Vintage has announced the reissue of 18 titles written by acclaimed British author Ian McEwan. Overseen by Vintage’s creative director Suzanne Dean, the release of this latest collection hopes to bring some of McEwan’s extensive bestselling backlist to a whole new generation of readers.
The author, who just last year published “his most epic book to date”, titled Lessons, is known for his lyrical prose and works of realist fiction. Among his best known work are iconic titles such as Atonement, On Chesil Beach, and Enduring Love, all of which are included in this significant reissue.
Dean, who previously worked on the design for Lessons and who spearheaded this project, says that dealing with such important titles, and so many of them at once, requires a slow and thoughtful approach.
“When creating a series design, a designer needs to treat each title individually whilst considering how all the covers cohere,” she explains. “The ‘grid’ for McEwan’s new series look, adapted from my hardback design of Lessons, allowed me the freedom to choose close-up images on some titles and distant scenes on others. Variety not only in media, but also scale, lent a visual excitement when seen across the collection.”
Dean also commissioned various artists and illustrators to interpret books within the series in their own respective styles, creating artworks for the covers so that each has a unique aesthetic whilst at the same time fitting within a wider artistic vision.
Among some of Dean’s favourite designs are the cover of Enduring Love, which features a silkscreen print of a hot air balloon by printmaker Kate Gibb; the cover of On Chesil Beach, which features a Kodachrome photograph sourced from the Anonymous Project Collection; and the cover of The Cement Garden, which features an illustration by Tina Berning that Dean says “deliciously evokes the dark subject matter and arid summer heat”.
She goes on: “It was a sheer joy to match artists with titles, to discuss an approach with the illustrator and see the final image sit beautifully alongside the other books.”
Elsewhere, readers can find a mixture of colour and black and white photography, as well as a diverse range of illustrative approaches. Viewed as a whole, the collection evokes a feeling of timelessness, striking a balance between classic and modern styles that speaks to both the rich history and continued relevance of McEwan’s bibliography.
Commenting on this reissue of his work, the author says: “I was really impressed by these designs. The artful trick was to have different artists dream up such varied and striking images that cohere within a general scheme.”
The first set of books are on sale now, with more being released further down the line.