Eulogy for a book designer

“For years, I belonged to a book club that had only two members: me and a person I’d never met, Fred Marcellino,” says Michael Bierut.

[He’s] is not a designer whose name you hear much these days. Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger, the authors of By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design, stop short — just barely, one senses — of consigning him to the dustbin of design history….

Even at his height, the end was near for Fred Marcellino’s unique style of image-making.

Louise Fili’s 1983 cover for The Lover by Marguerite Duras is considered one of the first examples of a photograph being used successfully to sell a novel. At Knopf under Sonny Mehta, it became positively de rigeur…. Out with the garrett-bound artiste, stinking of turpentine, toiling away over an easel. In with the flaneurs of Avenue B, plucking objets trouvé from obscurity like old-time movie producers discovering starlets at Schwab’s.


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