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Shakespeare Cool: The 13 Best Othello Book Cover And Poster Designs

GRAPHICS FOR SHAKESPEARE'S OTHELLO: Here are my favourite 13 book cover and poster designs for William Shakespeare's famous play, selected from 400 years of imagery.

TODAY, SHAKESPEARE GRAPHICS are as important as the words they promote in enticing new audiences to the Bard's plays. I have selected the 13 coolest from 400 years of artwork. By Ben Arogundade.

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GRAPHIC PRESENTATION is perhaps more important now than it was in playwright William Shakespeare's day, before the advent of photography. Since then, modern theatre productions and printed editions of all of the Bard's plays have emphasized the importance of eye-catching design in capturing the attention of potential patrons. With this in mind I have selected my favourite 13 coolest Othello book covers from a shortlist of hundreds, stretching back to the early 17th century. I have avoided what I call 'standard' Shakespeare book cover designs — the ones that simply feature straightforward images or portraits of lead characters in traditional Elizabethan costume.

Interestingly, overall, the best work was in poster design rather than book covers. Indeed, the only book cover I have included here is the original text-only inside flap of the printed second quarto of Othello, dated 1630. It was gratifying that two or three of my choices came from young designers, who were students at the time, producing work on spec for their projects. As more and more groundbreaking interpretations of Othello continue to appear, the future looks bright for the next round of cool visuals.

THE SHAKESPEARE MASHUP by Ben Arogundade is out now.

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NEW THEORY:
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Laurence Olivier Played Othello In Blackface During Civil Rights. What Was He Thinking?

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If Shakespeare Wrote 'Othello' Now, Would A Pair Of Panties Replace The Handkerchief?

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Shakespeare And Race: Is Othello Really Black?

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THIS MONTH'S PICK

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1997 - PATRICK STEWART PLAYS WHITE OTHELLO

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The Sexual Language of Strangers
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THE CULTURE OF SHAKESPEARE

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