John Gall is the vice president and art director at Vintage/Anchor Books and designer of the latest cover of Vladimir Nobokov's Lolita.
John's work never fails to impress me. His book covers consistently strike me as emotional and profound. Everything he does deals with plurality of meaning, which to me is one of the essential elements in the creation of interesting, thought-provoking design.
I am familiar with his design for the cover of Lolita, but I am also familiar with the design that was abandoned. I am not in the know as to why, in fact, Mr. Gall is the Art Director so perhaps the decision was his alone to turn the lips on their correct side, horizontal and void of any deeper secondary meaning. To me, it is a dead idea. The lips as they currently sit are nothing but lips. Face lips, that is.
I find this so often in design. When an idea so ingenious and simple as John Gall's initial Lolita design is boiled down and rendered into something that we hope is palatable for the general public. Something that will not offend. I respect the fact that the initial idea was where his heart was, but it disappoints me to find another stroke of genius fall victim to the societal rules of what is and what is not acceptable.
You be the judge.