Nineteen Eighty-Four by Orwell

This binding is a gift. The person receiving it did not want the most special edition but just needed a hard cover edition of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. So I snagged a 1st editions late printing ex-library copy, brought it back to near fine or very good + condition… and tried my hand at designing a modernist artistic cover.

DSCN2476 copy

The face, Big Brother, is ubiquitous in Orwell’s Distopian novel. In the beginning the main character, Winston Smith, is feeling oppressed by the ever present police state represented by the poster of this man’s face. By the end of the novel he has been mentally, morally, and spiritually broken and adjusts to a deep reprogrammed state of love for the image. I tried really hard to create a theme on the cover that would represent the face clearly but minimize the human element to the barest essence. The face is unchanging but on the front cover is a waif of a representation of Winston in blue and on the back cover in red. Smith wears blue overalls in the novel as a sign of his political party affiliation. By the end of the novel he has become a true party member no longer plagued by thought crime… which I show as him becoming as red as the poster/face. I further carried the bare themes of a spike and square to the numbers of 1984 on the spine. This is not the title of the book, it is “Nineteen Eighty-Four” spelled out….but in order to keep the theme inhuman and representative of a controlled police state I stuck with the numbers made in the style of the figures. The color washes remind me of actual styles from the real time period of 1984. The colors are also representative of those commonly chosen in democratic governments, i.e. red, white, and blue…but perverted to red, black, and blue so as to show the warning present in Orwell’s book.