McGraw-Hill paperbacks — Rudolph de Harak (1960)

Christy Orr
Oct 19, 2017 · 2 min read

Rudolph de Harak’s McGraw-Hill paperback design is considered one of his best works, where he created over 350 individual covers in 1960 for a variety of different subjects for the Educational Book publisher McGraw-Hill.

Its clear with each book cover, he has tried to use simple but abstract imagery which represents the contents of the book. The book cover to the left’s imagery is of two silhouettes merging together. The colour choice is also limited, as is the number of fonts used at once, there is actually only one font used throughout possibly to stop confusion, along with limited colours, about the concept of the book. In the middle of the two silhouttes it becomes quite confusing and hard to look at, which maybe is a reference to how complicated and different everyone is? Even to this day, these book covers look as modern today as they did in the 60’s.

Rudolph de Harak is an American graphic designer born in California. All his designs have a distinct modern aesthetic, even for being designed decades ago. de Harak helped found the Los Angeles Society for Contemporary Designers along with Saul Bass. After this, he then moved to New York, and became the art director for the American magazine ‘Seventeen’, but only for 18 months. Not only is he a designer, but he was a professor of design at the Copper Union and a visiting professor for a variety of Universities including Yale. To recognise all of these achivements and to give recognision to his outstanding graphic design, he was awarded an AIGA medal in 1922.

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