Aug 26, 2014

DITCHLING MUSEUM OF ART + CRAFT

We recently visited the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, which holds an internationally important collection of work by the artists and craftspeople who were drawn to the village. Sculptor, wood engraver, type-designer and letter-cutter Eric Gill, the calligrapher Edward Johnston (responsible for the famous Johnston typeface used for London Underground), the painter David Jones, the printer Hilary Pepler and the weaver Ethel Mairet, were all key members of the community in Ditchling. Their influential and inspirational work is beautifully displayed in this award winning museum, recently refurbished by architect Adam Richards, with a new identity designed by Phil Baines.

Aug 22, 2014
ACTS OF THE ASSASSINS - Richard Beard
A charismatic cult leader is dead. One by one his followers are being assassinated. And in ever more macabre ways: sawn in half, beheaded, skinned alive.

Acts of the Assassins is a genre-bending, historical novel where biblical events happen in the present tense. The challenge for the jacket was to allude to the biblical setting but still tackle it as a modern, literary thriller. The answer came from looking at depictions of the 12 apostles, often presented side by side with their graphic halos, and likening them to human targets, with a hint of the grizzly fates that await them.
Published next year by Harvill Secker

ACTS OF THE ASSASSINS - Richard Beard

A charismatic cult leader is dead. One by one his followers are being assassinated. And in ever more macabre ways: sawn in half, beheaded, skinned alive.

Acts of the Assassins is a genre-bending, historical novel where biblical events happen in the present tense. The challenge for the jacket was to allude to the biblical setting but still tackle it as a modern, literary thriller. The answer came from looking at depictions of the 12 apostles, often presented side by side with their graphic halos, and likening them to human targets, with a hint of the grizzly fates that await them.

Published next year by Harvill Secker

Aug 15, 2014

WATERLOG - Roger Deakin

In 1996 Roger Deakin, the late, great nature writer, set out to swim through the British Isles. From the sea, from rock pools, from rivers and streams, tarns, lakes, lochs, ponds, lidos, swimming pools and spas, from fens, dykes, moats, aqueducts, waterfalls, flooded quarries, even canals, Deakin gains a fascinating perspective on modern Britain.

For the cover we wanted to portray the native swimmer‘s right to roam. Water ripples were painted and cut out of various papers and plastics to create a image that flows across the cover. These were then layered on top of each other, and the idea of starting from the ‘o’ of the title made perfect sense. The swimmer was added as a finishing touch, and you can see an earlier version of the cover above.

Waterlog is out now from Vintage Classics.

Aug 6, 2014

HARUKI MURAKAMI - Sticker Competition

Harvill Secker first editions of Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami include a special sheet of stickers designed by five Japanese illustrators. Tsukuru means ‘to make’ or ‘to build’, and we’re challenging you to use the stickers to create your own personalised cover and enter our competition to win a limited edition screen print of the original front cover signed by Haruki Murakami.

To enter, email a photograph of your sticker design as a 300dpi jpeg to vintagebooks@randomhouse.co.uk by 31st August. All the entries will be added to our special album ‘Sticker Competition’ on the Murakami Facebook Page where you can also vote for your favourites. The book cover with the most ‘likes’ on 31st August will be crowned the winner. A selection of the best entries as voted for by you will also be exhibited at Waterstones Piccadilly in London on 30th August at Haruki Murakami’s public signing.

For some inspiration to get you started, we’ve had a go ourselves and animated the process above. Entries open on 12th August when the Harvill Secker edition is available to buy.

Jul 31, 2014

photo Murakami-is-Coming.gif

MURAKAMI IS COMING

Jul 29, 2014

SHAKESPEARE FOR GROWN-UPS - E. Foley and B. Coates

With lively in-depth chapters on all his key works, Shakespeare for Grown-ups is the only guide to the Scribe you’ll ever need. Covering everything from the historical context of his writing and personal life to his most famous speeches, quotations, phrases and words that have entered general usage today.

We wanted to give the cover a bold, graphic approach, with a recognisable image and a modern twist. The endpapers incorporate some of the Shakespearian phrases we still use today.

And ‘as luck would have it’ you can download the endpapers to print out and use as a poster.

Published by Square Peg on the 4th September

Jul 22, 2014
THUNDERSTRUCK & OTHER STORIES - Elizabeth McCracken
From the author of the beloved novel The Giant’s House comes a beautiful new story collection.
In Elizabeth McCracken's universe, heartache is always interwoven with strange, charmed moments of joy - an unexpected conversation with small children, the gift of a parrot with a bad French accent - that remind us of the wonder and mystery of being alive. 
The author herself asked if we would consider a photograph by Francesca Woodman for her jacket and we were delighted with the idea, and even more delighted when the photographer’s estate kindly granted us permission.
Thunderstruck & Other Stories is published by Jonathan Cape.

THUNDERSTRUCK & OTHER STORIES - Elizabeth McCracken

From the author of the beloved novel The Giant’s House comes a beautiful new story collection.

In Elizabeth McCracken's universe, heartache is always interwoven with strange, charmed moments of joy - an unexpected conversation with small children, the gift of a parrot with a bad French accent - that remind us of the wonder and mystery of being alive.

The author herself asked if we would consider a photograph by Francesca Woodman for her jacket and we were delighted with the idea, and even more delighted when the photographer’s estate kindly granted us permission.

Thunderstruck & Other Stories is published by Jonathan Cape.

Jul 17, 2014

THIS SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN THE PRESENT TENSE by Helle Helle

‘Why does one always read Helle Helle’s books about the seemingly humdrum lives of lonely, sleepless women in the back of beyond with the kind of obsession normally reserved for well-turned thrillers?’ Politiken

By one of the Denmark’s foremost and most popular novelists comes This Should Be Written in the Present Tense.

Abstract seems to work best for this book. Shown here are the various designs that were worked up for the jacket, the design with the coloured stripes being the one finally chosen.

This mesmerizing novel will published in November by Harvill Secker.

Jul 16, 2014
J - Howard Jacobson
J is set in the future, a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited. J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. David Hughes was commissioned to paint a large J with two stripes of red to run across the spine of the letter. The J needed to fill the page. It needed to convey an underlying tension – to be dynamic with the energy seeping into the background. Of course it wasn’t as straight forward as envisaged. Here are David’s comments on painting the J. “After 8 attempts with ink and the like I slipped into my artist’s smock and beret, went over to the easel and with a sweep or two of the brush painted the letter J in black oil paint on lining paper (wallpaper). Voi-la`!  Much better to paint your masterpiece standing up…”
Published by Jonathan Cape in September 2014

J - Howard Jacobson

J is set in the future, a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited.
 
J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.
 
David Hughes was commissioned to paint a large J with two stripes of red to run across the spine of the letter. The J needed to fill the page. It needed to convey an underlying tension – to be dynamic with the energy seeping into the background.
 
Of course it wasn’t as straight forward as envisaged. Here are David’s comments on painting the J.
 
“After 8 attempts with ink and the like I slipped into my artist’s smock and beret, went over to the easel and with a sweep or two of the brush painted the letter J in black oil paint on lining paper (wallpaper). Voi-la`!  Much better to paint your masterpiece standing up…”

Published by Jonathan Cape in September 2014

Jul 14, 2014

VINTAGE CHILDREN’S CLASSICS

It has been two years since we first revealed the series design for our Vintage Children’s Classics. The list continues to grow and we are excited to take this opportunity to share some of our more recent additions.

You can see our first two ‘colour wheels’ here and here.

Jul 11, 2014

ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE – Robert M. PIrsig

Looking to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Robert Pirsig’s modern classic, Vintage are publishing this rejacketed edition in January 2015.

It’s a difficult novel to design a cover for, however the narrator’s intention to find a perception of the world that embraces both ‘rational’ and ‘romantic’ values offered a solution.

The idea was to divide the motorcycle into component parts where each individual panel could be seen as a separate piece of artwork. Originally the artwork was intended to be more abstract, with the earlier shapes flat and simplistic, however redrawing the motorcycle added an organic element that was somewhat lacking. Essentially the ‘rational’ is represented by the motorcycle, technology and the component parts. As for the ‘romantic’? – well, that’s for you to decide!

Jul 10, 2014
THE LAUGHING MONSTERS - Denis Johnson
Sometimes a book you are working on and an exhibition collide. Denis Johnson’s new contemporary spy thriller set in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo needed a great jacket photograph at the same time as the Photographer’s Gallery put on show the Deutshe Borse Prize.  Richard Mosse was one of the four shortlisted artists and the eventual winner. His photographs of the tragedy of war in DRC were shot on discontinued military surveillance film. This registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light creating just the right disorientating effect to encapsulate to perfection all we wanted to express about Denis Johnson’s haunting tale.
The Laughing Monsters is published by Harvill Secker in February 2015

THE LAUGHING MONSTERS - Denis Johnson

Sometimes a book you are working on and an exhibition collide. Denis Johnson’s new contemporary spy thriller set in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo needed a great jacket photograph at the same time as the Photographer’s Gallery put on show the Deutshe Borse PrizeRichard Mosse was one of the four shortlisted artists and the eventual winner. His photographs of the tragedy of war in DRC were shot on discontinued military surveillance film. This registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light creating just the right disorientating effect to encapsulate to perfection all we wanted to express about Denis Johnson’s haunting tale.

The Laughing Monsters is published by Harvill Secker in February 2015

Jul 4, 2014
THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH - Richard Flannagan

Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not.
In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
Hailed as a masterpiece, Richard Flanagan’s epic novel tells the unforgettable story of one man’s reckoning with the truth. 
The scarlet camellia used in the jacket design has a particular significance in the story and also provides a strong and bold visual statement. The colour-printed woodblock engraving is (not inappropriately) by the Japanese botanist Kan’en Iwasaki and was sourced from Science and Society Picture Library.
Published by Chatto and Windus in July.

THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH - Richard Flannagan

Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not.

In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

Hailed as a masterpiece, Richard Flanagan’s epic novel tells the unforgettable story of one man’s reckoning with the truth.

The scarlet camellia used in the jacket design has a particular significance in the story and also provides a strong and bold visual statement. The colour-printed woodblock engraving is (not inappropriately) by the Japanese botanist Kan’en Iwasaki and was sourced from Science and Society Picture Library.

Published by Chatto and Windus in July.

Jul 2, 2014
UKRAINE DIARIES - Andrey Kurkov

Ukraine Diaries is acclaimed writer Andrey Kurkov’s first-hand account of the crisis in his country. Written from his flat in Kiev, just 500 metres away from Independence Square, Kurkov can smell the burning barricades and hear the sounds of grenades and gunshot. 

The photograph on the cover of the book is by Larry Towell. He photographed the events in Maidan Square as they unfolded often using a 35 mm panoramic camera. Towell is from the Magnum cooperative, and he was joined by fellow Magnum photographers Gueorgui Pinkhassov and Jerome Sessini in Ukraine. They worked independently whilst looking out for each other. They had a common goal in recording this moment of social and political upheaval but each photographer’s work has a unique perspective.

Published by Harvill Secker on 31 July 2014

UKRAINE DIARIES - Andrey Kurkov

Ukraine Diaries is acclaimed writer Andrey Kurkov’s first-hand account of the crisis in his country. Written from his flat in Kiev, just 500 metres away from Independence Square, Kurkov can smell the burning barricades and hear the sounds of grenades and gunshot.

The photograph on the cover of the book is by Larry Towell. He photographed the events in Maidan Square as they unfolded often using a 35 mm panoramic camera. Towell is from the Magnum cooperative, and he was joined by fellow Magnum photographers Gueorgui Pinkhassov and Jerome Sessini in Ukraine. They worked independently whilst looking out for each other. They had a common goal in recording this moment of social and political upheaval but each photographer’s work has a unique perspective.

Published by Harvill Secker on 31 July 2014

Jul 1, 2014

MONEY - Felix Martin

'What is money, and how does it work?

The conventional answer is that people once used sugar in the West Indies, tobacco in Virginia, and dried cod in Newfoundland, and that today’s financial universe evolved from barter.

Unfortunately, this story is wrong. And not just wrong, but dangerous.’

When designing the cover we tried a few different routes as can be seen above. Each version whether typographical, illustrative or photographic attempts to challenge our conception of what money actually is.

So what is money?

Published by Vintage Books on 3rd July.

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