'Bold' Penguin Essentials covers celebrated in exhibition

'Bold' Penguin Essentials covers celebrated in exhibition

Penguin Random House is launching a new exhibition to showcase 100 "iconic, deliberately bold and thought-provoking" cover designs of its modern classics.

The exhibition, entitled '20 Years of Penguin Essentials, is taking place at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft in East Sussex from Saturday 6th January to Sunday 29th April. It will feature covers designed by an eclectic range of creatives, including Banksy and Chris Ashworth, as well as up-and-coming illustrators and designers, some of whom also design tattoos and clothes.

This will be the first time the covers have been showcased as a collection. The series was launched in 1998 by art director John Hamilton, who selected his 100 favourites for the purpose.

Hamilton's brief to the designers he commissioned had been to "do what you do and ignore publishing conventions". He was praised by designer and writer Adrian Shaughnessy for creating renewed interest in titles, some of which were 100 years old, by "selecting artists and designers who were working at the front line of visual expression".

"We’re thrilled to be celebrating 20 years of Penguin Essentials alongside the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft," commented Hamilton. "The launch of the Penguin Essentials in 1998 was a watershed moment in book cover design, bold and daring reinventions of modern classics from artists and designers worldwide. I’m excited that we are finally able to bring together the fantastic work of so many of the talented individuals who have worked with us over the years to create this iconic series."

The display will sit alongside the museum’s exhibition of the work of Elizabeth Friedlander, a designer who was championed by Penguin throughout her career and is also known for her book cover designs for the publishing house during the 1950s and '60s.

The exhibition also precedes the launch of a new selection of Penguin Essentials, due to be published in July 2018.