Penguins & Pelicans
Not only fascinating in content, these books stand out as design icons in and of themselves. While the classic designs are likely the most recognizable — Jan Tischold created the original composition rules and guidelines in the 40's — I have a personal love for the editions of the 60's – mid 70's overseen by Germano Facetti. Bold, graphic, and experimental, the care put into their cover designs is clearly indicative of the content inside. Each lists the name of the cover designer on the back, and more impressively each volume notes the typeface in which the copy is set. My current collection stands around 600ish and growing, but with thousands of titles, countless editions (including specific editions for specific countries), and numerous cover iterations, there is both a joy and fear in knowing I will likely never find them all. Still, the search goes on!
Covers of Special Magnificence
It's hard to stop throwing paychecks at books when they scream at you with graphic examples of what has always made design so damn exciting. Along with my Penguins and Pelicans, I have a growing collection of vintage books bought specifically for their fascinating and inspiring cover art. With designs drafted using techniques that for most have fallen into the pages of lost wisdom, these books offer a sample of design practices that have stood the test of time and deserve not to be overlooked.
Design history collectibles
Anyone who ever attended some form of design school has certainly (or hopefully) had their share of lessons in design history, but often it seems all too easy to take the never ending chronicle of images, terms, names, movements, projects, etc for granted as just another step in our education. Fortunately my magpie-like tendencies and constant desire to research (and consume) have resulted in a growing collection of what I, and I believe others, would see as important, beautiful, and endlessly, endlessly fascinating wonders of design past.