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The two books of Robert M. Pirsig have been milestones for Design theory through the development of a Metaphysics of Quality. This article analysis the design history of his two books that have been in print for more than 40 years. The editions range from cheap mass market paperbacks to gilded collectors hardcovers. The underlying challenge for all book designs has been to capture Pirsig’s philosophical ideas in a visually attractive and meaningful way. This study also shows the publishing market consolidation. The book has been published and printed by many imprints and printers that have lost their independence. This results in a confusing number of reprints that occasionally fail to receive unique ISBN numbers. Moreover, the advertised editions are often not represented with their accurate cover design which can be traced back to imprecise stock photo databases.
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