The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Wide-Eyed Horror


Is it just me, or is Penguin raising the bar for book cover design right now?

Inspired by the two-tone crime covers produced by Romek Marber for Penguin in the 60s, senior designer Coralie Bickford-Smith  has created some remarkable designs for 10 gothic horror novels – including books by Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and M. R. James –  to be released by Penguin in their Red Classics series on October 2nd.

In this video from the Penguin Blog, Coralie discusses the genesis of the covers:

The whole set can be seen on the Penguin Blog.


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  1. I love the look of the yellow/blue offset. Also the fact that they were so hands-on to make, and weren’t just whipped up in photoshop. Nice.

  2. I really liked that the designer used light-sensitive paper rather than photoshop too – the covers look like they have a great tactile quality.

    The modern type is nice as well. It must have been really tempting to go with something ‘Gothic’…

    Penguin are definitely “nailing it”!

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