A comprehensive visual history of the human skull is surely an entire Steven Heller book in the making (I guess we’ll just have to make do with a Wikipedia page for now). But as Faye Dowling’s contemporary compendium The Book of Skulls1 makes plain, what was once taboo — terrifying even — has become a pop culture phenomenon. Images of skulls now appear in art, design, fashion, and illustration. Apparently we like to be reminded we are all going to die. Even book covers are not immune. Here are a few recent examples that caught my eye.:
Love it or hate it, Shepard Fairey’s bold graphic style with its limited colour-palette and appropriated pop culture imagery, is immediately recognizable and much-imitated.
In this interesting short film by Brett Novak, the Los Angeles-based artist talks openly about his work, influences, and, yes, the Obama ‘Hope’ poster:
An exhibition of new work by Fairey is currently on display – alongside prints by the artist Jasper Johns – at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in the Fairey’s home town of Charleston, South Carolina.
Working with art director Richard Bravery, illustrator Luke Pearson has created new covers for Kyril Bonfiglioli’s Charlie Mortdecai novels published by Penguin. You can read more about the process at Creative Review.
This is not Luke’s first cover for Penguin. He also provided artwork for their recent reissue of Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (also AD’ed by Richard Bravery):
You can read my 2013 Q & A with Luke here. (And if you haven’t picked up a copy of Luke’s new Hilda book, you really should you know!)
Originally designed for The Times in 1931, Times New Roman is now virtually ubiquitous – a default most people don’t even think about. In this lovely looking film – part of a series of beautifully produced short films about the history Times and Sunday Times newspapers – designers and typographers re-evaluate the font and its legacy.
Well, this seems to have become a regular thing doesn’t it? I have to confess that I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what covers to include in these monthly posts, only that they’re recent and I like them. It’s even harder to decide what to leave out. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this month’s selection. Leave your thoughts in the comments…