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A visit from David Pearson—type as image

We recently had the absolute pleasure of welcoming David Pearson to our #shillolon campus. The man behind some of Penguin Books’ most memorable covers, he took us on a captivating journey through the history of book design, his passion for the process and the stories behind some of those iconic covers.

David told us how his penchant for book design led to him being escorted from the office having been deemed a ‘health hazard’ after doing a continuous string of all-nighters. How while working at Penguin he spent countless days rummaging through the archives, pouring over the classics and drawing inspiration from every sleeve. He explained how getting your dream brief isn’t always what you’d expect, how often being ‘too close to certain things’ can take you in surprising directions as he found after being tasked with redesigning the cover of George Orwell’s 1984.

Somewhere during the jam-packed 45 minute talk we managed to record a few quotes from David. Text on a screen will never be able to convey how amazingly dedicated a designer David is or how infectious his excitement for book design is, so please try and imagine the frantic gesticulating and dazzling enthusiasm whilst reading the quotes below. And if you ever have an opportunity to see to David Pearson speak—cancel all other plans!

  1. “You have power as a designer to change the relationship someone has with an object.”
  2. “Confidence is fleeting.”
  3. “Build in those little details, which to some people, might mean a lot.”
  4. “You have to keep people looking, that’s your challenge.”
  5. “Work with other people.”
  6. “I can only use text to create imagery.”
  7. “Don’t worry about throwing type combinations together. It’s not voodoo or a dark art.”
  8. “You can be too close to certain things.”
  9. “Someone once told me: if you ever design your own website, get your mum to test it.”
  10. “Share your work with people.”

Massive thanks to David for visiting us, we hope to see him again in the near future. Head to typeasimage to see more top notch book design or follow David on Twitter for regular updates. 


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