Given that e-readers have no use for cover illustrations, how will books of the future be displayed?
This article titled “Hold the front page: cover art is going out of fashion” was written by James Bridle, for The Observer on Saturday 22nd September 2012 23.05 UTC
Leaf through a copy of Phil Baines’s Penguin by Design and you’ll see the evolution of almost 80 years of book covers. From the stark formalism of Edward Young’s horizontal orange bands (admittedly offset by his cheeky logo), through German typographer Jan Tschichold’s even starker redesign of the late 1940s, to Germano Facetti and Romek Marber’s 1960s grids, and a host of visual experiments in the Pelican, Penguin Specials and Classics ranges, Penguin’s covers stood for many things besides the brand itself: for quality in literature; for a range of genres; for mood, atmosphere and style. And while Penguin’s succession of superstar art directors may have been masters of the form, the cover has remained of central importance in publishing and bookselling for all involved, not least authors, up to the present day – but not, perhaps, for much longer.