Designer Matthew Young on turning the Penguin Monarchs series paperback

Penguin’s popular Monarchs series is now available in paperback, featuring colour-coded covers and a clever graphic family tree system. We talk to designer Matthew Young about the process behind their creation

CR first wrote about the Penguin Monarchs series, which charts the story of 1,000 years of British monarchy, back in 2014, when the hardback version of the books was published. The hardback set featured distinctive illustrated covers for each of the 45 rulers that appear in the series (released over four years).

For the paperback release, Penguin has taken a sharp change in direction, driven largely by budget: the lower cover price of each book brought significant design restrictions this time round.

Below we talk to designer Matthew Young about how the new design developed, and what ideas were abandoned along the way.