Alvin Lustig may be one of the lesser known names in design, but his is without doubt, the name most synonymous with bringing modernism into the publishing industry.
In 1941, Lustig teamed up with the recently founded New Directions Publishing to kickstart the design of their New Classics reprint series. From this point on, Lustig pioneered in modernist design with his book jacket covers for the series. He gave a fresh and inviting outlook to classics by authors and poets such as Tennessee Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and Henry Miller, among others.
Lustig’s simple combination of san serif type and geometric blocks of color gave the potential reader no clue as to the content of the book. However, through this level of “graphic enigma”, Lustig was almost immediately regarded as the avant-garde face of New Direction’s progressive character.
In May of 2013, New Directions released a set of postcards displaying Lustig’s 50 best book jacket designs. Being only recently acquainted with Lustig’s work, I snatched up the set as soon as it was available for order. Personally, I love sending postcards, but as of the time I ordered them last year, I may have sent one or two. For all lovers of modernist design, if you don’t have wall space to accommodate any of Lustig’s work poster-size, these postcards come in high recommendation. As a bookworm and design enthusiast, I’ve found that Alvin Lustig’s work certainly stands the test of time.
If you’re interested in the postcard set, or just learning more about Lustig and New Directions: