The Friday Face-Off: Groovy Baby


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe


Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell


Welcome to the Friday Face-Off where this week we’re featuring covers that are retro.

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) has had many, many covers; of which a great many (many) can be called ‘retro’ – choosing between them, therefore, was more than a little hard work! That is why this Friday we’re comparing the very first cover, published by Secker & Warburg in 1949, with the 2009 anniversary edition, published by Penguin UK – a genuinely retro cover vs. a cover which is retro in style! Scroll down to see which cover wins your vote!


Secker & Warburg | First British Edition, 1949 – Cover #1

Penguin UK | Anniversary Edition, 2009 – Cover #2

Cover Art by Jon Gray


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

The simplicity of the 1949 edition – the shades of green, the stylised handwriting of the title, the lack of imagery – actually really appeals to me. Simple and modern, this cover wouldn’t look out of place on my shelf today, even if it is lacking some of the artistry which is a frequent feature on more recent covers.

The 2009 edition however, is, to me, almost perfection. I love the blocky type, almost like a bloodied stamp – the white on red and the red on white. I love the illustrative pipes –  breaking and spearing the letters as the eye moves over the page. I love that it hearkens to the Soviet Russian posters of the 20th Century. I love the bloody scrawl on its reverse and the fact that the title can only be found on the spine. I love the boldness and the simplicity. Jon Gray’s 2009 edition is most definitely my winner.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Next week’s theme is:

There are too many steps in this castle, and it seems to me they add a few every night, just to vex me

A cover featuring a staircase

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


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14 thoughts on “The Friday Face-Off: Groovy Baby

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