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Penguin-Pelican Specials: separated by 75 years

18/11/2013

Penguin is having a senior moment. It is casting back for inspiration and relaunching the ‘Specials’ – books that are produced quickly and on ‘hot’ topics. They use the same colours as in the past, and nod to the design standards set down three-quarters of a century ago. Pity they don’t quite bring it off. Compare and contrast a volume from 1938 (from my collection, by a celebrated printer and engraver) with that of 2013. The title page of the former is a masterpiece with the swimming penguins slowly morphing into a flying fish.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse permalink
    08/12/2013 12:02 am

    An orphan on the first page of the introduction bodes ill for the rest of the book, so does the utterly indifferent title page. If you’re going to pay homage to your own corporate history, it would be nice if you first understood what made the company so great in the first place. An apostolic succession of mercurial but gifted designers. Seems that tradition died a long time ago, alas. Man cannot live on Gill Sans alone.

    • john pitt permalink*
      10/12/2013 8:51 pm

      Quite agree. However, there are may other imprints out there that have taken up where Penguin left off.

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