ideas about man’s role in the Corporate American business structure, and advocates a bigger role for the individual decision making process. The ideas in and the timing of that publication give rise to many theories in the social sciences which relate to working, economics and the greater place of men in society as a whole.

From the graphic design aspect it is interesting to note that the hardcover edition came out with a totally different design featuring a punch card on the cover.

organization man 1956The punch card was more or less an early IBM invention (Hollerith) and allowed the expansion of “government control” in society and business, in various fields, such as, the taking of a census, or the organization of a railroad schedule, for example. Task and time were now reduced to “input” on a machine.

This was put to good use, incidentally, by various Dictator regimes, like the German Nazi regime, which made extensive use of the IBM developed tabulating machines under license to transport millions efficiently to their death camps throughout Europe. The war years contributed very successful to IBM’s bottom line. Note the IBM supplied punch card on the cover of the book, IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black.

Clipboard IBM coverWhat could be next coming out of the IBM coffers of health and death? A good organization man will “execute” orders willingly and labor for the greater good of the organization.

George Giusti also illustrated a host of other things, like the interesting cover design on the book, The War of the Worlds and the Time Machine by H. G. Wells shown below for a 1961 Dolphin book. The artist Bill Meeks (which I have not been able to trace with certainty) supplied the drawing. The title of this book seems prophetically related to the first book in our post even though it is just fiction.

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