Students are attracted to design in the first place because they see the world in a different way, slightly askew. They are weird. Most of them have heard this many times in their lives-and it was not intended as a compliment. But Weird is good; it’s an anomaly and it’s unique. I teach on the simple premise that the things that made you weird as a kid make you great as an adult-but only if you pay attention to them. If you look at any “successful” person, they are probably being paid to play out the goofiness or athleticism or nerdiness or curiosity they already possessed as a child. Unfortunately for most people, somewhere along the road their weirdness was taught out of them or, worse, shamed out of them. Crushed by the need to “fit in,” they left their quirks and special powers behind. But it is our flaws that make us interesting. We need to not only hang on to them, but hone them. I don’t try to make my students “Designers.” I want to make them “free-er.” It’s my job to teach them to look inside, to covet their weirdness, to help them direct it and take the rough edges off-or even add a few new ones. It’s my job to help students understand and cultivate their individuality and innate weirdness and turn them into a powerful tool. Weird is good, but only if we put it in your work.
Penguin’s graphic design played a large part in the company’s success. Unlike other publishers, whose covers emphasized the title and author of the book, Penguin emphasized the brand. The covers contained simple, clean fonts, color-coding (orange for fiction, dark blue for biography) and that cute, recognizable bird. The look helped gain headlines. The Sunday Referee declared “the production is magnificent” and novelist J. B. Priestley raved about the “perfect marvels of beauty and cheapness.”
So often when you’re thinking of a book, you remember its cover. It’s a way of drawing people through the visual into reading.