Different interpretations

three book cover designs for Nineteen Eighty-Four

I love going to bookstores. Since much of my professional life has been spent doing graphic design, I love seeing how other graphic designers interpret the themes of books.

Lately, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been a popular book in the United States. The current political situation has caused some to think of the world depicted in that novel. (You’ll get no commentary on me about that, at least at this point. I’m really burned out on politics.)

I enjoyed finding three different paperback versions of the novel on the bookshelves of The Tattered Cover. Each one is very dissimilar. And they have three varying price tags: $9.99, $16 and $17.I did not take the time to discover the creators’ names, but I’d guess that there are three different artists.

I did not take the time to discover the creators’ names, but I’d guess that there are three different artists.

My favorite is the mostly white cover, which seems the most modern. (And again, I didn’t research the publication dates.)

It’s fascinating to me how different people interpret the same thing in such varied ways. I’d guess that there must be at least 100 different covers for that famous novel, that was published in 1949.

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Support your local artist

drawing of hipster balloon man

This great drawing was on the wall of an indie coffee house in San Antonio, Texas. (For those of you down in that neck of the woods, it was Local Coffee.)

I could have served you up a photo of the balloon man — but that wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting. (Photos can be fascinating — I’m not knocking photography!)

Sadly, I didn’t get the name of the artist. None of the artwork on that bulletin board was for sale (and the drawings were fairly small).


You can get art for your walls for way less money than you think. Here are some ideas for creatively obtaining real art to add more life to your living space:

  1. Visit your local high school. There’s bound to be artwork in the display cases and on the walls. If you like the work of a particular artist, ask the art teacher if you can commission a special piece of art by that young artist.
  2. Tour your town’s arts district. If your city is too small to have any galleries, be prepared the next time you visit the big city. Do research to find the area with the highest concentration of galleries.
  3. Avoid expensive big name artist galleries in posh touristy towns. (Yes, Aspen, I’m thinking of you.) Large metropolitan areas often have an arts district where you can visit a wide array of galleries.
  4. Find out when and where community artists have their annual or semi-annual shows.
  5. Make friends with an artist. They may sell you some of their “out-takes” art for less than their top-shelf works.
  6. If you know someone with latent artistic skill, encourage them to get back into their craft — and share some with you!

Go forth and get good art.

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The price of individuality

rear view of a Jeep with giant wheels

$3,700.

Or more.

That figure is what this Jeep owner paid to have gigantic wheels and tires. He (or she) sits head and shoulders above many of the teeming masses below.

Besides the added financial cost, they pay the price for this privilege in several other ways:

  1. Reduced fuel economy
  2. Increased road noise
  3. Reduced number of off-road trails that can be accessed, due to the massive width
  4. Reduced top speed
  5. Increased opportunities to end up head-over-heels, due to a much higher center of gravity
  6. Greatly reduced visibility out the rear-view mirror
  7. Inaccurate speed readings from the speedometer
  8. Scaring drivers that are faint of heart

Is it worth the extra cost? I’m sure the owner thinks so.

My take? Buy a large bumper sticker that expresses your individuality.

My vehicle? No added exterior content. No bumper stickers. (I express my individuality in other ways — like by writing this.)

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Looking for the upside

the road that got worse

Sometimes things in life don’t get better. Or they do, but not on our timetable.

I ride my bicycle to work once or twice a week. My bike’s skinny tires and thin rims transmit variations in the road surface very accurately to my palms and rear end.

During the past four months, the city of Centennial tore up a road that’s part of my commute. It was much better before the destruction than after.

Maybe they will repave the whole road, but I am not expecting that to happen anytime soon.

So it is in our lives… injuries happen. We lose our jobs. People leave. Things happen that are the exact opposite of what we’d choose.

And then situations don’t always change the way we’d like.

But all is not lost. Sometimes we grow stronger because of a difficult situation.

One of the most inspiring people I know has a physical challenge that makes communication difficult. But she has not let that get in her way. She runs circles around many people who don’t face the challenges she does.

I’m not going to say, “Look for the silver lining.” You might be so deep in your challenge that a silver lining is not even on the far horizon.

One reality that I’ve found is God’s way of fixing stuff that appears unfixable. Ask God. Why not… what do you have to lose? (My caveat is that God is not a magic button that you push to get instant results. God’s timetable is usually different than ours.)


As to bad roads, one upside was remembering that the worst roads in Centennial, Colorado, are better than the best roads in some other places I’ve lived.


And one of the silver linings in my life is my son Ben. Today is his 21st birthday. Things got better when he arrived. (Sometimes it does get better.)

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