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Open book with eyes on front and back cover
Detail of Call for Entries for "Paperbacks USA," 1961.
April 05, 2021

Paperbacks USA

In the early days of Push Pin, book cover designs were among their primary sources of income; the studio, and Milton in particular, created striking and inventive book covers at a fast and furious pace. So, in 1961, Milton was a natural fit to chair AIGA’s committee for “Paperbacks USA: An Exhibition of Covers.” (The jurors for the exhibition were art director Irwin Glusker and designers Janet Halverson and George Tscherny.) The call for entries rather formally invites designers to submit their work for the growing market of paperbacks, and takes pains to distinguish this work from hardcover book jackets.

“The AIGA recognizes that the paperback is a graphic solution to a specific merchandising problem, and the wide variety of solutions which American publishers have evolved will not be evaluated in competition with casebound books and their particular sales and manufacturing problems... Today it is now clear that paperbound publishers are not creating a hitherto undeveloped demand for their products; they are filling an already existing need with a product that is attractively priced, attractively sized, and editorially diversified.”
Open book with eyes on front and back covers
Book cover with open mouth spread across spine

Milton designed this black and white brochure, which features two 3-D works of design: one open book with eyes peering out from the front and back covers, and another with a mouth extending across the spine. Milton was always able to find photographers who could really do his work justice; this piece was shot by Sol Mednick. Mednick also photographed Milton’s painted classical bust for his first subway poster for SVA in 1965 (which was among his very first commissioned posters).

This article also appears in PRINT.