Did I say this was the most fun you could have with blank Penguin covers and your imagination? Well, I take that back.
For Penguin’s 75th anniversary, Douglas Coupland proposes that the Penguin covers, with their harmonious proportions and cheerful orange borders (“Even crack dens glow with Penguins on the shelf”), are as much time capsules as decoration or packaging:
And how many of us can time-stamp periods in our life just by the merest glance a Penguin cover and its genius format? College. Loneliness. Relationships. Adulthood. In some sense Penguin covers function more as diaries than they do as covers.
So I got to thinking, when Penguins start talking back to you, it makes you realize that the Penguin dialogue is a lifelong dialogue, one of life’s catch-free pleasures.
He invites readers to download templates of classic Penguin formats and design their own books telling the folks back when it all began, in 1935, what they can expect in 2010. They can then be posted to a Flickr pool, and Coupland provides an elegant set of his own: Every Book Ever Written Fits Into a Shoebox; The Moon: We Stopped Going There 30 Years Ago; Google: You No Longer Need to Remember Anything. And more!