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Cover Designs for Penguin Books' 'Great Ideas' series.

Dixon, Catherine (2004) Cover Designs for Penguin Books' 'Great Ideas' series. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Dixon, Catherine

The original series concept and brief for Great Ideas came from Penguin Press art director Jim Stoddart and designer David Pearson. They wanted something akin to title page designs contemporary with the writing of each title and to use a restricted colour palette. Phil Baines and I provided historical guidelines and research references and were commissioned, along with Alistair Hall, to design covers.

Although a strong sense of history is suggested by the covers there is considerable variance in how strictly we observed particular models. My designs balance informed visual research against the demands of arresting jacket design, extracting ideas from past practice in ways relevant to a contemporary audience while trying to avoid the pitfalls of humourless pastiche.

While typographic covers for paperbacks are not new, the starkness of these designs, together with the accuracy of reference and quality of execution sets them apart from anything else in bookshops.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Catherine Dixon

Research Interests

Type design: history and practice
Public lettering
Type classification
Book design
Practice-based research in graphic design
Visualizing information

Current Research

Recent research continues to focus upon the typeform description activities which directed my doctoral work. My PhD - A description framework for typeforms; an applied study - was a pragmatic response to an identified need for a new approach to typeform description, a case argued in Eye no. 18. A main research outcome is a new model for typeform description which challenges previous assumptions in the field. Enquiry also came to explore an appropriate methodology for such research located within my ongoing studio-practice as a designer.

Implementation of the typeform description framework within new environments is a particular research interest: see the description of Times Classic in Eye no. 40 and the publications Type & typography by Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam (Laurence King 2002 in UK, US, German and Spanish editions).

For the purposes of further refining description activities, I continue to pursue earlier research interests in the broadening of existing type and letterform histories, with vernacular traditions providing a particular focus for exploration. Material which has informed articles for Druk, Point, TypoGraphic and publiclettering.org.uk has now been expanded in a book Signs, lettering in the environment, co-authored with Phil Baines (Laurence King, August 2003). Illustrations draw extensively from our ongoing visual documentation of this field. Lisbon is soon to feature in this process of documentation, with a collaborative project currently at planning stage. Experience gained from these various projects is also informing my current involvement in the development of a website intended to enhance accessibility to the public lettering content of the Central Lettering Record, a predominantly photographic archive which forms part of the colleges Museum & Study Collection.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 1 May 2004
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2009 12:56
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2010 14:19
Item ID: 1098
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1098

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