Press Release - Penguin Library wallpaper
04 January 2013
Introducing PENGUIN LIBRARY wallpaper, produced with the kind permission of Penguin.
Penguin is synonymous with beautiful design and has played an important role in the development of graphic design, typography and illustration for over 75 years. Its iconic triband book jacket has ingrained itself in public design consciousness, recognised around the world from London and New York to Beijing and Rio. This design heritage dates back to the origins of the company, when its founder Allen Lane launched the first ten paperbacks in 1935. They broke the mould in a
number of ways. First, they were designed for the masses and priced at 6d, the price of a packet of cigarettes. Second, they were quality titles, previously unobtainable unless you had significant money to spend or a library card. Third,
they were designed and packaged attractively in order to encourage not just traditional bookshops, but also railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores, to display them.
The Penguin tri-band design was the work of Edward Young, a 21 year-old office junior who went on to become the company’s first Production Manager, who was also dispatched to London zoo to sketch a penguin for the now well-recognised and much-loved logo. The template he created consisted of three horizontal stripes: upper and lower bands colourcoded by genre (orange for fiction, blue for biography, green for crime, cerise for travel and adventure, for example) and a central white panel containing the author and, of course, they came printed with the iconic Penguin logo. The distinctive simplicity was a radical departure from the more ornate approach of its competitors and spoke volumes about the new company.
This classic tri-band book cover design subtly changed in its early years. The Penguin imprint, initially Bodoni Ultra Bold, was substituted with Gill Sans typeface and the Penguin logo was re-drawn several times, gently evolving from the original life-like penguin seen on the Ariel cover, becoming a dancing penguin as shown on A Room of One’s Own, to the affable penguin featured on Brighton Rock which is similar to that used today. Two non-fiction titles Civilisation and Explosives are shown on the wallpaper, identified by the famous Pelican imprint logo and pale blue covers.
The PENGUIN LIBRARY wallpaper is a collage of front covers of those iconic early paperbacks from this famous publishing house and includes Ariel, the very first Penguin paperback published in 1935. The book covers were chosen for their diversity of colour and to illustrate the breadth of Penguin’s publishing backlist. Great care was taken in the design to truly represent the original paperbacks in all their, sometimes well-read and a little worn, glory. The resulting PENGUIN LIBRARY wallpaper is a glorious colourful ‘conversational piece’ which we hope will be received with as much affection as the books themselves.
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