Daily Drop Cap Meets Penguin Classics

The internet is abuzz with the recently released preview of a new series of books Penguin is publishing in time for the Christmas season. The Penguin Drop Cap series will be a series of classic books with covers featuring letters designed by the wonderful Jessica Hische. The letters will be new designs, appropriate for each book’s content, that she prepares for this series and not simply caps taken from her previous Daily Drop Cap project. The series uses bold, bright colors and relatively simple elegant layout around the Drop Cap. I have to admit, I think the spines are just as nice as the covers (while you might not think a spine is as important as a beautiful front cover, the spine is all you usually see when a book is on your bookshelf!).

You can read the Imprint article, displaying all six of the released previews (A is for Jane Austen, B is for Charlotte Bronte, C is for Willa Cather, D is for Charles Dickens, E is for George Eliot, and F is for Gustave Flaubert). Below are my favorite two; although Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorites I prefer the Willa Cather and Charles Dickens covers. However, Middlemarch is the only one I haven’t read yet, so its probably top of my list for purchasing. What do you think? Will they be on your Christmas wishlist?

Penguin Drop Cap Series—C is for Willa Cather’s My Antonia
Penguin Drop Cap Series—D is for Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations

Fun with Letters – Daily Drop Caps

For those who are not yet familiar with the website, www.dailydropcap.com, a website by designer and illustrator Jessica Hische, is quite fun to explore. The project is simple enough. Starting in September of 2009, Jessica designed a new drop cap every day, creating a total of twelve alphabets, as well as an extra by guest designers. The results are delightful. Nothing matches or creates a set, but the variety is part of the charm. It’s also a great place to browse to get ideas for different type styles, and you can tell as time went on that she was forced to get more and more creative for her different letters—they start off looking like more traditional, ornate, scripty drop caps, and slowly get more and more creative, branching out to more illustrative and unusual concepts.

Some of her style tags include: Badass, Botanical, Circus, Contained, Dimensional, Girly, Graphic, Guest Alphabet, Highly Illustrative, Holiday, Monoline, Retro, Script, Seasonal, Silly, Swashy, Tattoo, Uncategorized, Victorian, Wood Type-esque. Have fun exploring! And enjoy another great aspect of her project: all of these drop caps have been created so that the public can use them for free on their own (non-commercial) websites. Pretty awesome.Full Alphabet 1
Jessica Hische has been coming to my attention more and more lately. I’ve been checking in semi-regularly to her new site, typesf.org, where she keeps a calendar of typography events in San Francisco (she recently moved from Brooklyn to the beautiful Bay Area—I’m going to be keeping my eye out for her at design events!). She also is the creator of the fantastic and informative poster “Should I Work For Free?”. The original online version (“Since I am a crazy person and we are all nerds, this chart is entirely css and html”) can be found here, or you can order a beautiful letterpress version from her website. I’ve enjoyed exploring her regular website (as well as dailydropcaps.com), and just seeing what sort of projects she’s worked on. Seeing what other designers are doing in our field is always inspiring.