“He didn’t see himself as a sensitive artist; he was there to serve,” said Mr. Gottlieb, who worked with Mr. Bacon for many years. “If you rejected the first one, he was happy to do a 10th one. We worked and worked until it was right.” […]
When describing his approach to design, Mr. Bacon said he had learned to subordinate his own aesthetic impulses to convey the main concept of a book. “I always tell myself: ‘You’re not the star of the show. The author took three and a half years to write the goddamn thing and the publisher is spending a fortune on it, so just back off,’ “ he said in an interview with Print magazine in 2002.
Here’s a nice appreciation from Steven Heller:
[W]hen you look at Bacon’s jackets en masse, you realize you’re looking at a history of late-20th century commercial book cover design, a virtual legacy of eclectic lettering, illustration and typography prior to the digital revolution. Bacon was, after all, a product of an era of hand-drawn lettering, and type that was cut and pasted in order to achieve precise spacing. While this sounds archaic in a time when layered Photoshop imagery is the order of the day, Bacon’s work was appealing precisely for its handcrafted precision (as well as minor imperfections) and spot-on conceptual acuity that evoked the story rather than isolated passage.
That’s one helluva portfolio. RIP.
Iconic book cover by Paul Bacon, who died Monday at the age of 91
I had both of these editions back in the day. Both books blew my mind, though in very different ways.
The books that meant the most to me in my teen years, in the editions that I knew then. (Those covers are burned into my memory.)
These covers for a Chinese edition of The Lord of the Rings, by Jian Guo, have been all over my Twitter feed, but I like them so much I’m going to post them anyway.
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
Burnt Norton Published today in 1941.
Alternative covers for Morrissey’s autobiography, to be published by Penguin Classics