From looking at original penguin books from when they were fist published, there was very little imagery and mostly text.
As you can see from the image the text placement stayed very much the same whether it was fiction to non-fiction. The logo ‘Penguin books’ would always be featured at the top of the page, where as the actual penguin logo is placed at the bottom of the page. The centre part of the book is where the tile for the book is placed with the name of the author underneath it. This layout is known as the 3-band horizontal grid. These images of books above are from 1935 so there was basically no imagery on the front cover however inside there might have been little illustrations relating to the story. What I also found out was the colour of the book depended on what genre it was.
So from the key code on this image you can see that if it was green it was a book about crime, If the book was dark blue it was a biography. If the book cover was pink it was about travel and adventure and finally if it was red it was a play. I found an image to support this theory as the penguin book about Shakespeare had in fact have a red front cover.
Looking at the text and typography from the old books to the new books has change quite dramatically as in the early stages there was little imagery on the front cover, as the years went on you can see the develop and the sudden adding of images and illustration. As we’ve seen from earlier images that there was a curtain layout and guide line that needed to be followed. However from doing further research this however changed a bit.
The following image shows books from the sixties of non-fiction. They however do not follow the colour scheme so maybe this rule was changed later down the line.
These books from the sixties had reflective titles and expanding the growth of society awareness. These types of book were a special from the sixties as it states this on the front cover.Through out these books the same font is used consistently possibly to give the series of books continuity same with the repetition of the colour red. As we can see the use of imagery has appeared mostly photography as this was a series of non-fiction. The scale of type throughout all these books are pretty much the same except from some exceptions. The text is not over powering and takes up less than a third of the page, that includes the author’s name as well.
This you can see this example with composition with image and text. The imagery takes up more than half of the page with either illustration or photography. This composition works really well as it doesn’t look too crowded plus this theme is continued throughout these books. Through me research I have discovered that the imagery on the front cover really depends on what book it is. Usually for fiction its an illustration or some sort of college however non-fiction is usually photography bases with maybe some alterations made. The audience could usually tell what genre the book is by one, the colour key scheme and also the imagery which is linked to the theme. For example you can tell that a book is a crime genre due to the front cover being green and maybe the icons in the front cover like a magnifying glass or a dead body floating in a river. Another genre that could be recognised by the audience is history and travel. Some of the images I will show are newer and more modern so the continuous design might not follow.
The signifiers that tell the audience these are history and travel books is the imagery of maps, historical events like the planes and also historical figures. These would all tell the audience what kind of book it is with opening it or reading the blurb.
Moving on to more modern books, and the difference between the old and new styles. Some of the new books have vanished and embossed titles, giving the book a shiny and glossy look. However I couldn’t tell whether the old style book did the same as I haven’t seen one in real life only from the internet. I intend to go to the library and see if I can find any there to look at and compare.
Here are some blurbs from penguin books. The font varies in size really depending how long the blurb is . I would say that its properly no bigger than 14pt maybe 12pt. It’s usually in the centre of the page with an equal width at each side. It also includes the logo on the back as well as the spine. There is also a bar code that always appears the bottom right hand corner. Some of the older books don’t have imagery on the back however in my research the newer books do seem to. Sometimes the design continues from the front to the back.
The spine includes the penguin logo, the name of the book and the author and maybe some sort imagery long the spine to fit in with the overall design. I will include the measurement on a separate blog post.
Here is a modern penguin book which I quite like the style of, such as the text placement, font and colour scheme. I could consider this when designing for my own book cover.