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Rob Dunlavey
Romek Marber
posted:

The Penguin Collectors Society has published a book entitled "Penguin by Illustrators".
One of those designer/illustrators is Romek Marber. A transcript of the article has been published by Creative Review on their blog. Marber is famous for having invented the grid and initial series of designs that defined the Penguin crime novels. After some reflection, it occurs to me that the resulting designs go to the heart of our fascination with crime novels. Most crime novels assume a direction with an ending that makes rational sense and is satisfying at some fundamental level. But the process by which that resolution is achieved is full of twists and turns, red herrings, and self-discovery. The criminals and their crimes are borne out of and represent chaos and irrationality. The genre grapples with this basic part of human experience.
Thanks to Marber's grid, steady typography and consistent stylistic solutions, we see the whole drama explode before our eyes: seething chaos and emotion chained and disciplined, forced to submit to the forces of intellect and creativity (that also include the irrational) that the best detectives embody.
A quintessential Penguin crime series cover design by Marber: a powerful synthesis of irrationality contained by a rational structure.
It's a poster. No it's a book cover. No… it's brilliant!
Periodical covers: it's all about concept. I like the sideways Yes/No face a lot.
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