Random House opts for Vintage Classics twin approach

Book publisher Random House is redesigning its Vintage Class-ics imprint, with the first new-look titles out in August.

A team of designers, illustrators and photographers has been commissioned to create limited edition book jackets to adorn ‘twinned’ pairs of modern and established classics, from Henry James to Ian McEwan.

Each pair of Vintage Classic Twins has been selected to provide a ‘thought-provoking combination’, says Random House design director Suzanne Dean, and the covers have been designed to reflect this.

‘The striped tights on the cover of Alice in Wonderland are repeated in the stripes on the cat’s tail in [Haruki Murakami’s] The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,’ says Dean, ‘and the dog on the cover of Oliver Twist is reflected by the cat in [Irvine Welsh’s] Trainspotting. They are like little games that we’re playing with the readers.’ Dean stresses the importance of ‘space’ in the Vintage Classics redesign. ‘We got our market research groups to look at the various paperback classic lines out there, and found that readers liked something that had a great sense of space. Other classics use flamboyant typefaces with much larger areas of panelling, whereas we have kept the type quite small and clean so it looks like an integral part of the design,’ she says.

The six-strong in-house design team has just finished the first ten pairs of titles, and are currently working on future releases to be launched later in the year, including ‘Vintage Halloween’ with works from Henry James, Bram Stoker and Wilkie Collins.

‘Everyone here loves working on the project because it’s exciting and you have the freedom to be very creative,’ says Dean. ‘We’re almost fighting over them.’

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