VINTAGE CLASSICS GRAHAM GREENE
Graham Greene was born on this day in 1904. To celebrate, we are pleased to share our Vintage Greene series in its entirety. A total of 29 covers were created with photographer Tim Hetherington, beginning back in 2004 to coincide with Greene’s centenary and concluding this year with Reflections and Collected Essays.
Next year sees the release a new look for classic crime author, and Queen of crime-writings Golden Age, Margery Allingham.
With a series of classic 1930/40s murder mystery stories, the brief was to rejacket the books with a colourful and bold new approach, adding a hint of nostalgia.
The series was designed and illustrated in house.
THE STRANGE LIBRARY - Haruki Murakami
‘All I did was go to the library
to borrow some books’
The Strange Library is a unique and sinister tale of a boy who goes to a library to borrow a book and then a surreal nightmare ensues. I wanted to evoke a distorted nostalgia for the library, its corridors and its dusty shelves.
During my design process I became inspired by the visual ephemera of libraries, such as date stamps and issue cards. I have used an actual library pocket on the outside of the first edition – fans who queued overnight at Haruki Murakami’s public signing at Waterstones Piccadilly and were given a unique teaser library card will be able to insert this into the pocket. I designed the cover with a disturbing colour combination to reflect the pervading tone of malice within the novel: a violent magenta background, the fading office blue of the library pocket and the acid yellow label.
The text of The Strange Library is fully illustrated throughout, with a variety of drawings, images, illustrations, and photographs; and they are taken from a wealth of printed sources; from a 1950s cookery book to Birds of the British Islands, 1907, a book on popular astronomy from 1894 to a Victorian book on Locks and keys. The majority of the illustrations were sourced from old books I found in the London Library. Founded in the 1840’s, the library is a labyrinth crammed to the ceiling with treasures on seemingly every subject. The metal stacks date from 1890s and are a marvel of architecture, steel grille floors allowing you to see to other floors above and below. Here are housed the books in Science and Miscellaneous, our favourite sections for the sort of research we did.
My picture researcher and I became literally lost in its corridors! There was a great sense of achievement when we pulled out a hidden gem that matched a particular line or part of Murakami’s text. I was interested in how the style of illustration plates and printing techniques evoked a certain period. My favourite was the almost fluorescent colours found in the plate section of a 1950’s German cookery book. For some pages like that of the caterpillars, I had to carefully amalgamate images from different sources. Only two illustrations had to be commissioned for the book as we just couldn’t find images for doughnuts or a ball and chain.
We enjoyed the feel of the books, the delicate tissue held between plates sections, richly elaborate marbled endpapers, the binding of the books and the yellowed sticky that held odd pages together. Faded, folded, mottled and creased even the ‘blank’ pages were of aesthetic interest.
The Strange Library will be published in hardback with specially designed text and illustrations throughout on 2 December 2014, £12.99, translated into English from the Japanese by Ted Goossen. An ebook edition will also be available.
A BUZZ IN THE MEADOW - Dave Goulson
Another call to arms for nature lovers everywhere, Dave Goulson’s follow up to A Sting in the Tale tells the story of not only bumblebees, but other creatures too. From learning about the importance of houseflies and why butterflies have spots on their wings, to dragonfly sex, bedbugs and wasps.
For the cover we commissioned twelve new paintings by the wonderful Louise Bird whose work on A Sting in the Tale effortlessly portrayed Dave Goulson’s account of a lifetime studying bumblebees.
THE ROOM - Jonas Karlsson
The Room is a short, sharp and fiendish fable in the tradition of Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett. It is a quirky and unsettling tale about a compulsive bureaucrat, an open plan office and a secret room that only he can can see, apparently…
If you have ever toiled in an office, felt like the world was against you or questioned the nature of reality then this is the novel for you.
We loved the concept of the US cover (bottom left), designed by Christopher Brand with photography by George Baier. However for our edition we wanted to further explore the novel’s theme of reality versus imagination. We asked illustrator Harry Malt to create a stark and intriguing scene around the figure, with Bjorn’s vision of ‘the room’ mirrored on the back of the jacket. The text is also wonderfully illustrated throughout.
Published by Chatto & Windus in January.
SAPIENS - Yuval Noah Harari
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.
This gripping and compelling read covers the whole history of humanity in ways you wouldnt have thought. It challenges everything we thought we knew about being human, our thoughts, our actions, our power and our future.
The thumb print on the cover is a simple yet potent symbol of mankind and also stongly denotes each persons individuality. The thumb print also reminds us of the earliest marks of man that have come down to us, handprints on the walls of caves left by hunter-gathereers.
Sapiens is published by Harvill Secker on 3rd September
THE STRANGE LIBRARY - Haruki Murakami
'All I did was go to the library to borrow some books'.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami will be published in hardback by Harvill Secker with specially designed text and illustrations throughout on 2nd December 2014.
Last Saturday hundreds of fans queued overnight to attend a public signing by Murakami at Waterstones Piccadilly. They were given an early teaser for The Strange Library that had been designed in the form of an old-fashioned library card. It very subtly featured the publication date and #strangelibrary.
This uniquely dark tale is suggested on the cover through its disturbing colour combinations; the violent magenta background, the fading office blue of the library pocket and the acid yellow label. More details on the fully illustrated spreads will follow at a later date.
MURAKAMI POSTER COMPETITION - Winners
A huge thank you to everyone who entered our competition celebrating the arrival of Haruki Murakami.
Drawn randomly from over 1000 entries, below is a list our our lucky winners and we’ll be in touch shortly to discuss delivery of your prize!
THE FOUR BOOKS - Yan Lianke
This is a courageous book from one of China’s most important writers.
Set in Zone 99 of a Labour Camp during China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, the book follows a group of imprisoned intellectuals undergoing re-education. Monitoring this opressive regime is a preadolescent boy known as the Child.
Faced with harvesting impossible quotas of wheat, and encouraged to inform on the obedience of others, the inmates are rewarded with paper rosettes in the form of small red blossoms, medium red blossoms and pentagonal stars.
The design centres around the motif of four. This could suggest the four inmates – musician, author, scholar and theologian – or how the book divides into four narratives, echoing the four texts of Confucianism and the four Gospels of the New Testament. It also references the seemingly innocent and playful paper blossoms and how they conceal a darker and more disturbing story.
The Four Books is published by Chatto and Windus in March 2015.
THE CHILDREN ACT - Ian McEwan
The cover for this book features a detail from Magnum photographer Gilles Peress. The young man/boy in the photograph is leaping over a puddle. He is slightly blured, in motion, his arms up at an angle to help him over the puddle. One foot, is the only point of contact with his reflection. In the full photograph he is in front of flats, to work with the content of the book the figure needed to be isolated, becoming an iconic image when small. It seems to work so well on so many levels. With reference to the text, it reminds you both of the Siamese Twins and of Adam. And it of course works so well with the title.
Published by Jonathan Cape on 2nd September
MURAKAMI POSTER COMPETITION
To celebrate the arrival of Haruki Murakami for Saturday’s London signing at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, we’re giving away ten beautiful posters for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
To be in with a chance just Reblog this post and we’ll pick 10 lucky winners out of the hat.
The competition closes on Monday 1st September.
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com 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.