Arthur Rimbaud. A season in hell. New Directions, 1945

“Lustig’s work for New Directions began in 1940 and continued until 1952, during which time publisher James Laughlin granted him complete creative freedom. For each jacket design, Lustig, for whom form and content were so inextricably linked as to be indistinguishable, began by reading the text. Once he had a sense of the author’s intent, he set out to create visual representations of the book’s essence, sometimes literal reflections of the subject of the story and at other times highly subjective and abstract interpretations. What ties the series together is not so much a recognizable treatment -indeed, each jacket design is distinctive- but Lustig’s approach to representing the “spirit” of each book. Although the “New Classics” series reflects his unapologetically modern sensibilities, Lustig saw his contribution as restoring a visual richness that was an essential part of the tradition of book-making.”

 

Graphic: 500 designs that matter. London: Phaidon, 2017