*notcot in design , 10:57

Seventy Years of Penguin Design- 01.20.08

penguin4.jpgNOTCOT Note: Here’s a post from Justine/RUGenius ~ who is running around with our mom in Oxford and the general vicinity…

When trying to decide where to take my mother for the day, an ad caught my eye - “Seventy Years of Penguin Design” at the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath. Here was a combination of things we love: books, design…and superficially enough, penguins!

While the exhibit itself was tiny, no more than a room, it was filled with treasures and gorgeously arranged, painted a bright Penguin book cover orange. And what a cover! It’s hard to think of a more iconic design (perhaps the old Campbell’s soup can?). And Penguin has certainly been marketing it design classic, selling Penguin classic book mugs, deckchairs and towels. We all know and love that three panel design, but I, for one, didn’t know much else about Penguin. Did you know that first Penguin paperbacks were just two and a half pence and designed with the goal of making literature affordable and accessible to all. If only that were still true!!! And it’s not JUST penguin, you can also see the development of the Pelican and Puffin lines and logos as well! Read more and see pics of it all after the jump!

The walls were lined with hundreds of books, including series which I had never seen (e.g. the green murder mystery series and blue pelicans). But the most fascinating part of the exhibit though was the development of the Penguin logo. As described by the curator, the penguin has gone through several redesigns. In some editions, the penguin was dancing, and in others it suffered acute appendicitis, before finally stabilizing as the upright penguin we know and love. In fact, penguin isn’t even the only logo they had! The development of the pelican and puffin series logos were also on display. The exhibit was extremely well designed, capturing the company’s aesthetic as well as its history and impact on society, a real gem, well worth the trip despite the rain!

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4 Notes

A while ago I saw someone wearing a Tshirt printed with the Penguin Classic book cover design (It was Kerouac, On The Road!!)Wonderful. Ever since I have been trying to find one, but have had no luck at all. I understand they were available a long time ago, perhaps that would mean they’re classed as ‘vintage’ now. If anyone has any clues about these I would be terribly grateful! Many thanks!

----- LW 08.01.09 05:01

I don’t know if it’s the same but there was a very good exhibition on similar lines at the V&A a few years ago when Phil Bailey’s book on the design of Penguin books came out. Also anyone intersted in the history of Penguin book design should check out the Penguin Collectors Society publications, a list of which can be found on their website

----- Cherry Blackbourn 28.04.08 06:55

Good morning

I am interested to know if the exhibition will be shown anywhere else after 24th March which is today. I am very interested and if you can give any information regarding future events then I would very much appreciate it.

Many thanks
Nigel Ellis

----- Nigel Ellis 24.03.08 03:45

Hi! my name is Monica Garcia, I’m a Graphic Design student from Guatemala.
I’m working on my thesis to get my title, and one part of this consist in
researching projects in which graphic design is involved.
I would like to do my work about NOTCOT, which I love and it’s almost an addiction to me, and I would love even more if you can help me with my research.

----- Monica Garcia 20.01.08 18:34

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