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elective 2 | khyati trehan

the beauty of scientific diagrams

colophon Type set in Adobe Jenson Pro, designed by Robert Slimbach

document dimensions A5: 148mm x 210mm (closed)

elective 2

the beauty of scientific diagrams An experiment in taking form integration to scientific diagrams and briefly studying the history of science. student: khyati trehan GDPD Graphic Design '10

guide: Mr. Rupesh Vyas

contents project proposal original idea process

1 2 4

phase one: research who invented what? why diagrams? domain of study sources of information

5 8 9 10 12

phase two: visual intervention skeletons modifying diagrams

13 15 18

phase three: design development and visual language basic vector line arts context and visual language references for visual language technique: stippling colour illustration treatment layouts final layout

35 37 40 42 44 47 48 50 54

phase four: execution extension

57 71


73 74 75 77

reflections bibliography acknowledgments

project proposal


here are several questions and lives of scientists, theories, inventhat have intrigued us since tions and discoveries and simplify comthe dawn of humanity. The plex mechanisms for myself, making story of our search to answer those them easier to remember. I also wish questions is the story of science. Of to pay a tribute to the great and the almost all human endeavours, science familiar, as well as the great but relhas had the greatest impact on our atively unfamiliar scientists. Bringing lives. Great science happens when bril- lettering and typography into the picliant minds collide with new discover- ture will also give me insights on strucies and tools at specific points in time. ture and form. These intriguing and sometimes quirky insights are summarized as diagrams target audience that find themselves to be an indispen- The target audience could be anyone sable part of the history of science. The who is interested in science and appremerger of the creative and the intel- ciates the beauty of diagrams. lectual, design and science, is the idea of a diagram. process • Collection of information and underobjective standing key events, scientists and genThe aim of the project is to explore sci- eral history of several fields of study entific diagrams and take form inte- within science. • Analysis and synthegration to more complex territories sis of data. Zeroing down on diagrams than the ones ventured in before, in who’s underlying structure resembles courses at nid. The project is there- that of initials of scientists responsifore a skill-based one that will look at ble for that diagram. • Design develexperimenting with typography, letter- opment and visual language/style deciing and illustration, paying tribute to sion-making. • Execution of design. the history of science.

scope During the course of this project, I hope to learn about the contribution

project proposal | 1

original idea Fig.(Below) Comparison of 'W' with the blood circulation diagram and the process behind the William Harvey poster.


he prevailing idea that the project stems from is something I'd done in the past. The course was Advanced Graphic design, and the brief was to make posters, one on a designer (I chose Evelin Kasikov, a young designer that mixes embroidery with typography) and the other on a non-designer. Around the time this assignment was given to us, I happened to be reading a book called the 'Ten beautiful experiments' and was stuck at a chapter about 'William Harvey', a physician who explained blood circulation accurately. Before this, blood was thought to flow to and fro like tides. Even though the chapter was simplifying explanation, making the content digestive for the lay man, it was difficult to visualize the positions of pulmonary veins and the aorta and so on, within the diagram to understand circulation correctly. For this, I was referring to heart diagrams till I found one that looked a lot like the infinity symbol. From assignments in letter integration throughout the course of Basic graphic design, I remember trying to look for recognizable skeletons and negative spaces of

2 | project proposal

letterforms, one of which was the letter 'W' that could be stretch to form the infinity symbol. I mentally combined these two occurrences to integrate W, the initial of William Harvey, and the blood circulation diagram that Harvey discovered, arriving at a solution for the 2nd assignment of a poster on a nondesigner. This was more complex than the form integrations we've done in the past; those involved fairly simple pairs of forms. The Harvey poster involved integration of a letterform and an entire structure or a system that a diagram is. This poster stayed with me even while I was working on other projects and assignments. The poster's onset and execution was a matter of two days and I wanted to do justice to the core idea, making it fit to be taken ahead as the 2nd elective to make a family of letters. The task of arriving at 26 letters seemed daunting, knowing that it is close to looking for a double coincidence of wants (like in barter system); the skeleton of the initial of the scientist should be similar to the diagram that they made, and the diagram should have a structure similar to that of the letter concerned, or be flexible enough to fit it into the mould of the letterform.


process Fig.(Right) Charting out the process to be followed during the project.

4 | project proposal

phase one research

phase one | 5


he first phase of the project was the most time consuming and also the most enriching as it required me to dive into books and documentaries. The science of most of today's fundamental principles all had unassuming beginnings, whether it was Faraday discovering electromagnetism or Bernoulli discovering the equation that now bears his name. I looked at the most influential and pivotal contributors and contributions that shaped Science over the last two thousand years. Including the research done through the course of this project would amount to rewriting books. My methodology was broken into two variants, keeping the objective of the project in mind. The first included generating lists: alphabetically ordered scientists and discoverers. I studied their respective discoveries, inventions patents, theories and dug for diagrams, I'd break into phase two of the project and consider comparing the diagrams with the initials of the scientists to look for opportunities of form integration, then return to looking at the lists for other scientists. The 2nd methodology was more free-flowing and involved immersing myself into fundamental theories of physics and chemistry through films and books, as lists

found online don't cover all contributions made to science and exclude the role of power, proof and passion played in the story of science. Even though the project dealt with what scientists did and not who they were, insights into their lives revealed stories of those diagrams, the possible train of thoughts running through the scientists' minds at the time of the invention or discovery, and the instruments used at that time. A set of 26 letters, and diagrams suggested that I'd have to pick 26 scientists that have made the most significant contributions to science. But arriving at a letter-diagram was not based on choice but what you find after extensive research. One of the things I kept in mind was that, much like the William Harvey poster, I would make working models and not just suggestive posters. If they were to be animated, the diagram should be self explanatory.

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w h o i n v e n t e d w h at ? “In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not the man to whom the idea first occurs. ”­ —Charles Darwin


of Sprengel pump) and high resistance that made power-distribution economically viable. Because of this perplexity, I could not include the diagram in this project, however tempting it was due to its simplicity. This was just one example. It seems that no diagram is solely authored by its creator – it takes a culmination of centuries of accumulated knowledge to arrive at something.

t is quite difficult to attribute an invention or a discovery to only one person. The whole history of science is often told as a series of eureka moments and the ultimate triumph of the rational mind. But the truth is the problem: that power, passion,rivalry and blind This project counts in choosing one chance have played equally significant inventions and fitting it into one iniparts. The best example to accompany tial, thereby attributing it to only one this statement would be the knowledge individual. This doesn't accord with of Thomas Edison as the inventor of the history of the subject I intended the light bulb. to immerse myself to. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Period. Most authors and histo- the solution: rians would beg to differ. He modified I dug into patent drawings and versions the invention for mass production and of the inventors. Leeuwenhoek was not was the 1st to form a lighting system, the first to invent a microscope. But the thereby bringing light to homes. This version he constructed with his own contribution has proven to be large hands and submitted patents of, holds enough to overshadow the work of pre- him credible enough to be called the vious inventors, which lists to about father of microbiology. Notice that this 22 in number (according to historians diagram looks nothing like the microRobert Friedel and Paul Israel). Edi- scope we know through our textbooks. son's version was able to outstrip the In short, I tried to dig up the original, others because of an effective incandes- which, sadly enough was far from an cent material, higher vacuum (by use easy task.

8 | phase one

why diagrams?


n the book The Culture of Diagram, a diagram includes “reductive renderings, usually carried out as drawings, using few if any colours; they are generally supplemented with notations keyed to explanatory captions, with parts correlated by means of a geometric notational system." In effect, a diagram is any idea made visual. It is where the intellectual and the creative meet. We have so become accustomed to diagrams we hardly notice them, or appreciate them for what they do for us. They span from family trees, maps, pie charts to architectural floor plans, cave paintings and line graphs. The discipline of study that finds diagrams close to indispensable, is science. Diagrams serve as a tool to aid scientists in making enormously complex calculations and to simplify even more complex theories and mechanisms for others. But one of the greatest powers of a diagram is that it can pass on ideas.

Fig.(Left) Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man

Fig.(Bottom) Copernicus' heliocentric diagram

phase one | 9

domain of study


s I kept sketching alongside, I realized that there was a variety of visual language going around in terms of the form that the diagrams had. For example, diagrams that fell under biology were organic compared to the diagrams of physics, chemistry and other extensions of the two that were more mechanical visually. After narrowing down on sketches

10 | phase one

and options, I was left with very few biological diagrams and quite a few related to physics and chemistry. In the family of letter drawings that involved mechanical styles, organic letters seems out-of-place. A set aims to be at the same level, which is why I took the decision of omitting biology from the list of categories.

Fig.(Below) Brain-storming sheets charting out domains of study, process, time lines of process and style.

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s o u r c e s o f i n f o r m at i o n I selectively collected a list of relevant films and documentaries for a more free flowing form of research. Below is a list.

the beauty of diagrams Documentary It is a BBC series in which mathematician Marcus du Sautoy explores the stories behind some of the most familiar scientific diagrams. The six episodes cover: • Pioneer Plaque,a diagram placed on a space probe to explain mankind to et life • dna and the diagram of the double helix • Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man • Copernicus's diagram of a suncentred universe • Newton's Prism • Florence Nightingale's diagram of the importance of better hospital sanitation.

12 | phase one

physics, chemistry, top 10 discoveries of all time, astronomy, biology and genetics.

the story of science: power, proof and passion Documentary Michael Mosley, a journalist explains how knowledge of science has grown over time. The series explains some of the great figures in the history of science - Galileo, Newton and Darwin but also of the astronomer who lost his nose in a duel but helped create a new vision of the cosmos and the alchemist who tried to make gold from human urine, and set us on the course to modern chemistry.

100 greatest discoveries

great lives from history: inventors and inventions

TV Mini-series


Bill Nye hosts a series that highlights the greatest scientific discoveries of all time, from the earliest time to the present day. The series features nine episodes. These include subjects such as evolution, the earth sciences, medicine,

The book written by Abbas ibn Firnas and Philip Emeagwali contributes indepth critical essays on important men and women in all areas of achievement, from around the world and throughout history.

phase two v i s ua l intervention

phase two | 13



hase two finally brought in visuals to the project as it involved investigating diagrams, breaking them down into components and mechanisms, playing with the frame of diagram and exploring possibilities of modifying or extending the frame to fit the skeleton of the initial of the scientist. A letterform begins with a skeleton, or a single line frame of the alphabet, which is later fleshed out with a certain contrast flow. The skeleton determines the width of the letter, the x-height, and the general proportions of components of each letter. Its the difference between the skeletons that makes typefaces characteristically different from each other. The study of skeleton helped understand the extent to which a diagram would need to be modified, so that the desired letter becomes recognizable.

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Fig.(Left) Exploring skeletons of all upper case alphabets.

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modifying diagrams Fig.(Below) Ampère's force law: Force of attraction or repulsion between two currentcarrying wires.

18 | phase two


o integrate a letterform and a diagram, it was necessary to modify the diagram to a certain extent; so that the skeleton of the diagram matched that of the letter. This modification could easily turn into a mutation of the diagram, rendering it meaningless. To avoid this, I had to study the diagram's mechanism, read the patents submitted by the scientists concerned, look for user manuals and instructions and of course, understand the theoretical bits that had to do with the experiment. This way, it was easier to gauge which part of the diagram could be trifled with, without changing the observations and conclusions of the experiment/mechanism the diagram illustrated. For example, Anton Van Leeuwenhoek's single lens microscope gave him the honour of being the 1st ever man to observe cells, or animalcules, as he termed them. The main parts of the device are the spoke, where the specimen is mounted and the observer is, where the bead sized lens is fixed. The rest of the body of the instrument is used to adjust position of the two main parts mentioned above, so as to bring the animalcules into focus. The arm is

used for mounting the instrument on a platform, to make peaking through the lens and steady adjustments possible. Therefore, the instrument would be unaffected in terms of its function if the arm was extended till if formed the horizontal stroke of L: the initial of Leeuwenhoek. The aim was to find form integration solutions for all letters from A to Z. However, since the find depended on if the diagram could be stretched to make a letter, it was difficult to find scientists with the initials of their last names with X and Q. As for the only other letter missing in the character set, P had least number of scientists to choose from under its belt. Unfortunately, most of these scientists were theoretical scientists such as Planck, Priestley etc and their experiments did not involve elaborate diagrams.

Fig.(Left) Diagrams of Aristarchus and Archimedes.

Fig.(Below) Diagrams of Robert Boyle and Alexander Graham Bell.

The diagrams illustrate the findings of André-Marie Ampère, a French physicist and mathematician. Each wire generates a magnetic field and the other wire experiences a Lorentz force as a consequence. Other sketches include Aristarchus of Samos who tried to measure the distances to and sizes of the Sun and Moon. The diagram of Archimedes' invention of the first water-screw was taken forward because of its form and ingenuity. Diagrams of scientists starting with a 'B' included Alexander Graham bell, the engineer credited with inventing the first practical telephone, and Boyle's the Law of Ideal gases for (which he remains most famous for). Robert Boyle's diagram included two containers, much like the ‘bowls’ of the letter B and so the diagram after modification fit well into the skeleton.

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Fig.(Right) Marie Curie's diagram of alpha decay of polonium.

Fig.(Below) The works of Descartes, Daguerre, Disney, and Doppler.

20 | phase two

Marie Curie obviously made it to the list, being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for her work with radioactivity. The polonium atom fits into the ball terminal of the C. The scientists starting with a D included Louis Daguerre for his daguerreotype, one of the first processes of photography, Walt Disney famous for his animations and the invention of multiplane camera, Louis Descartes, who came up with the Cartesian plane we use so often in geometry. However, the work of Christian Doppler and the Doppler effect was the most intriguing amongst the lot.

Euclid, the Greek mathematician is referred to as the Father of Geometry. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics. Below are some diagrams from the same book, outlining proofs involving parallel line, given that the letter E itself is made from three parallel lines

and so such diagrams would work well. Edison's lesser known invention is the phonograph, which evolved to become the gramophone. Modifying such a diagram was more challenging. At the end, I arrived at more intricate forms, vis-avis Euclid's simple line diagrams. Fig.(Left) Euclid's geometrical proofs and Edison's phonograph.

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Fig.(Right) Works of Enrico Fermi and Michael Faraday.

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Competitors for the classification of F involved Enrico Fermi, the Italian physicist who innovated the nuclear reactor and won the Nobel prize for physics, and Michael Faraday, who's experiments in physics and chemistry have become common ideas in physics. Faraday made one of his greatest discoveries—electromagnetic induction: the "induction" or generation of

electricity in a wire by means of the electromagnetic effect of a current in another wire. To modify the diagram of the principle, wires took the place of horizontal stroke of the letter F, the stem was broken into coils and the end serifs took shape into the galvanometer and the battery.

The first name that comes to minds with G is Galileo. The Italian physicist's achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and the pendulum. I attempted to take the pendulum forward to fit G but it did not work well. Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press caused a revolution and his contribution is hard to ignore. The modification resulted in an expressive diagram rather than a working model, though the form was

interesting so I took it ahead. For the letter H, I settled on Hero of Alexandria, the Greek mathematician. He developed many mechanical machines that had practical uses. They included a water organ, fire engine, and the Aeolopile. The latter device was the earliest known steam-powered engine, which was a rotary steam engine that consisted of one sphere mounted on a boiler and having two canted nozzles that produced a rotary motion from the escaping steam. Fig.(Left) G for Galileo's pendulum and Gutenberg's printing press.

Fig.(Left) A few innovations of Hero of Alexandria, including the aeolopile.

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Fig.(Right) Jacob's staff, Joule's experiment of the mechanical equivalent of heat, and Jansky satellite which was used to discover cosmic rays. Sumio Iijuma's carbon nanotube was finalized for the letter I.

Jacob's staff is used in astronomy and navigation to measure angles. The origin of the name of the instrument is uncertain. Karl Jansky was an American physicist and radio engineer who radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. The curve in the satellite dish was be used for making the J. The modification was distorting the original diagram and so the idea had to be dropped. The diagram of James Joule on the other hand, was more flexible. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work . For the letter I, there were few options. It was narrowed down to Sumio Iijima, a Japanese physicist cited as the inventor of carbon nanotubes.

24 | phase two

August KekulĂŠ was a German organic chemist, most famous for his the structure of benzene. The hexagon of benzene was modifiable to a small extent. Kepler's third law of planetary motion without any modification resembled a K but was visually weak as it consisted only of lines. Kirchoff 's circuit laws as well as work with black body radiation had a skeleton that could be stretched to form a K. The diagram that dealt with spectroscopy seemed easier to understand for the viewer and was worked upon. Fig.(Left) Works of KekulĂŠ, Kepler and Kirchoff.

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Fig.(Right) Leeuwenhoek's L shaped microscope.

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Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch tradesman and scientist is commonly known as 'the Father of Microbiology'. He is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope and for his contributions towards the establishment of microbiology. The bracket that the microscope rested on could be extended to make an L, without contorting the diagram. The diagram of Mendel, the man who demonstrated that the inheritance of traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, involved two peaks. It was difficult to construct an M that was recognisable from it.

Samuel Morse was an American painter who turned inventor. He contributed to the invention of a singlewire telegraph system and co-invented the Morse code. The diagram was complex and so had to be broken down into lines and dots first. The number of junctions or points in an M, that is 5, matched the number of core elements in the diagram, leaving connecting wires in the middle to construct the remaining letter.

Fig.(Left) Works of Gregor Mendel and Samuel Morse.

Fig.(Left) Newton's first and 2nd laws of motion.

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Fig.(Right) Newton's inverse square law of gravitational force.

Fig.(Below) Ă˜rsted's experiment and O.Lawrence's cyclotron.

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The number and kinds of diagrams the works of Isaac Newton offered were enough to choose from. These consisted of Newton's first and second laws of motion. However, I had to narrow down on Newton's inverse squared law of gravitation, although it wasn't much of a success. Hans Ă˜rsted was a Danish physicist and chemist who discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields, an important aspect of electromagnetism. The integration of his experiment looked forced though. Ernest O. Lawrence was an American scientist who invented the cyclotron, a particle accelerator.

Fig.(Left) Pasteur and his swan neck flask experiment.

Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and biologist who proved the germ theory of diseases and invented the pasteurisation. Before this was validated, germs were believed to be spontaneously generated. It was the idea that certain forms such as fleas could arise from inanimate matter such as dust, or that maggots could arise from dead flesh. To prove his point, Pasteur used

the swan neck flask which significantly slows down the movement of bacteria into the test tube. The curved form of the flask was very organic and did not fit the set well. Other scientist such as Planck were mostly theoretical physicists. The letter P as well as Q had to be excluded from the set due to unavailability of diagrams. phase two | 29

Ernest Rutherford is known most for his gold-foil experiment. The experiment yielded unexpected results, proved the structure of the atom and did away with the plum pudding model. A small portion of the particles were deflected, indicating a small, concentrated positive charge. Contenders for the category of T include J.J. Thomson who showed that the cathode rays were composed of a previously unknown negatively charged particles called electrons, and Tesla. Tesla won hands down, though what to credit him with became dicey. He is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (ac) electricity supply system. When the armature rotates in the magnet file between two pole magnets, an induced current (e.m.f.) is produced in the coil due to change in magnetic flux. The diagram snugly fit into the letterform T. Fig.(Above) Rutherford's golf-foil experiment.

Fig. (Right) Works of J.J. Thomson and Nikola Tesla. 30 | phase two

Lewis Urry was a Canadian chemical engineer and inventor. He invented both the alkaline battery and lithium battery while working for the Eveready Battery company. The representation was fairly simple and just needed some parts to be curved. For V, I took up the work or Ales-

sandro Volta, an Italian physicist wellknown for the invention of the battery in the 1800s. I had worked on the same scientist before but modified the half cell diagram into an A for Alessandro. This time, I modified it into a V from the Voltaic pile diagram. The diagram resembled a high contrast V. Fig.(Left) Alkaline battery invention of Lewis Urry and voltaic pile invention of Alessandro Volta.

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Fig.(Right) Eli Whitney's cotton gin.

The third best known American inventor of the pre-atomic age, after Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, is probably Eli Whitney. He invented the cotton gin and automated cotton production in the South. Whitney's inventions made him one of the fathers of the textile industry and American mass Fig.(Above) Young's double slit experiment that resulted in an interference pattern.

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production movement. Thomas Young was an English scientist and polymath. He is best known for the double-slit experiment (Young's interference experiment) which demonstrates that matter and energy can display characteristics of both waves and particles.

Vladimir Zworykin was a RussianAmerican engineer, and pioneer of television technology. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes. One of the components of the television system is the iconoscope—a tube for television transmission used in the first cameras. A series of lenses focuses the image on an image plate. Instead of being chemically treated like a film plate, the image plate is connected to photoelectric cells. A cathode-ray tube sweeps the image on the plate with a charged beam. Onto the mica plate is a

mass of minute sections of highly conductive silver oxide insulated from each other, which is now known as a pixel. The diagram include a diagonal tube and horizontal rays, similar to the skeleton of the letterform Z.

Fig.(Left) The iconoscope.

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phase three design development a n d v i s ua l l a nguag e

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basic vector line arts


he interdependency of letterform and diagram in terms of the skeletons required the study of different typefaces. The diagram would have to be modified into a letter. The skeleton as well as the flesh of the reference typeface for the letter would have to have features similar to the frame of the diagram. The process also taught me about characteristic features of some typefaces. For example, F for Faraday involved thick coils and thin wires . A typeface that offers a similarly strong contrast of thick and thin is Bodoni. Therefore the reference letterform used for F for Faraday was set in Bodoni. Another example would be

the cyclotron diagram. The cyclotron required no modification as it already had features similar to the initials of the inventor足: O. Lawrence. As a reference typeface, a close to perfect circle was taken. Gotham, a widely used geometric sans serif fit the above brief well. I drew vector line arts with letters set in different typefaces as backdrops, for reference. The rendering technique for the same followed.

Fig.(Below) Vector line arts of Faraday, Leeuwenhoek, O.Lawrence and Eli Whitney coming together to spell 'flow'.

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ITC Caslon

Info Archer

a for archimedes


b for boyle

c for curie

d for doppler




j for joule

i for iijima


k for kirchoff

l for leeuwenhoek

m for

Akzidenz Grotesk

Rotis Sans Serif

s for shockley

38 | phase three

t for tesla

u for urry

v for volta

Optima Times


Bodoni XT

e for edison

f for faraday

g for gutenberg

h for hero

Myriad Gotham


Letter Gothic Std

r morse

n for newton

o for o.lawrence

r for rutherford

Myriad Pro Didot


Dax Frutiger

w for whitney

y for young

z for zworykin

Fig.(Above) Vector line arts and reference typefaces

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c on t e x t & v i s ua l l a nguag e


efore narrowing down on the context of these illustrations, I spontaneously tried various styles as soon as the vectors were ready. These included vectors involving gradients, that looked much like textbook diagrams. The other attempt involved using a brush pen and so the strokes had an air of ease about them. I also tried one style for Edison's diagram of the phonograph to make diagrams more inviting. The detailed textures and warm colours made the letter look like it could belong to a set for an animation feature.

40 | phase three

The initial association to science that comes to mind is the teaching of science, textbooks and how daunting a subject of study science is. Diagrams make explanations clearer and such a project would seem to be well suited for the purpose of education. Initially, I was working in that direction. Finding the right letterforms was not a matter of choice (except for amongst the options of sketches I found) but of a 'double coincidence of wants'; I didn't have the freedom to be picky about topics amongst science. Concerns varied from Boyle's simple inverse proportionality of volume and pressure, to the working of a cyclotron. The levels of study therefore were too varied to make them fit for one target group. It wont make sense for a 8th grade student studying these set of letters, if only one of them can be understood. On the other hand, a college student who has his/her basics clear, studying about cyclotrons wont need these diagrams to simplify study, or make the subject that he/she is already immersed in, more friendly. The context that seemed better suited given all the above, was tribute to science. On its own, it worked well as just an experiment. The style would also have to fit the re-brief of the project; artwork to be used for a museum or a publication that deals with history of science.

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r e f e r e nc e s f or v i s ua l l a nguag e Fig.(Below) From Vesalius's De Humani Corporis Fabrica.

42 | phase three


ince the project was develop- expressive. It used an accent colour of ing towards a tribute to science, orange and includes use of typography looking at the history of scien- and ornaments. tific diagrams and the styles present The space between the two above across it seemed like a good source of mentioned, seemed fit for the set of visual reference. Vesalius's revolution- diagrams made for this project, given ary anatomical treatise, De Humani they are both, instructional and expresCorporis Fabrica, shows the dissected sive to a certain extent. body in really unusually animated stances. These detailed illustrations are perhaps the most famous illustrations in all of medical history. Distressed appearance and minimalist use of colours occur across almost all instructional diagrams, such as in patents. Patents required clarity and therefore used only lines, labelling and shading (only to suggest the third dimension). The 1568 illuminated diagrams of the Ptolemaic geocentric structure窶認igura dos Corpos Celestes' (Four Heavenly Bodies), by the Portuguese cartographer Bartolomeu Velbo, takes a step ahead and is not instructional but more

Fig.(Left) The Ptolemaic System illustrated by the cartographer Bartolomeu Velbo.

Fig.(Extreme Left) The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin.

Fig.(Left) Old illustration of steam digester invented by French physicist Denis Papin.

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technique: stippling


hile I was researching, I gathered little from the process of generating list and looking up scientists' work, but more from documentaries and books that talked about personal stories and struggles of scientists. Descriptions of principles were not as engaging as the stories of power, proof and passion and how scientists came about the theories and principles attributed to them. My diagrams originated from these

44 | phase three

kind of stories more than those lists. It made sense to study styles of diagrams that one would find in the publications, patents and sketches of those scientist at the time of the invention/ discovery. I took up stippling, studied light and shadow and tried to achieve a distressed effect in the eventual drawings. Instead of simply recreating that effect, I tried to find a middle ground between the elaborate oldstyle and the modern style.

Fig.(Below) Stippling sheets

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Fig.(Above and Right) Close-ups of stippling sheets.

46 | phase three

colour A poster is meant to draw the attention of the public towards it. Addition of colour could possible liven up the illustration that had been monochromatic till now. The first trial included muted colours so as to suit the space the illustration was in. On seeing the results, I observed that it took away from the feeling of science that a simply stippled and digitally touched up illustration had manages to capture. In the second try I decided to add a bright and energetic shade of orange (much like in the illuminated illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric sys-

tem, 'Figura dos Corpos Celestes') as an accent colour, highlighting the key component of the diagram. This feature also helped clarify what part of the diagram was being talked about in the texts supporting the diagram in the poster and added a slightly modern aesthetic to the old world charm of scientific diagrams.

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i l l u s t r at i o n t r e at m e n t c: o m: 83 y: 100 k: 0 blending mode: hard light

c: 64 m: 59 y: 64 k: 48

subtle grunge vectors

48 |

highlighted area

blending options: bevel and emboss

blending options: inner glow

old paper texture

| 49

l ayo u t layer 1

layer 5:

Stippled illustration of the diagram letter integration.

layer 2:

A subtle suggestion of the period of the invention was indicated by mentioning the time frame and life span of the scientist.

Distressed treatment of illustration and addition of highlight colour.

layer 6:

layer 3: This layer onwards, I would be putting extra layers of information not already established before in this document. The focus area of the illustration is the diagram. To make it more explanatory and suggest that what one sees in the poster/artwork is not just an expressive diagram but a working model, I labelled the diagram with its constituents. This feature visually accentuated the fact that the matter being dealt with was science, given how common labelled diagrams are in the field.

layer 4: I added title such as 'A for Archimedes and his invention of the Water-screw' to clarify all, the scientist responsible for the diagram, his/her initial and a description of the contraption illustrated. This layer was the most important as it defined everything else that the poster included.

50 | phase three

I incorporated a brief biography of the scientist and a section that concisely explained the workings of the diagram in the illustration, for anyone who'd be interested to know more and understand the diagram thoroughly.

layer 7 A small corner or footnote was used to describe project details such as student name, guide name, etc.


deas for setting layout began with the constraints that the artwork should be of primary importance,

with all supporting text taking a backseat. In such a case, a clean and simple layout would work the best. Fig.(Left) Layout trials

phase three | 51

Fig.(Right) Layout trials

52 | phase three

typeface decision Since the project was almost an ode to science, it would make sense in this case to use a typeface that is an ode to typography and has strong connections with the history of printing. The diagram that fell under the category of G was that of Gutenberg—the printing press. I already had skimmed through the brief history of typography and the name Nicolas Jenson came often. In 1458 Jenson went to study printing under Johannes Gutenberg. In 1470 he opened a printing shop in Venice, and, in the first work he produced, the printed roman lowercase letter took on the proportions, shapes, and arrangements that marked its transition from an imitation of handwriting to the style that has remained in use throughout subsequent centuries of printing. Jenson's highly legible and evenly coloured typeface, based upon Humanistic scripts, has been reinterpreted through the centuries by type designers. The one I chose to use was the most modern version of Jenson­—Adobe Jenson Pro. Adobe Jenson Pro is an elegant typeface family that manages to capture the essence of Nicolas Jenson’s roman and Ludovico degli Arrighi’s italic typeface designs.

Fig.(Left) A specimen of Nicolas Jenson's archetypal roman typeface, from the "Laertis", published in Venice in 1475.

phase three | 53

f i na l l ayo u t

layer 1 and 2: basic stippled diagram with subtle photoshop treatment.

layer 4: title which is divided into levels­—scientist (highlighted in orange) and what the diagram is about. layer 4: lifetime of scientist.


59.4 cm

layer3: labelling

42 cm

layer 6: body text about scientist and his/her invention/discovery.

layer 7: project details

phase four execution

phase four | 57

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extension The project was looked at from the beginning as an experimental project, which implied that the target audience was defined as vaguely as 'any persons interested in the field of science'. Why educative purpose couldn't be a part of the initial brief was because all the diagrams belonged to different difficulty levels. Therefore, a narrow target audience such as 'children in Grade 12' could not be taken. I began to map out interventions in education that are not specific to difficulty levels.

concept 1 To make framed posters a part of the interiors/experience of a school's common areas such as a library, or a science lab.

concept 2 Notebooks are purchased by everyone, regardless of age group or what they're studying. The poster on the front cover might arouse interest in the subject. A notebook stays with a student for a long time (till the pages are used up) and for a considerable duration in a day. The integration of a letterform and a form can trigger photographic memory. Our brains after reading and writing get accustomed to letters and recognize them easily, implying that we

remember their form well. The form of the letter can trigger associations to the diagram that was integrated in it, making the diagram easier to remember. For example, one may remember the letter B had two containers instead of the 'bowls'; one with a piston pushed in, and one with the piston pushed out changing the pressure and volume. B also stands for Boyle. And there you have it—Boyle's Law of Ideal Gases.

concept 3 A calendar is referred to often in a week and hangs on the wall to stay in front of one's eyes for a long time. Just as a map hung on a wall is seen everyday and helps absorb knowledge of geography slowly and steadily, so will a diagram hung as a part of a calendar. The target audience in this case is everyone in a family, not only the young ones.

phase four | 71

Fig.(Left) Concept two mock ups. These explain subtle intervention and usage opportunities in the field of education.

72 | phase four


conclusion | 73

reflections of what age group the users belong to, bringing everyone on the same plane. The project doesn't perform to a need that exists but an opportunity that is created. The project was a big opportunity for me to involve my interest in physhe final set of letters included ics and chemistry. It was like revisit23 stippled letters out of 26 ing theories and ideas I'd studied at alphabets. I chose 11 letters some point in school or elsewhere. One out of these based on which ones had of my biggest realizations during this the strongest concepts and were the project was how ingenious yet simple most visually stimulating. These illus- popular science concepts are and how trations were blown up and the lay- they've been presented to us in unnecout that came through packaged the essarily complex ways. I also had a newartwork. This way, the artworks could found respect for the scientist that I be used as standalones, were flexible hadn't paid much attention to as much enough to take other forms but could as I did the work of the scientist. also be introduced as posters at first go. The project use-case could fit well into the top most part in the pyramid of Maslow's hierarchy of needs since some of the characteristics of self-actualization are to enjoy simple experiences that continue to be a source of inspiration and pleasure. By tweaking the form of diagrams, something that has existed since the nascent stage of science, one's attention may be drawn towards the 'newness' of this kind of presentation of science and is bound to arouse interest. This fact remains true regardless

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”­ —Henry Ford


74 | conclusion

bibliography books The thirteen book of Euclid's elements by Thomas L. Heath Dover Publications, 1956 The Works of Archimedes by Sir Thomas Heath Dover Books on Mathematics, 2002 An intro to the history of mathematics by Howard Eves Saunders Series, 1990 Great experiments in Physics by Morris H. Shamos Dover Publications, 1987 The ten most beautiful experiments by George Johnson Vintage, 2009 100 diagrams that changed the world by Scott Christianson Plume publishers, 2012 The patent book: An illustrated guide and history for inventors, designers, and dreamers by James Gregory & Kevin Mulligan A & W Publishers, 1979 World book of great inventions by Jerome S. Meyer World Pub. Co., 1956 Scientists and inventors by Anthony Feldman & Peter Ford Aldus Books Ltd, 1979 The 100 Most Influential Inventors of All Time (The Britannica Guide to the World's Most Influential People) by Robert Curley Rosen Education Service, 2009 An Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors by Kremena T. Spengler Picture Window Books, 2011

conclusion | 75

web & videos Repeating famous experiments & inventions The Baldwin Project s&story=stephenson The science and art of diagrams Animated Engines Honoring the inventor Inventor of the week Science and more Sci show Working telegraph How television works, 1956

76 | conclusion

acknowledgements Firstly, I would like to thank my guide, Rupesh Vyas for being as enthusiastic about this project as I was. The freedom he gave us during our Advanced Graphic design course was the driving force behind generating the original idea, which was a seed to this project. I would also like to thank Tarun Deep Girdher for the ten minute conversations that were enough to help me achieve clarity and start looking at this project in a new way every time. This project would be nothing without the services of the KMC. My thanks goes to everyone who has contributed till date to make it the rich resource that it is today. I can't even claim I hard bound this document because the amazing Hena, Shailendra and Sachin Bhai of printing labs at NID practically did for me, even when they had their own workload to deal with. My batchmates as well as my seniors had a large role to play in giving me feedback every time I needed it. Lastly, I'd like to thank my sister and mother for being the source of my happiness.

special thanks: Vanessa Horig, Aadarsh Rajan, Akshan Ish, Akash Halankar, Sanchit Sawaria, Pragun Agarwal, Isha Pimpalkhare, Sudeepti Tucker, Parashar Agravat, Aishwarya Ganeshan, Jyothi Iyer, Raghuvir Khare, Nikunj Patel, Varenya Raj, Manushi Parikh, Swati Shelar, Hrishikesh Kogje, Aashay Meshram and all my batchmates.

conclusion | 77

The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams  

A documentation of my 2nd elective done as a student of Graphic Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

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