For the UK edition of Jaron Lanier’s new book, You Are Not A Gadget, Penguin approached young designer Olly Moss to come up with a concept for its cover…
Lanier’s book, which is published in January by Penguin’s Allen Lane imprint, sets out to challenge the notion of whether the digital revolution has had a positive effect on the development of society and how individual creativity has been surpassed by a desire to work and create collectively.
Lanier, who coined the term ‘virtual reality’ in the early 1980s, also examines the constrictions placed upon human expression in the digital age: from the anonymity of Wikipedia, to the rigid templates of social networking sites and e-publishing. The latter directly influenced the design of the cover for the UK edition of the book, as Penguin art director, Jim Stoddart, explains.
“We were short on time to produce a cover – it was needed urgently for printing end of November to be ready for publication early February 2010,” says Stoddart. “We had the opportunity to use the Chip Kidd-designed cover being used for the American edition, but I’ve been keen to try out the very talented 22 year-old Olly Moss, having seen many of his sharp conceptual observations on the internet.
“Olly has come up trumps with a superb concept – and a brilliant realisation – of a mock e-book. It should look striking in bookshops, online and makes its own comment on the whole book vs e-book debate.”
As with John Berger’s 1972 classic, Ways of Seeing, the text for Lanier’s book also begins on the cover.