The Penguin Great Ideas series is as much about the packaging and cover design as the contents themselves. These 100 slim volumes (divided into five colour-coded collections of 20) compile some of the most important words ever written or spoken. From speeches and essays to excerpts from larger works, each is selected for having “changed the world”.
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Cover designer David Pearson – with several other talented artists in tow – was clearly allowed to go nuts here. Penguin seems to have given him complete creative control, allowing every design to be its own work of art.
Editor Simon Winder has a great little retrospective of the process on The Penguin Blog that’s well worth your time. It really does seem like a labour of love for all concerned.
The below designs are the work of David Pearson unless otherwise noted. Others in this brilliant design team included Alistair Hall, Catherine Dixon, Joe McLaren and Phil Baines. (Have we omitted any names? Please let us know in the comments section below!)
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Writings from the Zen Masters
Design by Alistair Hall
Utopia by Thomas More
On Solitude by Michel de Montaigne
Design by Catherine Dixon
On Power by William Shakespeare
Of the Abuse of Words by John Locke
Consolation in the Face of Death by Samuel Johnson
An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment’ by Immanuel Kant
The Executioner by Joseph de Maistre
Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey
Design by Joe McLaren
The Horrors and Absurdities of Religion by Arthur Schopenhauer
The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
Revolution and War by Karl Marx
The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
On Certain Blindness in Human Beings by William James
Design by Phil Baines
An Apology for Idlers by Robert Louis Stevenson
Of the Dawn of Freedom by W.E.B. Du Bois
Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid by Virginia Woolf
Why Look at Animals? by John Berger
Design by Joe McLaren and David Pearson