8 Classic Books Revamped To Evoke Mid-Century Design

Faber’s Modern Classics, including titles by Sylvia Plath, Lorrie Moore, and T.S. Eliot, channels the bright colors of retro book design.


Faber is rereleasing 10 classic books, with covers inspired by mid-century graphic design. All feature lots of white space, understated typography, and bright, translucent bands of color framing single eye-catching images.


Faber’s art director, Donna Payne, led the design of the series. “We wanted to capture the spirit of our Faber Design heritage whilst keeping the series design contemporary and accessible,” Payne tells Co.Design in an email. “Many of the Classics titles were written in this period, and we deliberately looked to use images that were unexpected, but true to the text.” The first set of covers features photography in the bright acid shades of the retro jackets that inspired them. All text is in Faber’s company typeface, Swiss.

The first set of books includes:

  • Nightwood by Djuna Barnes with introductions from Jeannette Winterson and T.S. Eliot
  • Ariel by Sylvia Plath (chosen by Edna O’Brien)
  • Pincher Martin by William Golding with an afterword by Phillipa Gregory
  • The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi with an introduction by Zadie Smith
  • Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (selected by Barbara Kingsolver)
  • Venice by Jan Morris
  • Selected Poems by T.S. Eliot featuring an essay by Seamus Heaney
  • Look Back in Anger by John Osborne with an introduction from Michael Billington and an afterword by David Hare
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The designs avoid the common trap of tarted-up jackets for titles by female authorsa trap Faber has fallen into. In 2013, the cover of their re-release of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar , about a young woman struggling with mental illness, sported a frilly stock image of a woman applying makeup, and ignited much controversy on the Internet. This time, Faber got it right: their cover for Plath’s Ariel features a sun-drenched photograph of the young poet in Europe.


Faber Modern Classics will release the 10 books in April 2015, followed by another six in June.

[h/t: Creative Review]

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.