Design : Par Excellence

Penguin books’ designs are getting really clever and cool these days. Gone are the days of Penguin’s stuffy bookish image. Their designs are becoming increasingly fun. They are even revamping the covers of classics. Take for instance the left picture above, which is Benjamin Walter’s ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’. The very aptly designed book cover replicates its own spine design! What’s more, the lines on the cover are embossed slightly to further the 3D illusion that it is a stack of books. At Borders, I playfully placed a stack of the books with a slight tilt – to astound browsers who chance upon it!

What’s this post got to do with the Dharma? Well, the book was chanced upon as it was near the Buddhism section under ‘Philosophy’. That’s about it! Not really… one more reflection comes to mind. In terms of the effectiveness of design that is par excellence, it struck me that nothing beats the designs of Buddha images. Despite them being so varied the world over, many of them embody styles that exude uiversally appreciated qualities such as calmness, compassion and wisdom. It’s no wonder that the Buddha image is the most continually and creatively (re)interpreted and reproduced image in the world!

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