By Maria Popova
We have a thrilling surprise. This year, we asked some of our favorite visualization artists to each capture the 10 most popular Brain Pickings articles of 2010 in a single piece of artwork. We’ll be releasing them one at a time over the coming week, starting with crown jewel Stefanie Posavec, whose Writing Without Words project is one of our most popular articles of all time and whose more recent work you may have seen in the form of mesmerizing album artwork for OK Go or the brilliant MyFry iPhone app for Stephen Fry’s autobiography.
Stefanie used the visual metaphor of stars as a pinnacle, higher than everything else. She constructed a starburst pattern for each post, with each dot representing 10 pageviews. The patterns become more complex the more popular a post is, with each subsequent level of complexity building upon the previous.
Upon the smallest pattern the largest pattern is built: the largest is derived from the patterns of the 9 posts before it.” ~ Stefanie Posavec
Go on, marvel at the talent — we certainly are.
And the articles, in order of popularity:
- Mythical Beasts & Modern Monsters — three humorous takes on the relational understanding of the monsters ecosystem.
- Mapping European Stereotypes — a Bulgarian designer based in London pokes fun at Europeans’ xeno-bias and the subjective reality of nationalism.
- 7 Image Search Tools That Will Change Your Life — 7 visually-driven image search interfaces that change how we look for, find and catalog images.
- 7 Must-Read Books by TED Global Speakers — selection of the 7 most compelling books by speakers at this year’s TED Global in Oxford.
- How Do I Explain It To My Parents — Dutch abstract artists sit down with their parents and try to explain to them what they do, to a delightfully amusing effect.
- Vintage Posters for Modern Movies — a look at the faux-vintage design trend as it applies to film poster design, spotlighting the work of seven contemporary designers with a retrostalgic aesthetic.
- How To Be Alone — a poetic manifesto for the art of solitude.
- Strange Worlds: Miniature Condiment Landscapes — remarkable miniature landscapes made out of spices and condiments by artist Matthew Albanese.
- What Does It Mean To Be Human? — three disciplines (evolutionary biology, philosophy and neuroscience) tackle the grand question of existentialism.
- Literary Action Figures — you know you want them.