La Boca’s cover designs for Penguin’s reissues of five classic sci-fi & fantasy titles

We speak to La Boca’s Scot Bendall about designing covers for Penguin’s latest series of sci-fi reissues that have one foot in the past and one foot in the future

In stores now, this new series from Penguin features five republished titles selected and introduced by Naomi Alderman and Hari Kunzru who picked books they believed “ask serious and searching questions about our world”. Design studio La Boca was tasked with the responsibility of designing covers for the books and have created a set that will undoubtedly have sci-fi fans jumping up and down in glee.

For inspiration, La Boca turned to classic Penguin book covers designed by David Pelham, Alan Aldridge and Franco Gigani – masters of the medium, whose work has informed not just this project but the studio’s aesthetic in general.

The result is good solid design, with appeal that isn’t simply reliant on nostalgia or a love for the genre. “Although we wanted to nod to the covers of the past, it was important to us that our covers shouldn’t become a sort of pastiche of something that’s come before”, explains lead designer, Scot Bendall. “We didn’t set out to create artwork that specifically looked retro, but at the same time we liked the idea that they could have one foot in the past and one foot in the future.”

While the selected books have a few recurrent themes, they are all written by different authors at different times – which made designing for the set quite challenging. “We were told that the covers should work as a family,” says Bendall, “[and] as the selection of books is quite diverse, it was important that the covers could also work comfortably as individual books rather than feeling too much like part of a ‘set’.”

Having read the books, the design team selected visual signifiers from each story that would make it to the cover. These were then developed individually, but treated with a style and finish that unified them; as coherent as the set looks in its entirety, each cover is superb on its own.; Out now, each book is priced at £8.99 

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