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Faber's 80th anniversary poetry covers

Digital, Graphic Design

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 16 April 2009, 16:26    Permalink    Comments (19)

The new Faber poetry set includes a Sylvia Plath edition with a cover by Peter Lawrence

Next month, Faber & Faber publish a series of six new hardback editions of twentieth-century poetry, each with a specially commissioned cover. The new designs are part of the publishing house's 80th anniversary celebrations, which also include new editions of the complete works of Samuel Beckett (which we'll feature on the blog next week)...

Faber invited a selection of prominent illustrators and printmakers to create the covers for the series; the results include a striking series of woodcut and linocut designs.

The titles and illustrators for the poetry series are paired up as follows: WH Auden (selected by John Fuller) cover by Paul Catherall; Sylvia Plath (selected by Ted Hughes) cover by Peter Lawrence; John Betjeman (selected by Hugo Williams) cover by Joe McLaren; TS Eliot (selected by TS Eliot) cover by Clare Curtis; WB Yeats (selected by Seamus Heaney) cover Heaney Nick Morley; Ted Hughes (selected by Simon Armitage) cover by Mark Hearld.

TS Eliot cover by Clare Curtis

Front papers of the Eliot volume by Clare Curtis

Joe McLaren's cover for the Betjeman volume (note the train at the top)

Front papers for the Betjeman edition by Joe McLaren

The other three books in the series:

Yeats cover by Nick Morley

Auden cover by Paul Catherall

Hughes cover by Mark Hearld


great post! love seeing shots of the end papers. the cover designer for this series is Miriam Rosenbloom. she write a little more about the projects here:
2009-04-16 16:50:36

This is fantastic, Faber have done a terrible job promoting this (i.e. no word of it). The Eliot one is spot on, I cannot wait to have them.

The Faber typeface is always a pleasure to read, also.
2009-04-17 09:56:23

BRILLIANT. (to put it simply).
action man
2009-04-17 13:04:45

Fantastic, love the cover designs - end papers are beautiful. Re: Lamium's comment above; Faber have tweeted this link - an excellent way to promote this [must-treat-myself] set.
Diane Becker
2009-04-17 15:03:28

Re. Lamium's comment - 'a terrible job ...'

We're in the process of telling everyone about them! The books are not actually published until the 7th May, so don't give up on us just yet ...
2009-04-17 15:05:15

timeless designs
Ashley Pollak
2009-04-18 13:26:06

I love the idea of Betjeman selected by Hugo Williams. I increasingly think Betjeman hugely underrated and has dated much less than say, Larkin, who I am glad to see not included. Armitage gets to do Hughes because he's Yorkshire, I suppose, like Yeats=Heaney= Irish - not very original. I assume Ted selected Sylvia's pomes before he died. Hughes selected by Plath would have been more interesting. The designs are charmingly retro in the style of David Gentleman's postage stamps ca 1964. All in all a fine celebration of everything we love about poetry.
paul feldwick
2009-04-18 20:45:12

So refreshing to see the old craft type work covers with companies like cole and son wallpaper going over to swedish ownership and losing that british feel good to see
wilf lamo
2009-04-21 18:14:58

I wonder what william morris would make of it all
wilf lamo
2009-04-21 18:19:12

Excellent work. Good to see Alasdair Gray's influence finally being taken on board larger publishing Houses
James Hutcheson
2009-04-22 07:54:31

Apologies for my harsh criticsm. I am just so keen to see/own them.
2009-04-22 09:42:53

Fantastic covers. Really like the Clare Curtis
Graphic Design Suffolk
2009-04-23 14:08:56

they all look very similar to the cover for margaret atwood's 'the tent'

not a bad thing, though.
2009-04-29 11:10:10

I can't see any mention of what paper is being used for the text. I hope it isn't all going to be spoiled by using a non coated stock, as so many special editions seem to be nowadays? A quality coated paper can make the reading experience so much nicer!
Cath Peake
2009-04-30 14:48:35

Bought all 6 from my local Waterstones in Leeds where they were part of a 'buy 3 for 2' offer (a saving of £16). They are all beautiful although I'm a little disappointed by the quality of the paper used for the text, which appears to be that used for your average paperback.
Robert Goddard
2009-05-03 18:18:48

Excellent covers though I have to say I find Auden's on the strangely industrial side. The Betjeman and Eliot covers are spot on, Yeats is a little unimaginative but beautifully crafted, and I'm a bit disheartened a crow dons yet another Hughes edition. Any reason for people to see / own them, and perhaps even read them. Balls to the paper stock as long as it holds ink. Thumbs up Faber (& Faber)
honest joe
2009-05-04 12:03:29

I havew tried on several occasions to order on line but am always returned to your Home page.
I'm tryint to order the Faber's Poetry Classics Collection for the special price of £20.
can you help?
Mrs. M.King
2011-05-01 17:07:48

On-line orders continuallyrejected - no reason given
Mrs. M.King
2011-05-01 17:10:02

The photos in this article are terrible. If you use on-camera flash then you will get this harsh blue tone. It can be fixed in Photoshop in two seconds and would make the covers look a lot better. Better yet, invest ina good quality flash and this won't happen in the first place.That's my two pennorth anyway. I own the Auden edition and it is fantastic. Going to pick up Yeats next.
2011-11-11 10:26:08

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