Pelham before Penguin

Studio International magazine_May 1962_cover David Pelham
Studio International magazine, May 1962. Cover design by David Pelham

David Pelham designs for Studio International

The David Pelham era was the golden age of Penguin cover design. As art director from 1968 he raised the overall visual standard through a policy of intelligent and sophisticated cover art. As he said, “I always liked a bit of polish.”

But five years before Penguin, Pelham was art editor of a British art magazine, Studio International.

“Studio was one of the most successful fine art periodicals in the English-speaking world. In the post-war years, the magazine was redesigned by David Pelham and its title was changed to Studio International to reflect its increasing overseas influence.”

studio-pelham-9 …….studio-pelham-13


These copies are from 1962-63 and as you can see they still seem very contemporary. I bought these copies for $2 each in a dusty secondhand bookshop; my eye was attracted by the modern cover art – bold colours, simple forms and clean sans serif type. In contrast, the interior articles look very old – there is nothing so dated as an old art magazine.



Pelham was art editor for Studio International in the early 1960s before moving to Harpers Bazaar and later to Penguin in 1968 where he stayed foe eleven years.

Studio International 1963_David Pelham cover design


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