The Vladimir Nabokov backlist titles were given a creative and ambitious design makeover by publisher Vintage in 1989, under the supervision of art director John Gall. Perhaps as an homage to the Nabokov’s love for collecting butterflies, each cover has the look of being of being created using pins, paper, and butterfly boxes.
Here are some of my favourites:
Invitation to a Beheading
by Vladimir Nabokov. Published by Vintage, 1989. Designed by Jason Booher and Helen Yentus.
This design makes use of conflicting angles and typefaces, backed up by strong supporting imagery. The unusual angles of the paper draw the eyes to the text, which is given extra emphasis by the unusual inclusion of a picture of a chair.
The Stories Of Vladimir Nabokov
by Vladimir Nabokov. Published by Vintage, 1989. Designed by Barbara DeWilde.
I like the way that each of the seven letters that make up the word ‘stories’ has been given its own typface and background, giving each its own identity. This leads me to think that each story contained within will also have its own unique identity, whilst being part of the whole.
The Luzhin Defense
by Vladimir Nabokov. Published by by Vintage, 1989. Designed by Paul Sahre.
I have not read this book, but the cover leads me to think that the ‘defense’ of the title is as shaky as the typography.
Ada, Or Ardor
by Published by by Vintage, 1989. Designed by Chip Kidd.
This cover, with its strong use of perspective, makes me think that the reader will be taken on a long journey.