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Who has not read George Orwell’s most famous book Nineteen Eighty-Four? This book title is continuously in print! The above shown book cover is, in my opinion, a rather stodgily designed one though. This British hardbound 1974 edition was printed in Finland. The cover designer(s) listed as “Format”, is (are) not known to me.

We are just looking at the design of the book cover in this post not the book content. Of course, these are purely my observations from a discerning eye’s viewpoint. So lets compare the visual impact on the above cover with the one shown below. It is a Dutch softcover edition published by the Arbeiderspers in 1971. The book cover design is by Kees Kelfkens, and although it uses a similar brown background it creates much more excitement with the large somewhat faded on purpose black letters.

img_0024The back cover is easy to read and contains a photograph from the Orwell Archives.

img_0025A different design approach is applied by the Dutch Publisher Meulenhoff in the Netherlands to several editions of Orwell’s books.

The book covers of these softcover editions follow a well designed approach.img_0028Above shown is a second printing dated 1983 in Dutch, the first appeared in 1973. This is a translation of the 1936 book with the title Keep the Apisdistra Flying  perhaps one of the lesser read books by Orwell.

img_0027A fourth printing edition (1983) of a book (Down and Out in Paris and London) which appeared in the Netherlands in 1970 and was originally published in 1933.

img_0026A second printing of 1983 in Dutch with the first Dutch one listed as 1975. (Burmese Days), the original text was published in 1934.

Looking at the above covers and unfortunately no design credit is given here by the publisher, it is obvious what a well thought out design and layout will do for a book. I personally prefer the Dutch 1984 (third photo from the top), but it would be hard to imagine a design concept that could be applied and recognized based on those numerous editions alone in subsequent books. Case closed!

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