When you hit upon a memorable book title—and Joseph Conrad certainly did that way back in 1899—the book’s cover design is rightfully expected to give the title (and the story it encapsulates) equally memorable visual expression. The dozens of book cover designers of Conrad’s classic—and devastatingly bleak—novel have mostly taken a woefully literal approach, presenting various tableaux of generic landscapes and jungle scenes to illustrate the book’s brutal Congolese setting.
British artist Fiona Banner’s Heart of Darkness, a reinterpretation of Conrad’s story as a contemporary photographic essay, brings a modernist designer’s austere sensibility to the publication’s cover design, and, quite simply, gets to the heart of the matter. Seems Banner, an artist celebrated for her text-based compositions, knows that words this eloquent and powerful deserve to stand alone—in the dark.
The Canadian writer, illustrator and former competitive swimmer, Leanne Shapton, is one of those rare creatures on whom the gods have bestowed three gifts. Her sports memoir entitled Swimming Studies, comes with a bonus: a series of highly abstract, monochromatic paintings of swimming pools. Good value.
A memorable line from Kayak Morning, Roger Rosenblatt’s meditation on grief.
Okay, I’ll admit I had to look up the definition of obliquity when I saw this striking cover design by Ben Wiseman.
Forgive a brief foray into sentiment, via Reece Ward, in wishing my husband a happy birthday.
A lovely expanse of green on a strikingly illustrated book cover.
There was simply no way to avoid posting this ridiculously great Pelican cover.
The book designer Peter Mendelsund discusses design, competitions, and the always delicate subject of Nabokov’s Lolita.