Tuesday, December 12, 2006

new directions...







alvin lustig's most famous works were probably his book covers for new directions. in 1947, the gotham book mart press published a small catalog called bookjackets by alvin lustig for new directions, with statements by james laughlin & alvin lustig. the small spiral bound book is insanely rare, and the cover is one of my favorite of lustig's designs... simple colors and forms, clearly derived from arp's cut outs, with a little more sophistication.

for the new classic's series, lustig devised a series of symbols that he felt "would quickly summarize the spirit of each book". with romance novels or westerns this might not be so tough; but with authors like baudelaire, djuna barnes, franz kafka, and others, choosing a few symbols to express the spirit of such complex literary works seems no easy task. of course, lustig was up to the challenge.

as new directions publisher james laughton says in the intro: "there's nothing in the book world today that compares to them for color, for variety, for life, for appeal to the intelligence, again and again i find myself lining the books up just to gloat over them...lustig's beautiful designs are helping to make a mass audience aware of high quality reading..."

i think the reproductions in the catalog are actually extra printed proofs of the jackets, trimmed and bound. they feel like the same inks and papers as the original jackets.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the triangle Skull on the book cover ... such a simple change in the skull form makes it stand out like a becon!

9:03 AM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

marvelous, thanx!

i've only ever seena few of those

1:42 PM  
Blogger sroden said...

you should definitely check out www.alvinlustig.org; they have a lot of these pictured along with a ton of his work... also stay tuned because in the next few days i'll be posting bits of a few other gems of his work.

2:19 PM  
Blogger ZubZub said...

Beautiful...love the Baudelaire especially.

1:13 AM  

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