Six of author Jeanette Winterson’s novels are published today in new editions from Vintage, featuring some bold cover art work by the publisher’s senior designer, James Jones…
From Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Winterson’s 1985 debut, the new editions also include her novels The Passion (1987), Sexing the Cherry (1989), Written on the Body (1992), Art and Lies (1994) and The Power Book (2000).
Jones says that his initial thoughts on the design of the set involved taking a photographic approach. “Quite simple and graphic – [but] I couldn’t find any images that were bold enough to carry Jeanette’s world,” he says. “This quickly progressed to purely typographic covers before I began introducing some hand-drawn illustrations.
“The Sexing the Cherry cover [above, right] was the catalyst for the final series look, with the pineapple helping to set the tone. From here, myself and the editor chatted about other image ideas that would portray each book in the series, and allow them to work strongly on their own as well as part of a set.”
The final illustrations for the covers were created in-house by Jones.
P22 Underground, derived from Edward Johnston’s 1916 sans serif for the London Underground, was selected as the cover typeface early on in the process, Jones explains. “I knew the images I wanted to create would be fairly vibrant and somewhat surreal in their finished outcome, so a much cleaner sans serif typeface was needed to compliment them,” he says.
“Any hand-written type would have detracted too much from the images. The illustrations began life as simple line drawings, but they lacked the flair and imagination that Jeanette brings to her writing.”
In an approach that differs from the artwork on much of Winterson’s work to date, Jones decided to pursue a heavily digitised look, rendering images of various organic forms in clean lines and brushed colours.
Detail from the cover of The Power Book
“I began playing around with the illustrations as vectors – as I wanted that really digital look to set them apart – and it was at this point that they resembled Jeanette’s writing the most,” says Jones.
“Her writing is like no one else’s: passionate, punchy, lucid and lyrical, and each cover aims to represent a tiny bit of this to the reader. The clash between organic materials/objects and something a bit sleeker helps portray the sexual nature of some of the subject matter and its surreal tones.”
The six new paperback editions are published today by Vintage Books. They are available from vintage-books.co.uk. Jones is also one of the founders of the CMYK blog which charts the design of various Vintage books. For more of his work, see jamespauljones.tumblr.com or follow him via @jamespauljones