Book Lovers Favourite Covers – Ariane Spanier
by Jon Dowling·
What better way to start the week, than with a great edition to our ongoing exploration into designers and their favourite book covers. This week we have the hugely talented Ariane Spanier, who has chosen the Swedish edition of '1984' by George Orwell, which was published by Bra Böcker in 1984. Here she describes, in her own words, what makes it so special.
"I came across this book just two years ago, in a small second hand store of the Swedish red cross, in an even smaller town in Sweden, during a summer holiday. It jumped to my eye immediately and I only bought it for the cover. The German copy, that I have read as a teenager, looked rather generic (nothing like the story, which I have read many times), so I was surprised and very pleased finding this one. I had no idea there existed all these ‘eye’-covers for ‘1984’ by George Orwell.
While it’s utterly difficult to pick a favorite book cover, this one really burned itself into my head. It’s not one that lived with me for a long time, I don’t share a history with it, where over time I would have compared it secretly with other books and proved its ability to still be my favorite. But it would easily hold up to that comparison, would I have owned it back then. It is one that made a big impression on me because it is actually from 1984 and it's looks are so strong and contemporary to me. The use of the inside spaces of the numbers as eyes, is as simple and concentrated as you can make a book cover. Obviously, it’s the cheapest trick ever – eyes on the cover. Nothing really can go wrong with that.
The designers and the (eye) illustrator might have taken the idea with the eyes, to some extent, from previous editions – at least some older ‘1984’ covers exist that used eyes as well. But in favor of the creators, I have to say, this one was pushed as far as it goes.
This book always looks back at you, from which ever angle you look at it.
But it's not only the eyes, it's the simple connection of the title ‘1984’ and the eyes and its boldness. It makes the most use of space on the book cover, no bullshit allowed. The big brother is definitely watching you, or me in this case. Whenever you put eyes on something, it becomes alive, so here we see really creepy one-eyed-creatures that could cause some nightmares. They also seem to lurk from the dark, from some kind of abyss. You know they are there. Someone is there, always. You almost hear the breathing.
What makes it even creepier and better therefore, is the way the eyes are drawn, it's a photorealistic illustration, it's not a simplified eye that cleans the design up, in terms of shapes and form and abstraction. There is a weird discrepancy (lets call it a ‘well played contrast’ in style) between the shape of the numbers, bold, flat, bulky and the rather fine lined, colored and detailed eyes.
These eyes look like they would blink any moment, while you look away for a second, always there to observe. The story of '1984' is more valid than ever today, as is the realization that we cannot be fully alone anymore, anywhere."
Ariane Spanier Design
Ove Pihl/ Kristina Lundqvist,