Nineteen Eighty-four

4 Jun

Read about this design at Greater Than or Equal To and at The Book Design Review.

See another recent design of the 1984 cover here and read about it at The Book Cover Archive and The Penguin Blog.

This cover, designed for Penguin by gray318, stood out to me for two reasons. The first was because of the limited but bold use of colour: I notice that a lot of effective and eye-catching covers employ only one colour plus black and white and I thought this cover was a particularly good example of such use. I think red works really well as the extra colour. It’s bright, and it’s emotive. I know that it’s a colour combination I’m drawn to, and I’m guessing because of the prevalence of its use, it’s a combination a lot of people are drawn to as well.

The second reason I found this cover of interest in terms of design was the fact that its text is a quote, rather than the title of the book or the author. This prompted me to ask myself: how well known does a book have to be before you can do a cover of it without its title or even its author on it? And is leaving off a title and author as well known as Orwell and Nineteen Eighty-four taking too much of a risk? Are they what are going to sell the book, or are people looking for a new twist on a classic?

Personally, I love this cover. I love that it’s taking a risk. I feel like it’s saying more about the book inside than it could have done if it had the title emblazoned across the front. I feel like it’s offering a fresh perspective on something I’ve already seen a hundred times. And, given the comments on the links I’ve included, I think most people would agree with me.

I’m also a fan of the end papers. Again, it’s the detail. I like seeing space used in a way that reinforces the book as an object as well as a story.


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