Last fall I was lucky enough to meet one of my favorite colleagues, Penguin UK designer Coralie Bickford-Smith, while she was in New York promoting her latest designs for Penguin Classics.
In the decade she has worked at Penguin, Coralie has become a design rock star. Her brilliant covers for the Penguin Hardcover Classics, The Penguin Great Foods, and the Penguin Hardcover Fitzgeralds series have inspired new readers to pick up Penguin Classics and old fans to reread their favorites. These titles, beautifully presented in exquisite packages have also become must-haves for every design-lover’s home.
I have been working with Coralie for several years now and her work still astounds me—from her exciting graphic choices to her carefully chosen colors to her unique, intuitive aesthetic. I interviewed her in the Penguin Media Suite here at 375 Hudson Street—partially as her publicist, partially as a fan (well, mostly as a fan) and decided to ask her many of the questions I’ve had about her work over the years.
If you love gorgeous books just as much as I do, I hope you’ll enjoy our chat. We discuss Coralie’s inspirations (Art Deco, Victorian Wallpaper, a chair in her home covered in a “Safari Swirl” print), the process of actually producing her covers (from first ideas to finished product), her thoughts on books as objects, and her take on how e-books meet with book design.