Germano Facetti was the art director who helped turn around Penguin’s fortunes in the early 1960s when he commissioned illustrated covers across the brand. He was a talented visual artist who could design, illustrate and art direct a team of researchers and cover designers
When he arrived in Britain in 1950, Facetti was not a graphic designer. His career had been more in the spirit of the Bauhaus, with a basis in architecture. He was a non-specialist. (www.eyemagazine.com)
Facetti’s art direction is well known but he also made many individual covers himself. Some of his best work appeared on the Pelican imprint, which he described as “the layman’s non-academic university.” Among these covers are some that use antique engravings and woodcuts with colour overprinting in a kind of printmaking aesthetic.
Offset printing, the industrial technology used for printing large volumes such as Pelican books, is itself a variant of lithography. That branch of printmaking enables layers in different designs or colours to be over-printed onto a single substrate. Facetti used the offset machines to create these layered artworks on the covers. Design is art for the masses.