All images © Jessamine Payne 2017-2019

Case Study > Wallop Beer

Christian Payne, AKA Documentally, wanted to do something notable for the 10th #1984Symposium.  He commissioned me to design a label for a beer that had been specially brewed for the event.

Art Direction


The #1984Symposium had been created as a place for people to gather, picnic and discuss mass surveillance, consumer data and civil liberties.  The annual setting being the grave of Eric Arthur Blair, otherwise known as George Orwell. As the symposium was in it's 10th year and the Orwell Society was joining the gathering Christian wanted to mark the event with something special.

During research of Orwell, Christian had come across the beer that Orwell would have drunk - Simpson's dark mild.  Orwell also referred to a dark mild ale in his book '1984', naming it 'Wallop'. So Christian commissioned a home brew in the style of beer Orwell would have drank himself - a dark porter. What was needed next was a label that brought together the context of the symposium.



During my research I came across some of the famous quotes from the book 1984.  The one that Christian thought resonated most was “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.” I also looked at the varying book cover designs for 1984.  The original which was produced in 1949 had a green background with simple cream text.

The label was to be a rectangle with set dimensions so scamps were done using a scaled version of the rectangle. The idea that Christian wanted me to develop was a boot lifted off the floor with 'Wallop' on the sole.  The boot would be hovering over a group of protestors.  Christian also had the idea to use the laces to write the words 'home brew' which I thought was a great creative touch.

After sketching the boot and crowd in a bit more detail and using ink to create abstract figures I then scanned it all in to Adobe Illustrator to create vectors.

After digitising my artwork I went on to create the final design.  Texture was added throughout the various elements to give the label depth. Christian was keen to use a dark red and grey for the colours so I mocked this first version label on to a beer bottle to show him what it would look like. I also created two further designs using original 1984 book cover colourways and mocked these up too.



Christian then asked if we could produce two colourways for the labels and also provided me with the beer cap colour - a bright pinky read. I used this red to tie in two colourways for the labels and also created a neck label to co-ordinate with the main Wallop label. The labels went to print and a very stylish home brewed beer was presented to the symposium members including George Orwell's son.