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Traditionally, most manuscripts were covered in materials such as vellum or calf lather, but with the mass production of printed books, in the early nineteenth century, publishers began using cloth bound covers for their books. Given the need for transportation of the books from the printing firms to bookstores, publishers had to protect these delicate covers with book jackets. These early versions were simple functional dust jackets, which paid scarce attentions to the advertisement about the contents of the books. Most of these dust jackets were discarded by the bookstores upon receiving the books and thus very few of them have survived.
The Keepsake, published by Longmans of London in 1832 was covered by the earliest known printed dust jacket. Fortunately, the English bibliophile John Carter photographed it, before being lost during transit to Oxford's Bodleian Library in 1952. Up to the last decade of the nineteenth century most of the jackets used typographical designs in buff-colored, with no illustration other than a decorative border around the title, sometimes printed in red. Some carried advertisements for other titles on the back from the same publishers. They usually covered a binding of gilt-stamped moiré silk. Russian artist Aleksander Rodchenko and English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley were among the most influential early book cover designers. Beardsley created artwork for Henry Harland's popular "Yellow Book" series of the 1890s. The earliest protective wrapping in the United States is mentioned on the Atlantic Souvenir for 1829, but the earliest dust-jacket in the United States is probably the one on The Bryant Festival at "The Century", published by Appleton in 1896. The dust jacket for The Shadow of a Dream, by William Dean Howell published in New York in 1890 is the first known dust jacket with illustration.
As Richard Overell, in his magnificent preface to Coloured Cloth Bindings Highlights from the Monash University Rare Books Collection had written;
The publishers of the nineteenth century produced some very beautiful books. At the beginning of the century books were still being produced in much the same way as they had been since Caxton's time. A bookseller would purchase the copy for a book and arrange for it to be printed. He would sell it through his shop either in sheets or bound in paper boards or in a simple leather binding. The purchaser would then have the sheets or the book bound in leather in a style to match the other books in his library.
In the early nineteenth century many revolutionary changes were introduced in the printing and book trades. Publishers assumed a greater role and they were one of the main forces behind the replacement of wooden presses by iron ones. Nineteenth Century American Education is often referred to as "The Common School Period." It was during this century that education went from being completely private to being available to the common masses. The rise of literacy was considered a prerequisite for the advancement of an industrial civilization. As Horace Mann, wrote in 1849
:"Those who have been accustomed to exercise their minds by reading and studying… have greater docility and quickness in applying themselves to work [and] greater appetite, dexterity or ingenuity in comprehending ordinary processes."Book was regarded a the main instrument for advancement of literacy and education, as J. P. Quincy, wrote in 1876;
we may hopefully look for the gradual deliverance of the people from the wiles of the rhetorician and stump orator…. As the varied intelligence which books can supply shall be more and more widely assimilated, the essential elements of every political and social question may be conﬁdently submitted to that instructed common sense upon which the founders of our government relied.The new iron press technology reduced the production costs of books, but the leather bindery was prohibitively expensive. To reduce costs publishers decided to substitute leather with cloth, but finding a durable cloth that could compete with leather was a major barrier. Other technical problem was finding a suitable glue which would not discolor the cloth and at the same time fix it smoothly to the board; and finding a good match between the cloth and the ink so that the cover design of the book can be printed on the cloth. By the early 1820s these problems was partially resolved by pasting a paper label onto the spine or front cover. However, the industry found the suitable variety of cloth by the 1830s so that the cover design could be printed directly on the cloth bindings. Applying metal blocks, which were used to stamp designs on leather in the past, publishers began to transfer the cover design on the cloth bindings in the late 1820's. Cloth cover binding was now as versatile as leather, in blind, ink, and even in elegant gilt.
With the mass production of books the cover design gradually evolved, and the designers used various elements of design and typography to entice the readers to purchase a book. The evolution started with the early elegant leather bindings of the Grolier strap-work like Henry Noel Humphreys' A history of the art of printing moved to Persian designs of books like James Grahame's The Sabbath, then to floral designs of the romance novels such as Annie S Swan's St. Veda's, and finally by the end of the century the art nouveau illustrations of books like Henry Van Dyke 's Fisherman's luck, and some other uncertain things appeared.
|Almanach dedie aux Dames pour l'an 1809, issued Paris: 1809, le Fuel, de Launay.
A full leather binding, gilt-tooled boards and spine.
|Théodore Faullain de Banville, Les princesses, 1875
|James Grahame, The Sabbath : Sabbath walks and other poems / by James Grahame ; illustrated by Birket Foster. (London : James Nisbet, 1857)
Blue cloth with bevelled edges and an elaborate Persian design in gil
|John Davidson, New ballads. (London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1897)
This was a uniform binding of black cloth with a minimalist art nouveau design in gilt of intertwining flowers and birds, with an elegantly composed typography
|Mary Ackworth Orr, Southern stars : a guide to the constellations visible in the southern hemisphere. (London : Gall and Inglis, )
A minimalist gilt design with a delightful typeface
|Charles Dickens, The cricket on the hearth : a fairy tale of home. (London : Chapman & Hall, 1886)
Red cloth with designs in gilt. This is a good example of an exquisitely designed gilt vignettes.
|Frances Stratton, Nan the circus girl. (London : John F. Shaw, [1900?])
|Agnes Giberne, Miss Primrose. (London : John F. Shaw, [1904?]) These are romances in the "Primrose stories" series. They have uniform designs in black, green, yellow, red and gilt.
|The Girl's own annual. (London : The "Leisure Hour" Office, 1880-1950)
This art nouveau style design of vines and espalier lemon trees is influenced by William Morris and is bound in a light green cloth, printed in dark green, brown yellow and gilt.
|Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, James R. Osgood & Co, 1813
First American Edition in brown cloth stamped in black & gilt.
|Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's cabin , (London : Ward, Lock, )
Fawn cloth with design in brown, black, white and gilt, showing Eva and Tom writing a letter to Tom's wife.
|Stanley Jones, The actor and his art : some considerations of the present condition of the stage. (London : Downey & Co., 1899)
A remarkably well executed design with a bold typography and brilliant minimal color composition .
Daniel Mróz (1917-93) was born in Kraków, as one of two sons of Stanisław Mróz, a journalist at "Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny", one of the largest polish newspapers of 1930s. After graduationg from university, Mróz studied for two years at School of Artistic Crafts in Kraków. After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in September 1939, his father was arrested by Nazies for publishing an underground Polish newspaper. In 1940, his mother died, and a year later, his father died at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, allegedly due to pneumonia.
After the war ended, Daniel Mróz illegally crossed the German border in 1945, to find his girlfriend, who had been taken to Ravensbrück. Upon his return to Kraków, he studied from 1946 at Fine Arts Academy where one of the professors, Marian Eile, also the founder and editor in chief of Kraków weekly Przekrój, offered him a job as an illustrator and a graphic designer. Mróz received a diploma in graphic design with honors in 1952. During the 1951-1978 period, Mróz worked as the illustrator and cover designer for "Przekrój", developing his distinct style using humor and polish historical references. At the same time, he worked as a set designer for various theater companies in Poland. He also had several shows of his work in Poland and abroad. However, it was his book cover deigns for authors like Stanislaw Lem and Sławomir Mrożek, as well as Franz Kafka, Jules Verne, Jerzy Szaniawski, Jan Stoberski, Ludwik Jerzy Kern, Stanisław Jerzy Lec that brought him fame.
Daniel Mróz, cover for Liars Underneath the Golden Anchor, 1983
Daniel Mróz, cover for The Cyberiad, 1972
Daniel Mróz, cover for The Elephant, 1957
Daniel Mróz, cover for The Begum's Fortune, 1959
Daniel Mróz, cover for Amazing Stories, 1971
Since it started, in 1935, Penguin adopted a radically new approach to typography and cover design, with the aid of graphic designers like Jan Tschichold in the 1940s and Germano Facetti in the 1960s. The idea, the brainchild of the publisher Allen Lane, was, of course, to produce affordable paperbacks of good books with the artistic cover design that could replace the elegant desirability of hard-covered editions.
|A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, 1935 edition Design: Edward Young, Penguin Books
|Ariel by André Maurois, 1935 edition, Design: Edward Young, Penguin Books
The name Penguin was suggested by Lane’s secretary and the logotype for the company was designed by Edward Young, the office junior, who went to London Zoo to sketch for the logo. Based on Lane's suggestion that the cover design should be minimalistic horizontal grid in colours that signified the genre of each book:orange for fiction, green for crime, and blue for biography; it was Young who designed the covers of the first set of ten paperbacks, published in the summer of 1935. Penguin's strong commitment to design from the start was established by Young's rigorous simple, and yet powerful integration of colour, grid and typography in those early designs .
Jan Tschichold (1902-1974) who joined Penguin during the 1946, introduced his disciplined and coherent approach to design asserting vigorously his design philosophy that was based on typographic systems. Designing a template for all Penguin books, with specified positions for the title and author’s name separated by a line, Tschichold integrated the design of the front, spine and back and stylized Edward Young’s somewhat unsophisticated Penguin logotype in eight variations.
Among his other innovations was a set of Composition Rules which,Tschichold insisted, had to be followed by Penguin’s typographers and printers to ensure that the same style was always applied.
|Design by Hans Schmoller
|Design by Hans Schmoller on vertical grid
After Tschichold returned to Switzerland in 1949, Hans Schmoller (1916-1985), an extremely knowledgeable and careful typographer, succeeded him at Penguin. Refining Tschichold’s templates Schmoller’s design for the 1950s architectural series, The Buildings of England written by the historian Nikolaus Pevsner, was startlingly elegant. In 1951, he finally changed the Penguin grid from horizontal to vertical. Schmoller's modified vertical grid, was originally created by Erik Ellegaard Frederiksen at Tschichold’s behest. The modified version divided the cover into three vertical stripes, providing sufficient space for illustration while adhering to the tri-partite division and the original 1930s colour coding of Penguin.