Fun with Alvin Lustig’s Designs

Posted by Tom Roberge, on March 14, 2013

Fans of our books know that we're very proud of our association with the great modernist designer Alvin Lustig, who created over seventy covers for New Directions between 1941-1952. Several prints of his iconic designs decorate our office walls, and lately we've been rejacketing backlist titles with their original Lustig covers.

In May you'll be able to buy reprints of fifty of his designs for New Directions in postcard form. If you can bear to part with them — you might just want to plaster your wall with them — you can go ahead and throw away your existing stationary and instead use Lustig covers for all of your written correspondence.

As I was looking through the covers that we chose for the boxed set of fifty, I couldn't help but fixate on the way he treated each author's name. These are, after all, like any book, meant to convey a certain amount of information about the written words contained within the covers, so in addition to be aesthetically pleasing, they had to be thematically appropriate, and considering the experimental nature of many of the authors and books, it wasn't always easy to nail the design. But he did. Over and over again. 

Anyway, back to the names. Because of my fixation, I decided to make this:


I love the variety in how he styled Tennessee Williams's name, or William Carlos Williams's. Lorca written in sand is just amazing. But my favorite is Nathanael West's name on two different stage-set building facades, from the cover of The Day of the Locust:


Have a favorite Lustig design? Let us know over on twitter

Oh, and I ended up making bookmarks out of the design above. So if you're a bookseller and want a stack for your store, let me know:

Related Author: Alvin Lustig
Related Book: Alvin Lustig for New Directions: 50 Postcards
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