If you’ve read any books in the last few years you’ll undoubtedly have come across the impressive design skills of Peter Mendelsund, associate art director at Knopf and Pantheon books. He’s designed the covers for hundreds of literature’s most high profile works, modern and classic, from Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster trilogy to Tolstoy’s War And Peace. Peter’s greatest skill lies in his ability to turn his hand to any literary work, extracting the core of the subject and representing it graphically and with thoroughly considered intent – he seems never to produce a jacket without having first digested the entirety of the work’s subject and its social and historical contexts.
Rather wonderfully he also keeps an incredibly detailed blog in which he chronicles the research and thought processes behind his work, allowing bibliophiles and aesthetes alike the chance to get under the skin of their favourite printed works. Indicative of his regular, high quality content is this discussion of the numerous cover designs for Nabokov’s infamous Lolita in which he debates the role of the book jacket designer in their interpretation and presentation of a literary work – he then went on to redesign the cover of Lolita with these considerations in mind. Pure process porn.
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