Op Art Penguins

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Following the fusty conservatism of Pelican cover design in the 1950s, the Facetti and Pelham eras of art direction of the 1960s and 70s saw the brand push to the front of contemporary ideas of art and design.

One of these new ideas was Op Art, an international movement that explored optical illusions in abstract paintings and sculptures. The striking covers above are by Italian artists Marina Apollonio and Enzo Ragazzini. Apollonio’s cover on the left is from 1966 when Op Art was at its height – think of the space age fashions of Pierre Cardin and Mary Quant.

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Invitation to Sociology shows Research for a Modifiable Structure, by the artist Kiky Vices Vinci. Politics and Social Science was designed by Keith Potts.

Note how very similar paintings are used to illustrate very different subjects – Op Art designs were adaptable because they display optical phenomena, but contain no semantic meaning.

At the same time, they were attractive in bookshop display and marked Pelican as a contemporary brand.

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