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img996This post is a virtual exhibition on American book cover and dust jacket illustration from our own archives.The criteria and format which can be used for this type of post are many, ours are utterly subjective: The illustrative quality of the cover.

Book covers are also called dust jackets, but the two are not necessarily the same. Sometimes the book’s topic and the cover illustration relate to one another, both are an integral part of the book today. This was not always the case and in many instances, well into the middle of the last century, some publishers and illustrators thought of the book dust jacket as a nuisance. The old axiom “clothes make the man” applies very much in the world of books, never solely judge a book by its cover, and yet we do this consciously or utterly subjectively.

The book paper dust jacket has been around since the early 1900’s and early book paper jackets were not illustrated with anything but a title and author’s name, as a rule. A book covering is generally thought of as the publisher’s cloth or other material such as leather, bound over boards and beyond the scope of this post.

Over the last five decennia, cost effective paperbacks have become far more important to the trade and to the public at large than the traditionally more expensive hard bound book with its removable dust jacket, although some of you might disagree with this statement.

All art and illustration is subjective and so is my choice for the material used from our own collection. Many of the artists and graphic designers shown here contributed enormously to the prevailing image conscious “designed culture” in society at large of the last five or six decades.

Freedom of the type of creative  illustration which can be used,freedom from imposed “packaged design” rules and respect for the artist and his work come through in flavoring the “thought container”. All colors and type will do!

Where I thought it necessary, you will see both the back and the front covers. Of all paperback series, the one that perhaps is the most significant, in my opinion, is also the least known for a number of reasons. These  paperbacks are the books which make up the Time Reading Program, published from 1962 through 1966, available through a book club buying program. The well illustrated covers won a number of awards, and were done by the best illustrators in the business. Illustrating them in a blog is not easy as they are plastic, and one of the drawbacks is that you cannot fold them flat and show both sides without busting the binding. Most of the used copies you find have not been read for that reason. A number of editors and art directors were in charge at Time Life over this 4 year period. Technically the size and format stays the same over this entire period, but some volumes have different type and type sizes, others have an author’s photo inside or are illustrated, some have neither.

Looking at the spines in the photo at the top of the post, we notice that all covers are wrapped around, and there is no uniformity with respect to the typeface, of title placing, or Time name on the spine. This is a tribute to the diversity of the type of books published and to the individual freedom allowed each book designer and illustrator. There are a few good websites each highlighting different aspects of the series with different criteria. Our primary objective in this post is to show the great quality of the graphic design.

img994img995Shown above, The Design of Pleasure 1966 Designer Ladislav Svatos. A superb cover design by the Swiss born artist Etienne Delessert. Signed in the illustration on the back cover.

Editor’s preface, introduction by Phyllis McGinley. Typeface used is Perpetua, designed by Eric Gill. Author Walter Kerr’s photograph is present.

img9681965 Designer Brigitte Hanf, cover illustration by Paul Hogarth with his signature on front cover. Title, The Horse’s Mouth printed in green ink on title page. Editor’s Preface, new introduction by Elizabeth Lawrence. Typeface used is Baskerville. Author Joyce Gary’s photograph is present.

img969img970A typical case, Animal Farm by George Orwell where I would have loved to showcase the entire cover, and give full view of this pig’s behind. The book and author, I hope, needs no further introduction. Laid in and shown below is a paper slip which came with the book. I am not sure if all titles in the series had a similar slip issued.

1965 Book design Ladislav Svatos, cover illustration by Joseph Low with his signature present on the back cover. Editor’s Preface, new introduction by Malcolm Muggeridge. Inside illustrations by Joy Batchelor and John Halas. Typeface used Caledonia Light designed in 1938 by William Addison Dwiggins. A photograph of George Orwell done by V. Richards is present.

img971img972In my opinion, this is the finest illustration of Animal Farm I have seen. On the work of Joseph Low we have done an earlier post showing this fabulous record cover.

img973Attending Marvels a Patagonian Journal – 1965 Book design Brigitte Hanf, cover illustration by Cliff Condak, Editor’s Preface, a new introduction by Laurence M. Gould. A photograph of the author George Gaylord Simpson is present. The type face is Times Roman. The slip shown below is laid in.

img974img975Clifford Ara Condak (1930-1985) began attending art classes at Pratt Institute and the Museum of Modern Art School while still in high school. Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Condak won two art scholarships, and was a graduate of the Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences of the State University of New York, having majored in advertising art.

In 1958, after a year’s leave for further study in Florence, Italy, he began his freelance career. His first illustrations were done for Gentleman’s Quarterly and Nugget magazine, followed by work for Escapade, Esquire, Seventeen, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, New American Library, Ballantine Books, and various advertisers.

For several years, Condak exhibited his paintings and had numerous one-man shows. He also taught at the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, and Parsons School of Design.

From: Reed, Walt and Society of Illustrators. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. [3rd] ed. New York: The Society of Illustrators: Distributed by Watson-Guptill, 2001. Page 370

Cliff Condak also illustrated numerous record album covers.

img976Stalingrad by Theodor Plievier, a 1966 Book designed by Ladislav Svalos, cover illustration by Martin Rosenzweig, signed on the back cover. Editor’s Preface, author’s portrait, new introduction by Charles W. Thayer. Typeface Times Roman. Rosenzweig also illustrated the RTP 1964 edition of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.

img963img964Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov, Book design(?), cover illustration was by Louis Di Valentin, with a new introduction by Nabokov for this edition of his classic 1947 unloved novel. The typeface used is Janson. Slip shown below was laid in.

img965There is no text to the back of this editor’s slip.

img991img992Watchers at the Pond by Franklin Russell, 1966 Book design was by Ladislas Svatos. The cover illustration was by Diane and Leo Dillon, also present were the Editor’s Preface, and author Franklin Russell’s photograph. The typeface used is Century Expended.

The illustrator couple are best known for their fabulous science fiction designs, but they also illustrated over fifty children’s books , as well as, record covers. Shown below is the cover and an image of the first book, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema that won them their first Caldecott Medal in 1976. Subsequently they would also win the Medal in 1977, the only illustrators to ever win two consecutive medals.img605 img606Back to the RTP books.

img993Man and the Living World by Karl von Frisch a 1965 Book designed by Brigitte Hanf.

Cover illustrated by Jerome Snyder, with an Editor’s Preface and an author’s photograph. The typeface used was Century Expended. This English translation of a German classic, first published in 1949, is by Elsa B. Lowenstein. The world famous scientist (of United Nations fame), Rene Dubos, wrote the new introduction. This volume is illustrated with drawings by Henri A. Fluchere.

img977A Coffin for King Charles by C. V. Wedgwood, Book design was by Ladislas Svatos, cover illustration by Seymour Chwast. Editor’s preface, author photograph present, the typeface used was Old Style.

img966img967The Doctor and the Devils by Dylan Thomas, 1964 book designed by Lore Levenberg, the cover illustration was a collage by the very famous Alexey Brodovitch, icon of American graphic Design, title page printed in red ink. A new introduction was done by John Ormond after the editor’s preface. No author photograph was present and the typeface used was Baskerville. The author Dylan Thomas needs no further introduction, but if you must, this is it.

The last book in this post but not the least is When the Cheering Stopped by Gene Smith.

img979This 1966 Book was designed by Ladislas Svalos with the cover illustrated by who else? George Salter with his fine script closes this post. Editor’s preface and an introduction by Allan Nevins. The typeface used is Highland. With an author’s photograph and several other black and white photos through out the book.

More on George Salter and some of his fine book covers in a future post as well as back here.