"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut | Skillshare Projects

Scott Tsuchiyama

Interaction Designer



"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut

For my short story, I decided to use "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut. It's a dystopian satire focused on the idea of equality taken to extremes. In the story, the American government accomplishes equality of all its citizens by forcing the beautiful to mask their faces, the intelligent to constantly listen to jarring noises to impair their mental abilities, and the strong to wear weights to impede their movement. The full text of the story is available here.

In annotating the story, I pulled out a number of ideas I wanted to test out: equality/balance, television (it plays a large role in the story), force, violence, and noise (both sound and visual).

I sketched out a number of different ideas based on those themes, and tried playing around with visuals that combined them in different ways.

To me, the most compelling idea was one of "forced balance." I wanted to create a cover that displayed symmetry, but in a really uneasy way, to mirror the way the characters in the book are made "equal" by stripping down or washing out any of their exceptional qualities. I settled on this concept below, using paper people cutouts. One of them is different -- slightly larger, fewer creases/folds in the paper -- and his head has been leveled off equal to the others by pretty severe means :)

UPDATE 11/04/14:

I made a few tweaks based on some feedback from Matt and Rosana, and really like where this ended up. I made sure to "level off" the feet as well as the head of the special paper person. I also left the extra pieces which, as mentioned by Rosana, definitely adds a level of violence that's appropriate to the story.


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