Legenda is launching its new Visual Culture series with what we hope we can say is an ambitious slate of five opening titles. This is number 2, and the others are here, here, here, and here; you can also read the series announcement or meet the editors.

Karel Teige, the subject of Peter Zusi's new book, is one of those enormously influential figures who is nevertheless hard to put in any clear category. The snippet summary of this blog post says he is a "designer" and an "art theorist", but it could just as easily have opted for "graphic artist", "avant-garde icon" or at a pinch even "architect". Perhaps the unfashionable word "genius" would not be out of place.

Teige was, not least, a designer of book covers — and like Saul Bass, the great Hollywood movie title sequence designer, Teige was instrumental in making a recognisable artistic genre out of what might previously have seemed mundane and merely functional. You've probably never held an actual Teige design in your hands, and yet you have certainly held many books with covers after Teige. Those faintly schematic boxes, laid out like a modernist wiring diagram, are far from Teige's only trick, but they remain recognisable and highly imitable today. And as our own modest contribution to the vast sea of Teige-like covers which have been designed in the last century, here now is Peter's own cover:

The Integrity of the Avant-Garde: Karel Teige and the Biography of an Ambition

The Integrity of the Avant-Garde is due out in our Visual Culture series in 2022.

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