Time line

Never got lost in history ? Dates, names, alliances, places, when visual design makes it easy to follow

Posted on November 3, 2008. Filed under: Bibliographie, English, History, Time line, Video | Tags: , , , , , , |

Remember the history you used to learn at school ? The Egyptians dynasties, the French kings, the European alliances : there were ways to learn lists of dates and names by heart, sometimes using mnemotechnical gimmicks (PO GLACE for the 7 capital sins – works only in French, or a little poem for the number Pi “car j’aime à faire connaitre un nombre utile aux sages, immortel Archimede artiste ingénieur, qui de ton jugement peut priser la valeur …”). Or there were the visual design tools …

The first one I used was comics : “l’Histoire de France en Bandes Dessinées”. It was recently republished by Larousse and Le Monde newspaper. My history teacher would give us black and white prints / copies, that we had to colorize (I was 10) : it sure helped me to remember a lot 🙂 Later I got more involved with comics and moved to historical series like “Alix“, then “Les 7 Vies de l’Epervier“, and more recently Marjane Satrapi for Persepolis and her own vision of the Iranian revolution.

Histoire de France en bandes dessinées

The second tool I discovered / used was timelines, visual representations of historical chronologies. A French editor (Maurice Griffe) is specialized in these, and you can find them (often in a foldable format) at every historical landmark’s souvenir shop, or a selection here.

Frise chronologique Maurice Griffe

There’s even a wiki version for easy editing of timelines called … EasyTimeline 🙂

 

Then of course there are the historical atlas. The best known to French students if the Historical Atlas from Georges Duby, but a field that lends itself especially well to that sort of visualization is geostrategy, as for example Yves Lacoste’s Geopolitical Atlas. There’s also an Atlas collection by Les Editions Autrement looks at many major historical landmark through the Atlas / mapping eye.

Atlas historique mondial Georges Duby Atlas geopolitique Yves Lacoste Atlas de la Chine contemporaine, editions Autrement

The number of books that relied heavily on infographics seems to have picked up lately, with editorial success such as XXI, a quarterly magazine approach brought to the book sector, or separate initiatives in a more “encyclopedian” way, such as “Comprendre l’actualité par l’image” (by well known French infography agency Idé), or l’Encyclopédie Visuelle VU by Gallimard, also editing the beautiful travel guides “Encyclopédie du Voyageur“, similar to the Eyewitness travel guides sold in English speaking countries.

XXI #2 Les Nouveaux Visages de l'Economie Comprendre l'actualité par l'image, Idé Encyclopédie visuelle des sports Guides Gallimard

And I recently watched a video made by a local TV channel for Paris 2nd arrondissement (QNTv), that presented the history of the Jean Sans Peur Tower. Nice infographic job, that follows the narrator’s speech in sync to explain how Jean Sans Peur is related to other key historical figures. Imagine you could get such videos for major monuments accessible on your mobile phone or on a wireless video player that would be rented for a Paris city tour : wouldn’t that be great ?

L’histoire de la tour Jean sans Peur
envoyé par QNTV

Comics, time lines, atlas, infographics encyclopedia, infographics videos : many ways knowledge can by designed to facilitate understanding and transfer.

 

 

 

 

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