Postertext's Literary Wall Art

By Aaron Britt / Published by Dwell
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What bibliophile, understanding that he maybe ought not cover all the walls of his apartment with shelves of books and stacks of journals, hasn't then moved onto classic book covers as his next best form of decor? I'm guilty myself, and as I type these words I think lovingly on the framed Alvin Lustig-designed cover for Kafka's Amerika that sits over the hifi and between (you guessed it) two towering bookshelves. How happy I am to have run across Postertext, another way to proclaim my love of books in poster form, but not in any fashion I've seen before.

Postertexts, instead of reproducing dashing covers, makes the text of the book itself the focus. Granted, it's rendered in microtype, but taken as a design element on its own, it offers a range of possibilities that are at once literary and abstract. 

The images rendered in columns of tiny type serve as iconic images for the book (I love Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice facing away from one another but still holding hands) but in the main the designers at Postertext don't beat you over the head with what you're looking at.

For the Ulysses cover we see little more than a silhouette of Leopold Bloom with his shadow trailing behind him. Crime and Punishment gets a rather more macabre treatment, but there's still a bit of insider knowledge needed to decipher which text we're looking at.

For the unpretentious Americans out there keen on getting across their stalwart taste without any literary guessing games, opt for Moby Dick. If the lobtailing flukes of the great white whale don't announce themselves with Melvillian gusto to your dinner party guests, consider inviting a different crowd.

All told, I'm quite taken with these posters, and insofar as they run in the $20-$40 range they make a charming, inexpensive addition to any modern pad. Better yet, hang one over junior's crib. Maybe you'll make a novelist of him.

Aaron Britt


Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.

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