In 2006, French publisher Laure Leroy commissioned British designer David Pearson (whose “Great Ideas” series for Penguin Books had just achieved tremendous commercial and critical success) to revamp the covers of her main imprint, Éditions Zulma. Breaking with the all-type approach that had brought him such a sudden fame, Pearson decided instead to explore the visual power of colour and pattern. Author’s name and title are neatly grouped together inside a triangular, label-like panel. All-caps Futura is used for the author’s name and the book’s title is in Adobe Caslon Italic (but with initials in roman, Aldus Manutius-style).
Since Pearson took over, Zulma has seen its sales and influence within the French publishing industry rise dramatically: this fall, Marcus Malte’s novel Le Garçon was awarded one of the most prestigious French literary prizes, Prix Fémina. In 2008, another Zulma author, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, had already received the Prix Médicis for his novel Là où les tigres sont chez eux.
Very nice. For those who don’t know, this kind of layout was very popular for editions of things like poetry chapbooks in the 1930s and into the 1950s (then using ornaments, of course, so a lot more limited). This Penguin paperback from 1950 by Stephen Russ is a good example of the style. The patterns here are really lovely – keeping the idea of geometry but adding a lot more freedom and colour.
I also love the detail of the upright caps adding a bit of upright inscriptional feel to balance the cursive. Somehow it makes for a much better match with the Futura capitals.
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