Unit 13 Art and Design Specialist Contextual Investigation

The central subject of my propopsed project is Penguin Book Design.

The main question or purpose of my project is to explore how the design of Penguin book covers has developed over its history.

The main areas I am intending to research are:

  • 1930s: Original Design
  • 1940s: Art Direction of Jan Tschichold
  • 1950s: Introduction of the Veritcal Grid
  • 1960s: Art Direction of Germano Facetti
  • 1970s-80s: Bad Taste and Economic Lows
  • 1990-2000s: New Direction
  • Today: Modern Series and Designing for a Target Audience

The sources I am going to consult are published material (books about the subject and the Penguin books themselves) and internet resources.

I will need to do fieldwork by visiting libraries or books stores to have a first hand look at the designs.

The artists whos work will be relevant to my investigation are; Jan Tschichold, Germano Facetti, John Hamilton, Pete Mayer and modern day designers of Penguin covers.

In relation to my project I would like to look at the work of Phil Baines, the writer of Penguin By Design.


Art and Design Specialist Contextual Investigation


The year 2 research project is intended to focus my independent research in relation to my own specialism. With guidance from tutors, I will devise my own project which will reflect on and coordinate with my own studio work and individual interests. The project should be between 2500 and 4500 words for the main body of the text. The minimum word count may not allow me to fully demonstrate the range of research and analysis needed to achieve the higher grade bands.

Guidlines to consider when choosing subject:

  • I should choose a subject that is related to my own specialist interests in ongoing studio work.
  • My subject will need to be appropriate for my couse specialism.
  • I must be able to identify a wide range of sources to use for my research.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Know how the work of historical and contemporary specialist practicioners can influence current practice.

2. Understand the context in which specialist work was produced.

3. Understand the fuction, purpose and qualities of creative specialist work.

4. Be able to evaluate, stucture and present findings.