Penguin’s Great Ideas = great design 31 Aug 2006
15 comments Latest by anseljh
With publishing companies shaking in their boots over digital publishing, this is a great example of how a company can differentiate by using a product’s “realness.” These are classic books that look classic. The kind you want to keep on your shelf for years to come. A PDF can’t compete with that.
New ways to judge books by their covers discusses the Penguin books and why more publishers may start looking to design as a differentiator.
It began in 2004 with Great Ideas, a collection of political and philosophical polemics. The project had a small budget and its design was entrusted to a recent graduate, David Pearson. His brief was to produce a coherent series of paperbacks selling for 3.99 each. Dressing each cover with a typographic style typical of the time and spirit of the text, Pearson limited printing to two colors - black and burgundy - on uncoated paper, leaving him with enough money for a few decorative details. Great Ideas won numerous design awards, and Penguin sold two million books. “Some were bought by people who wanted accessible versions of the text, and some by people who liked the packaging,” says Stoddart.
You can also read more about the Great Ideas design at Eye Magazine’s “Type-only Penguins sell a million” shock.