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Monday, March 02, 2009

The New York Trilogy

Design by Gray 318

This not-yet-published cover for Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy is such a refreshing take, and not simply because it avoids all-too-predictable photos of iconic New York buildings or the skyline, already done any number of times.

When pure geometric designs works, boy, does it ever work. (Helen Yentus' Camus redesigns are great recent examples of this). Sure, these are buildings, but they're buildings whose abstraction and oblique orientation speak directly to the identity-twisting stories Auster is telling. They say a lot more than a photo of the Empire State Building flipped upside-down ever could.

One last thing: check out the copy on the Faber & Faber site, which calls The New York Trilogy "gripping for its starkness" and "bold (and) arresting." We could say the same things about this design, yes?


I lied: another last thing: Art Spiegelman's cover for the Penguin Deluxe Classics Edition, 'cause I know someone's going to bring it up...

12 comments:

Tropolist said...

Everyone would like the penguin cover if it stood on its own. It's unfortunate for Spiegelman that his solid design will be compared to the stark powerhouse that is the F&F design.

Nick said...

It is clearly much better than a skyscraper photo... but I don't like the greenish. Taste and colors...
I love so much Helen Yentus'Camus covers that each time I fall upon one I have to fight with my inner soul not to buy it... I read French.

I own a Penguin Deluxe classics and love it.

Dr. Platypus said...

the true power of Camus only comes across in English, so buy one.

birdbrainbb.net said...

I like both of them for different reasons, but my favorite is definitely the second. I love bright colors.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

that first one breathes of Paul Rand.

mike said...

I'm glad the designer avoided the NYC skyline thing, but honestly the Faber cover just bores me... as do dull-as-death Penguin (non-classics) covers for Auster's backlist.

Ferret said...

It might take the somewhat obvious route, but the recent Folio edition of the New York Trilogy (by Tom Burns) is so beautifully done that it seems rather churlish to hold that against it:

http://www.vam.ac.uk/activ_events/events/illustration_awards/publishedcat/2008-book/index.php?section=2&postIndex=127&postSearch=&category=&start=120&show=12

The illustrations inside are stunning too.

Joseph said...

Ferret: Thanks for that link. And here's the link to all of the recent Victoria & Albert winners: http://www.vam.ac.uk/activ_events/events/illustration_awards/publishedcat/2008-book/index.php

T-Bone said...

the first one is way too cool… instant classic.

Wendy said...

This time I preferred the penguin one. The yellow one dazzled me.


Wendy
http://wendyvoldemort.blogspot.com/

Kimberly Glyder said...

The first one is great...simple and iconic. Can't beat the yellow and gray combo either.

mybiz said...

I prefer also the penguin one.