Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Book Covers for Penguin Classics
By Maria Popova
Few book designers have left a more singular mark on literature than Coralie Bickford-Smith. Her signature patterns for Penguin breathe new life into some of humanity’s greatest classics. Somewhere between Victorian wallpaper and modernist upholstery, her intricate yet minimalist designs emanate a kind of obsessive charm that makes one love the books they grace even more.
The color choices and graphic elements offer a wink with subtle play on elements from the book’s plot or setting to those who would wink back, from the glamorous chandelier of The Great Expectations to scissors of Little Women.
Bickford-Smith reflects on her work:
The cover is there to serve the content, so the content has to be taken into consideration. How and to what extent the content is represented on the cover varies of course — sometimes it will be quite literal, other times more oblique, or even just a suggestion of mood and tone.
But perhaps most stunning of all is Bickford-Smith’s work on Penguin’s recently released F. Scott Fitzgerald series, from The Great Gatsby to Flappers and Philosophers: The Collected Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald and everything in between.
A few favorites:
- The Great Expectations
- Sense and Sensibility
- Little Women
- Oliver Twist
- The Hound of the Baskervilles
- The Woman in White
- Pride and Prejudice
- Jane Eyre
The complete collection can conveniently be found right here.
So if you’re looking for a thoughtful and elegant gift that will mesmerize the design-loving literary fiend in your life, look no further than Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Penguin classics.
Published November 22, 2010