It’s Better In Black And White

Alice in WonderlandI’ve never understood but have always been impressed at how everything seems to look so simple but good in black and white. How for all the technological advances in the world that have brought us vibrant, CMYK-perfect colour, old-school black-and-white photos are still more striking and more flattering.

That’s also the case with these iconic Picador 40th-anniversary-edition redesigns of bestsellers, including All The Pretty Horses, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Sea, and, everybody’s favourite, American Psycho.

Ah, bliss. Ah, envy. So simple yet so stellar. The combination of typography (something with which I’m obsessed) and bold, repeated illustrations in just the two tones is pure, unadulterated, I-must-have-it-even-though-I-already-own-most-of-these-books magic. In fact, it kind of makes me want to buy the ones I don’t even like.

The last time I oohed and ahhed so fully over book covers was when Penguin issued the exquisite textured special editions. The pink flamingo-ed Alice in Wonderland sold out nationwide and I still haven’t secured myself a copy. Harrumpf. It’s especially galling as despite watching the movie, I’ve never actually read Alice in Wonderland and figured this was my most-inspiring, most-likely-to-follow-through chance.

I’m even more impressed by Picador’s designs, if that’s possible, because it didn’t call upon textures and hardcover aesthetics to enhance the designs. Their covers are more Penguin-Modern-Classic simple than to-hell-with-the-budget bold.

I imagine too that this successful redesign was harder to achieve than the results suggest—after all, chick lit Bridget Jones’s Diary and slasher fiction American Psycho aren’t quite in the same reading genre.

So I guess we all know how my next Boomerang Blogs voucher will be spent. The question is: Which cover is my favourite?

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.