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  • 06.27.17

A Design Student’s Brilliant, Terrifying Thesis On Trump’s Tweets

Falsehoods, fallacies, lies: Trump’s tweets are plucked straight from a dystopian novel. One graphic designer is underscoring the similarities with type.

George Orwell, author of the dystopian novel 1984, is probably rolling in his grave over the Trump presidency. The British writer’s cautionary, fictional tale about authoritarianism is an eerie mirror of today’s political landscape, where the government deliberately and unabashedly lies to its constituents, spreads propaganda, and renders citizens powerless.

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For her graduate project from London’s Central Saint Martins University, Emma King mixed fiction with reality. King rewrote passages from 1984 using excerpts from Trump’s Twitter account–of which he is a liberal user, sending over 35,000 tweets since he joined the platform in 2009.

[Image: Emma King]
“It was a struggle to narrow down all my thoughts into a project,” King, who just received her MA in communication design, said in a Central Saint Martins blog. “But then Trump began giving out ‘alternate facts’ and Orwell’s 1984 rose up the book charts. So, could I fit these two texts together in a way that would unite meaning but offer design authorship?”

King cherry-picked individual words from Trump’s tweets, highlighted them in red, and stacked them so they spelled out the book’s first chapter, almost like an acrostic poem. Her process decontextualizes and then recontextualizes Trump’s words–which in her mind, highlights his hypocrisy. “This juxtaposition of two texts reveals the ‘cult of personality’ and how language is used in propaganda to bury, disrupt, or present an alternative version of the truth,” King writes on her website.

Through her project, King articulates how Trump has basically cribbed his playbook from Orwell. See it in the slide show above.

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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