E-Books, Schmee-Books

As the printed word evaporates further and further into the realm of online ephemera, London designer David Pearson would like us all to take a moment and consider the book. Like, the actual book. As in the physical artifact of bound pages, typography, and illustration. Pearson, perhaps more so than anyone, knows that a book is much more than a delivery system for ideas. It’s a source of pleasure, tactile and tangible. Not just an object to hold, but an object to behold.

In other words, it’s a designer’s dream. And Pearson is arguably the most famous book designer on the planet. As part of its Insights 2012 Design Lecture Series, Walker Art Center has flown Pearson in to talk about his illustrious career—which he began in 2002, at Penguin Books, the venerable British imprint with the adorable literary mascot.

Pearson’s thing is to champion the timeless romance of all things literary—by punching it up with a contemporary, often times unorthodox, look. Consider Penguin’s “Great Ideas” series. Penguin’s goal was to reintroduce the hefty works that changed the world—Marx’s Communist Manifesto, Orwell’s Why I Write. Pearson, honoring the sanctity of the word, went with a suite of all-typographic covers, often leveraging letterpress and tactile paper.

(And this was way before letterpress became a totem of cool-kid, throwback cred.)

Then, in 2008, he formed White’s Books with editor Jonathan Jackson. The two have repackaged classic texts by Shakespeare and Dickens as well as titles such as Jane Eyre and Treasure Island.

Anyway, suffice it to say the guy loves books. And he doesn’t see them going away. Not on his watch.

And definitely not with these sexy/classic designs.

Insights: David Pearson
March 27, 7 p.m.
$20 ($15 for members, $10 for students)
Walker Cinema, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls. walkerart.org