Penguin’s in-house designer Tom Etherington talks us through his most influential titles

Penguin Collectors Society: Penguin by Designers

Found on the “pulp-shelf” in the Penguin offices, 2015, this is a very obvious choice for a designer at Penguin, but I love this book. It’s a collection of transcribed lectures by art directors and designers who have worked at Penguin throughout the publisher’s history. The lectures took place at the V&A in 2005, and the Penguin Collectors Society published this illustrated book a couple of years afterwards.
 
I’d been looking for a copy of this for a long time, when I came across it on a pulp-shelf (which is a bookcase of unwanted books at Penguin that are either taken by other employees or recycled) I couldn’t believe my luck. 
 
People like David Pelham, Romek Marber and Derek Birdsall are my design heroes, so it’s pretty amazing to be able to read about the time David Pelham commissioned Eduardo Paolozzi, or how Romek Marber used to turn his kitchen into a darkroom to create the photographic imagery for the Penguin Crime series.

Every time I flick through _Penguin by Designers_, it makes me pull my finger out. I’m fortunate to work for a company with an incredible design heritage, but I feel the pressure sometimes to live up to it.




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