Between the lines

The tried and tested formula of slapping a movie poster on the cover was not an option when publisher Vintage decided to celebrate books that have achieved box office success in film adaptation. Anna Richardson talks to the publisher’s creative team about the design story behind their innovative concept

Vintage’s one-off Vintage Loves Film summer promotion, which launches in August, the publisher’s creative team was keen to avoid a film tie-in approach or resort to film stills. The concept should lie in the transition of typed to spoken word, and the team, under Suzanne Dean, creative director at Random House division CCV (Vintage’s parent group), decided to use quotes from the novels. Not only can most film fanatics quote their favourite lines, but quotes are often used to help sell books, so why not use one from the book itself? Making a point of selecting quotes that were relevant to both film and book, while making sure they remained faithful to the original novel, the team also relegated author name and title to the spine so that the quotes would be read as a description of the book and not as ‘typographic window dressing’. ‘As we relied on the quotation for visual impact, the typeface had to do much more work,’ adds Dean. Each designer on the team took on two titles, choosing a type that would reflect the period or feel of the film (see right). The series is numbered with a motif inspired by the ten-to-one  countdown on old movie celluloid, and is printed in two colour on a pearlescent stock (Curious Metallic Virtual Pearl by Arjowiggins) with the bookblock edges dipped in black. ‘Our insistence to work only with quotes and forego the traditional jacket conventions was initially met with some concerns,’ admits Dean. ‘But the positive reactions from authors and estates confirmed that it was a bold, but correct approach.’

_Suzanne Dean, Creative director
1. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland needed a font that was evocative of the period while reflecting the eccentricities of the text. Ornella was based on an old font catalogue sample. 2. The quote on Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is bold, playful and purposely echoes World War II defence posters in layout and its use of the font Benton.

_Stephen Parker, Deputy art director
3. The opening sentence of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock immediately positions the book in both location and genre. Using type scanned from genuine Brighton rock references the book’s analogy that human nature is unchangeable. When reset as a bold sentence in black and red, the type also takes on a gritty, film-noir feel.
4. The quote from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden evokes Sayuri’s spirit and resolve, and almost reads like a haiku. The simple typesetting is given further context and atmosphere by the effect of soaking into wet paper.

_Matt Broughton, Senior designer
5. Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice interprets Renaissance typesetting with a twist – something that once was grand slowly fading away.
6. Why use anything other than Helvetica for Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting? It went through a much-welcomed renaissance in the 1990s.

_Anna Crone, Senior designer
7. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles uses a redrawn and more elegantly spaced Cheltenham Book Condensed Italic to echo the 1981 film poster. Mirroring Fowles’ writing, the highlighted ellipses allude to a breaking away from 19th-century conventions.
8. One of the most popular and enduring sans serif fonts, Futura, was widely used both in the 1950s, when Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley was written, and in the 1990s, when the film was made – stylistically, it suited both.

_Kris Potter, Designer
9. The typewriter font for Ian McEwan’s Atonement represents the letters sent between the novel’s two main characters. The open letter-spacing echoes the yearning in the quote.10. Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is inspired by 1990s ’grunge’ typesetting. The subversive look echoes the novel’s anarchic nature.

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