When analogy makes sense

There’s a design I saw recently that places typefaces within a periodic table as a way to explain type classification.

This visual comparison make no sense because a periodic table has nothing to do with the classification of typography. It’s simply not helpful in explaining the already complex problem of classifying type.

It’s another example of something that looks clever but really isn’t.

* * * * * *

The spreads below on the other hand, from Fast Company magazine, make complete sense.

Using the periodic table as a visual device for science is clearly appropriate. The design of a feature article about molecular biology and research, provides a lot of potential.

Headline type spelled out from elements in the periodic table concisely tell the reader something about the article with a minimum amount of information. They also function as a visual game. The large initial on the third spread carries the idea onto the sidebar element too.

Graphics that show the chemical structure of elements are inserted as section dividers and even as decorative details, and further reinforce the graphic design of the article.

[ Fast Company February 2012 ]


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