In our recent interview with Spin’s Tony Brook he spoke about the shift in his design approach towards a fixation on conceptual work – “I wanted reasons, I wanted intelligent thought.” Tony of course is one of the best in the business with a great deal of experience; it’s less common to see this same concept-driven lust in young designers, particularly those still learning their craft at university.
But student Shannon Lea’s self-initiated redesign of three Philip Larkin titles is the perfect marriage of a strong idea and a faultless execution. The poet famously disliked children, or rather felt he had no need for them. “I feel the only thing you can do about life is to preserve it,” he wrote to his mistress Monica Jones, “by art if you’re an artist, by children if you’re not.”
So seeing as Larkin viewed his work as his descendants in this way, Shannon has created covers that resemble a family tree. She has also added a transparent page before each poem, so that students can annotate or doodle to their hearts’ content without defacing the actual manuscript. These pages can be removed once they have served their purpose, a smart nod to the reality of our relationship with books.