Judging Books By Their Covers: 1984 Round Up

I’ve decided to start this series with a few covers from the classic George Orwell book 1984.

Penguin Cover 2

The First Cover is by Penguin Books.  The title is blacked out with the letters being printed in a slightly more glossy black ink.  This perfectly represents both the profession of our main character and the ideas of censorship/control represented in the book.

I completely disagree with their choice to put the GIANT “Penguin Books” logo and penguin illustration on the front of the book.  It takes a great idea and puts extra junk on top of it.  I think placing the publisher information ANYWHERE else would have been a much better option.  I also believe that despite the censor bars being a great idea it could have been better if it were more organic.  I think it would have had a better effect if the censor bar looked like black marker to strengthen the parallel between the cover and the theme of the book.

Signet Classic Cover

The second cover is done by Signet Classic.  I absolutely love the stark white cover.  This drew me to this cover when I was wandering around the local book store.  It has a strong contrast when compared to other books on the shelf.  The typography helps strengthen this design because it is very clean as well.

My complaints with this cover are similar to the Penguin Books cover.  It places the publisher right on the front.  I’m not a frequent reader but I believe fully that most people do not buy books because of their publisher.  Why is the publisher considered so important that it deserves to be on the front cover?!


This is the last cover in the round up.  You’ll notice that the publisher information is NOT on the cover!  This book cover is my personal favorite.  The 1984 is made up of tiny illustrations of eyes to tie into that big brother mentality that is one of the main themes of the book.  It is also uses very clean type that helps contrast the fuzziness of the 1984.  The extra information “A Novel,” and “60th Anniversary Edition” helps balance everything across the entire cover.

My only complaint with this cover is that 1984 breaks the box built with “60th Anniversary Edition” and “George Orwell.”  Sometimes it’s a good thing to break the grid to create interest, but this time it’s just barely outside of the box and looks like a mistake.

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