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The Woman That Made Kurt Vonnegut the Best Book Covers of All Time

By Jason Coles,


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Carin Goldberg, a truly magnificent and well-loved graphic designer responsible for some incredible designs in her career, passed away last month at the age of 69. Her work was nigh-on ubiquitous, appearing on the covers of a Madonna album, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and a slew of magazines including the New York Times Magazine and Wired. However, some of her best work, for us anyway, remains her work with Kurt Vonnegut.

Kurt Vonnegut is his own kind of legendary too, but the starkness of the covers designed by Goldberg undoubtedly helped his books grab audiences from any bookshelf they were on. The combination of the two is sublime, much like the designs themselves, and now’s an excellent time to acquaint yourself with their work.

Simplicity Perfected For The Best Book Covers

It’s easy for design to end up bloated and overcomplicated, as is the way with so much art. Goldberg was a huge leader in bringing things back to a more streamlined way of doing things, and her visions popped off of the page to ensnare anyone who looked at them. The massive V that threatens to leap off of the cover against a single block of color is impossible to ignore.

Goldberg refined her artistic vision throughout her career, initially working at CBS television, then a couple of record labels. As she found her own way of doing things, she eventually started her own design firm in the early 80s, and mostly worked on book covers during that time. It was then that she wound up working with Madonna on her self-titled album cover, which is one of her best works when it comes to photography, or at least most recognizable.

Her work with Kurt Vonnegut, helped boost his book sales thanks to the way they grabbed attention. Her postmodern style is especially potent there, and the precision of every aspect of the cover is what makes them so impossibly striking. They’re hard to get ahold of now, at least brand-new, so if you’ve got one lying around make sure to treasure it.

If you do manage to track down any of the incredible Goldberg variations of Vonnegut’s books, then why not grab one of the best book lights to make sure you can enjoy them any time of day, anywhere? Just be careful not to damage the covers.

Kurt Vonnegut: The Complete Novels: A Library of America Boxed Set

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