The second set of Picador’s Modern Classics — miniature (but full text) versions of timeless books — is due out this fall, following the series’ initial quartet which came out in 2015. Before EW exclusively shares the covers for this next set, which includes Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, and Hilary Mantel’s Giving up the Ghost, Picador’s creative director Henry Sene Yee tells us how the look of the new jackets came about.
While the first series of “Pocket Picadors” comprised fiction, this second set is all nonfiction — so Yee explains that the challenge was “How do you make them stand out on their own? Make it look the same, yet different.” While the bright patterns on the first set were meant to recall candy, Yee decided that the nonfiction set should be defined by black and white portraits of the authors, to give the books “the right amount of gravitas.” The unifying feature of the fiction and nonfiction set, then, is their teeny size — you just want to hold them in your hand or tuck them snugly into your pockets.
The next challenge was finding the right illustrator. “I started mocking up different layouts using photographs,” Yee explains. “One of my type solutions was a box that happened to go across the author’s mouth. It was a woman’s face and it looked like we were symbolically silencing her. It was then that I realized all of the authors were women. The Women’s March had just happened and it inspired me to focus on finding a female illustrator to illustrate the four women.” He specifically wanted to find someone knew who hadn’t worked on book covers before, but could “make black and white look robust and lyrical.”
Finally, he found illustrator Cecilia Carlstedt, whose work is mostly in the fashion world and who specializes in female portraits. “Her work had fullness in black and white with an energetic use of accent colors,” Yee says. “Everything I was looking for.” Carlstedt turned in her sketches over the next weekend, and voila! The next set of Picador Modern Classics was born.
Check out the four stunning covers, below. The books will hit shelves Nov. 7, but are available for pre-order now.