Discovering fun retro designs of Vintage Covers & Posters resulted in an instant love affair in our editorial room. From “Wow, look at this!” to “Hahaha, this one’s even funnier!” and “I’M FUCKED, the cheeky bugger!” We couldn’t wait to get the answers to the questions that were burning holes in our in our T-shirts! A big hello to Klaas, a Dutch illustrator with a burgeoning Spreadshop!
Isn’t it great to have a poster shop as an outlet for your screwed-up mind? Where do you get your wicked humor from?
I really couldn’t tell you – I just can’t help it! Most of it just pops up when I see weird book covers. It must be some sort of abnormality in my brain. A ‘screwed up mind’ actually hit the nail on the head.
Your Spreadshop offers an ironic take on book covers and film posters from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. What’s your main source of inspiration?
It all started with Children keep asking me the same shit, a book that was originally titled ‘The Questions Children Ask’ – or something like that. The cover just evoked the idea of how children never stop asking you questions. The same questions, over and over again. Then I thought ‘this was fun, let’s see if I can do a few more’. This has turned into 239 (and counting) covers so far. I get them from various places, but mostly via bookstores that I follow on Instagram. I like calling it my #bookstagram.
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"Fuck Leg Day – I don't need any legs" — Legs? Where we're going we don't need 'legs' . A Vinco original (2019) . Prints available! Link in bio. . #legday #workout #fitness #skip #legs #leg #machine #space #scifi #sciencefiction #sf #book #books #bookcover #cover #coverart #coverdesign #vintage #novel #bookobsessed #vintage_covers #retro #spoof #parody #literature #nowreading #instabook #bookstagram
How do you feel about your retro designs? Are you in love or just taking the piss?
Both. I really like the way these old covers look. They are pieces of art! A lot of work went into them. Even the smallest, cheapest pulp books where beautifully drawn! Nowadays, people just slap a big font on a photo and that’s it. It’s almost like it’s no longer en vogue to put any effort into a nice-looking book cover (I know, there are exceptions).
Other than that, I love taking the piss. Seeing as most of these covers come from a more prudish time, they just invite mockery and satirism.
Hand on heart – did you create the poster designs yourself or nick them somewhere?
I create mock versions of existing book covers, and I take great pride in matching the original typefaces and subtle color-shifts and distortions. So yes: I created them. Some have said there’s no effort in it, by saying ‘you just changed the title’. These people don’t realize you don’t just change text on an existing image, not to mention coming up with the idea in the first place.
Having said that, I do also have a lot of what I call ‘Vinco Originals’ which are covers I made up, using existing (often non-book cover related) artwork. For example I Might Shit In Your Bed, or the Fruits that look like asses trilogy.
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"Fruits That Look Like Asses – The Plum" — Ah, the plum… Firm, yet sweet. . A VinCo original (2019) . #fruit #ass #bottom #buttocks #plum #shitweeat #series #vinco_original #book #books #bookcover #cover #coverart #coverdesign #vintage #novel #bookobsessed #vintage_covers #retro #spoof #parody #instabook #bookstagram
Can you just alter old book covers and movie posters or are they copyrighted?
It’s complicated, but the EU and US copyright acts (among others) provide a specific exception for the use for parody (see https://www.copyrightuser.org/understand/exceptions/parody-pastiche/), which my work clearly is. I do spoofs and parodies of existing book covers. This has caused me a lot of headaches with the Spreadshirt legal team 😉
What’s the design your most proud of and why?
That’s a very hard question, like having to choose between your children. Some are a lot of fun to make, but then they don’t perform well. And with others I think ‘this is just too easy and silly’, and they end up performing best. If I had to pick one, it’d be the one that started it all: Children keep asking me the same shit.
How do you come up with your text ideas? Are you a natural gutter mouth?
I guess I am. I’ve been on the internet for a long time and have had a few virals to my name. So I can pretend I know what I’m doing. But it’s amazing to notice the difference between a cover with and without curse words. If there’s a curse word in it, it will probably perform at least twice as well!
You specialize in posters. Do you not feel like expanding your product range?
My work is most suited for posters, simply due to the aspect ratio of the images. They can mostly be printed on shirts and sweaters. And I’m certainly considering transforming some popular designs into more free flowing designs that are more suitable for apparel.
Who are your followers? Do you have any idea who buys your posters?
I really don’t! I advertise the Spreadshop on my website vintage-covers.com, but I have not the faintest idea who buys them. Of course, I understand the people buying them. They look fabulous, and mostly only review their dirty secret upon closer inspection 😉
Talking about followers: How do you reach out to them? Heaps of paid marketing?
Nope, almost entirely organic. I started with a simple Tumblr blog (which is still the basis of my website) and moved to Instagram when it gained followers. The correct use of hashtags got me on to the people who like this stuff. Well, at least that’s what I think happened. From there, it summersaulted into a snowball effect.
Do you reinvest a lot of the dough you make into your Spreadshop? Some say at least 10% is necessary.
I really don’t get as much dough as you may think, but most of it goes back into stuff like domain&hosting costs and software licenses. Oh, and into my Spotify premium subscription!
How does your music get you creative?
I do listen to music while creating, but there’s no specific genre or playlist I use. The process always starts with coming across an image that I immediately have an idea for. I don’t stare at images, trying to elicit an idea. It needs to be spontaneous. Then I do my best to find as high a resolution image of that specific cover, or I scale it up using free AI up-scalers such as waifu2x. Then I fire up Adobe Photoshop and start working. I solely use Photoshop for all my work, I know it inside out and can accomplish almost anything with it.
Any tips for blossoming Spreadshop owners out there?
Just start already! Most of your time is wasted on thinking about how to get started or worrying that you’re not good or original enough. Just do it, and don’t be overly critical with yourself!
Famous last words?
Buy Vintage Covers Posters — you won’t regret it.