The Nabokov Collection


I meant to post about these new Nabokov covers from Vintage Books a while ago, but the post somehow got lost in the shuffle. Over the holidays, I went into City Lights and saw the covers in person — they are even more lovely than these images let on.

John Gall, the art director at Vintage Books, was asked to redesign all of Nabokov’s covers. Here is what he had to say about the project in his post on Design Observer:

Nabokov was a passionate butterfly collector, a theme that has cropped up on some of his past covers. My idea was also a play on this concept. Each cover consists of a photograph of a specimen box, the kind used by collectors like Nabokov to display insects. Each box would be filled with paper, ephemera, and insect pins, selected to somehow evoke the book’s content. And to make it more interesting for readers — and less daunting for me — I thought it would be fun to ask a group of talented designers to help create the boxes.

Here’s who I asked: Chip Kidd, Carol Carson, Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin, Megan Wilson and Duncan Hannah, Rodrigo Corral, Martin Venezky, Charles Wilkin, Helen Yentus and Jason Booher, Peter Mendelsund, Sam Potts, Dave Eggers, Paul Sahre, Stephen Doyle, Carin Goldberg, Michael Bierut, Barbara de Wilde, and Marian Bantjes. They were then photographed by Alison Gootee. The results are shown here. I hope you enjoy them.

You can view all the covers, vote for your favorite and possibly win a copy on Vintage Books’ blog.

A number of people in the Design Observer comments mentioned the omission of Lolita from the set. In case you too are missing Lolita, here is a collection of the many iterations of that cover as well as a contest to redesign Lolita’s cover from Venus febriculosa.