Penguin Classics: Cover to Cover Book Launch

On Tuesday, September 27, the students in the Magazine Production and Design course got the chance to go to the opening lecture in the Labor, Literature and Landmark Lectures Series at the General Society Library, founded in 1785. The lecture was in honor of the 70th anniversary of Penguin Classics and the launch of a new book, Classic Penguin: Cover to cover to coverCover. Elda Rotor, Vice President and Publisher of Penguin Classics, and Paul Buckley, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, spoke about the process of creating the covers for the Penguin Classics.

The lecture started with a simple question: “What makes a classic?” After sharing her opinion that classics are the books that have had readers in the past, and will be guaranteed to have readers in the future, Rotor moved on to discussing specific projects and covers that have been created by Penguin Classics. Buckley said that they wanted to “let the titles do the work,” and that the typography should encapsulate the “flavor of the book.”

Rotor and Buckley also discussed the new use of Penguin’s traditional orange and white tri-band, which has never before been used in American publications by Penguin, in the Penguin Orange Collection. Buckley discussed how he wanted to add a new level of creativity to the basic design by adding additional dimensions, like having images weaving in and out of the bands. This is something that we all strive to do with cover design: maintain the traditional branding of books and magazines, keep the recognizable images, while also finding something new to do with the old designs.

When discussing books like Lord of the Flies and The Haunting of Hill House, Rotor and Buckley talked about finding the right imagery to accompany the book. Even though the final covers are not always what they originally imagine, but they always end up being the perfect representations of the books. For example, in discussing The Haunting of Hill House, the house is actually barely scene in the far background of the cover, which instead dramatically depicts a single pivotal scene from the book in the forest.

Elda Rotor, VP, Publisher, Penguin Classics, with Pace students at the book launch.
Elda Rotor, VP, Publisher, Penguin Classics, with Pace students at the book launch.

Rotor and Buckley’s lecture on cover design at Penguin Classics covered topics of science fiction books, horror books, international books, collections and series of books, and even touched on the process of dealing with authors and estates. However, what it really boiled down to was the importance of the cover for a book. As Rotor put it, the cover is “sparking [the reader’s] imagination and curiosity,” as their first impression of the book ultimately comes from the cover. After the lecture, copies of the new book Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover, were available for purchase and signing. It was truly a great experience to be able to hear from the people that really work hard to make sure the visual of a book is stunning. It was a great learning experience that the Magazine Production and Design class had the unique opportunity to experience.

Kevin BakerWritten by: Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker is a graduate student studying magazine publishing at Pace University, with a particular interest in design and editorial work. In the past, he has worked as an intern at his undergraduate college magazine at York College of Pennsylvania, YC Magazine​, as an writing, proofreading, and fact-checking intern.

Media Magic

 

20140906_222835Rebecca Nicolasa Mbanugo is a student in Pace University’s MS in Publishing program, and is currently enrolled in Magazine Production and Design, taught by Andrea Baron. 

 

A short walk away from Rockefeller Center and Time Inc. lies a facility of the second largest magazine printer in the world, Quad Graphics Media Solutions Center. Professor Andrea Baron’s Magazine Production and Design class visited Quad at its Manhattan location on October 14th, 2014.

After receiving our visitor name tags at the reception desk, we were ushered into an impressive and well-lit conference room where a pleasing array of refreshments and complimentary pens and pencils bearing Quad’s name awaited us. Between bites of cookies and sips of soda and water, we pored over the pages of Quad’s portfolio and examined finished copies of some of the popular publications Quad works with, including Vogue, Seventeen, and Entertainment Weekly. Over the course of our nearly three-hour visit, our two presenters, Imaging Operations Manager Steve Stoma and Media Solutions Sales Representative Eric Johnson, took us on a visual and walking tour of the varied forms of media magic that Quad specializes in.

Quad is a national network of facilities that offer its clients a range of print, digital, and video-based media solutions, including dynamic imaging and augmented reality (AR). Emphasizing high quality and fast turn-around times, it operates according to three tenets: create, optimize, and connect. After the publisher creates artwork such as magazine layouts and covers, Quad takes that product and optimizes its content, enhancing color to achieve the best possible reproduction quality. Quad also connects content to the physical and digital channels of tablets and the Web. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Quad processes over 200,000 images and 90,000 pages of content annually.

The majority of the properties handled at the Manhattan location are magazines, many belonging to such publishers as Condé Nast and Hearst Magazines. We saw firsthand that the work of transforming each title into the alluring, polished products we encounter at the newsstands is quite a fascinating and meticulous process. Specific calibrations for color are checked on a daily basis and color-controlled monitors and booths equipped with proper lighting are used to view images. It is not uncommon for the teams in the customer service and retouching departments to work well into the night, checking hard and soft proofs for color, and digital blue lines for content layout. Continuous rounds of correction occur until each client is fully satisfied. Indeed, like the mythical elves at Santa’s workshop, the staff at Quad works diligently, seeming to fashion magic out of thin air.

Having had an enjoyable glimpse behind the scenes, we left Quad armed with new knowledge and a few souvenirs.