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DACS Meets Penguin Press: Judging a book by its cover

  • 18 November 2021, 5-6pm
  • Online Event
Poster for DACS Meets event

The old saying goes that you can’t judge a book by its cover, yet many of us do exactly that.

Penguin’s iconic covers are a modern design classic, and they continue to use imagery in dynamic and innovative ways. Chaired by art historian Ferren Gipson, we joined Penguin Press Picture Editor Samantha Johnson and Art Director Jim Stoddart as they gave an insight into designing unique covers for some of our favourite works of literature. They discussed everything from pairing artists with authors to the process of pitching designs and a typical day at the Penguin offices.

DACS and Penguin enjoy a longstanding relationship, having worked together on multiple projects over the years to bring outstanding works of modern and contemporary art to the covers of world-leading literary titles. Most recently, the George Orwell / Modern Classics Series featuring the work of Francis Bacon and the Science Fiction Series featuring Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Arp.

The session explored what makes the perfect cover, how the right image choice can get people to pick up a book, and what a career in publishing design might look like in an increasingly digital future.

About the speakers

Ferren Gipson is an art historian, writer, speaker, and educator. She is the host/writer/producer of the Art Matters podcast and doctoral researcher at SOAS, University of London. She has worked with institutions such as Tate, BBC, Pinterest, Lomography, and Esquire Magazine, as an art and design content specialist. Ferren lives in London with her husband and her son.

About DACS Meets

DACS Meets was a series of conversations between artists and leading cultural practitioners. These conversations formed part of DACS’ public programme, showcasing the ways in which artists continue to play a unifying role in our social fabric.