William Carlos Williams. Paterson. New Directions, 1950

“This professional association of designer and publisher helped to inspire one of the most formidable series of book covers in twentieth-century American design, the New Directions New Classics. In the 1940s and 1950s Lustig designed dozen of covers for New Directions and other prominent progressive publishers. He explained his goals in these designs: the primary intention in designing the book jackets of the New Directions Series, was to establish for each book a quickly grasped, abstract symbol of its contents that would be sheer force of form and color, attract and inform the eye. Such a symbol is a matter of distillation, a reduction of the book to its simplest terms of mood or idea. This spirit of the book cannot be expressed by naturalistic representations of episodes or by any preconceived formal approach, but can only develop naturally from its own nature.”

 

Ned Drew, Paul Sternberg. By its cover: modern American book cover design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005 (p. 46)