In 1935, if you wanted to read a good book, you needed either a lot of money or a library card. Cheap paperbacks were available, but their poor production generally tended to mirror the quality between the covers.
Penguin paperbacks were the brainchild of Allen Lane, then a director of The Bodley Head. After a weekend visiting Agatha Christie in Devon, he found himself on a platform at Exeter station searching its bookstall for something to read on his journey back to London, but discovered only popular magazines and reprints of Victorian novels.
Appalled by the selection on offer, Lane decided that good quality contemporary fiction should be made available at an attractive price and sold not just in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores.
He also wanted a ‘dignified but flippant’ symbol for his new business. His secretary suggested a Penguin and another employee was sent to London Zoo to make some sketches. Seventy years later Penguin is still one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
The first Penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935 and included works by Ernest Hemingway, André Maurois and Agatha Christie. They were colour coded (orange for fiction, blue for biography, green for crime) and cost just sixpence, the same price as a packet of cigarettes. The way the public thought about books changed forever – the paperback revolution had begun”
Today we talk about Penguin, which is one of the oldest and modern publishing house we know.
We want to share 3 special things about Penguin:
1. THE AESTHTIC
The book identity it has been and is still modern. Look at these book on the shelves
Coralie Bickford-Smith is one of our favorite designer from Penguin and she defines herself:
“I am Coralie Bickford-Smith and here is a bit about myself. I graduated from Reading University after studying Typography and Graphic Communication. I currently work in-house at Penguin Books. Amazingly my book covers have been recognised by the AIGA (NY) and D&AD (UK) and have featured in a numerous international magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Vogue and The Guardian. The work I did with Penguin Classics on the clothbound series attracted worldwide attention and harks back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding “ And here our favorire works:
“Throughout the history of civilization, food has been more than simple necessity. In countless cultures, it has been livelihood, status symbol, entertainment – and passion. In the Great Food series, Penguin brings you the finest food writing from the last 400 years, and opens the door to the wonders of every kitchen”.