Monday, June 08, 2009

when book covers speak...

monsieurteste cover by paul de harak

sometimes an image or a design gets under your skin and you can't figure out why and you can't let go of it, and it simply has its way with you.

i've been staring at this cover of paul valery's mousier teste for ages, and specifically for the design of the cover by rudolph de harak. there is something unspeakable about the way it continually nags for my eye attention. de harak did hundreds of cover designs for mcgraw hill (he also did their logo), many of the covers stellar, but none that work their magic on me as deeply as this one.

in some strange way i believe the image captures valery's text perfectly in its near ordinariness and feeling slightly off or uncanny at the same time.

de harak was a very wonderful designer, who worked not only with flat surfaces but also exhibition design, signage and even some parts of expo 67. there's a great oral history of with him here, coincidentally recorded on my birthday in 2000.

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