WORK: Woodtype cover designs for Vintage’s José Saramago reissues

For its reissues of the late Portuguese author José Saramago’s novels, Vintage Classics used the author’s initials to create a series of letterpress covers designs. According to the in-house design department’s CMYK blog, the approach references early Harvill editions of Saramago’s books that incorporated his initials ‘J’ and ‘S’ into the cover imagery.

From the CMYK blog: “We wanted to see how far we could take the idea of ‘illustrating’ the books using just the author’s initials. This immediately suggested the idea of creating colourful covers using old wooden letterpress characters.”

The designs were hand-printed in-house using woodtype blocks. According to CMYK, the first few titles have just been published and the rest of Saramago’s backlist will follow soon.