Just in time to rack up some Valentine’s Day sales, Penguin has reissued a deluxe version of the Kama Sutra, with a cover featuring the naughty illustrated letterforms of Malika Favre.
Favre had been commissioned by Wallpaper* to create a salacious “pinup” alphabet for its 2009 Sex issue, but she didn’t initially think to revisit that approach for the ancient Hindu text. “My first thought were to refer to a traditional representation of the Kama Sutra and give it a modern twist,” the London-based artist tells Co.Design. “It took three rounds of sketches to finally nail the concept of the cover. Paul Buckley, the art director of the series, wasn’t buying into any of the initial ideas, and he was right.” The trick, Favre says, was to design a cover that was “edgy and cheeky, so it could appeal to their audience, without coming across as tamed or apologetic.”
We think she assumed the right position, delivering a colorful (yet still tasteful) departure from the standard, sheepish typographic treatments of the past. “The answer had to come from within, and no endless research would help coming up with the right solution. It took a couple of goes for me to really let go of my own inhibitions and taboos.”