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Dr. Seuss Storylines, by Alessandro Lingua

How complex narratives can be visually reduced to their essential elements

January 22, 2013

[This is a guest post by Alessandro Patrick Lingua*, talking about his data visualization project Dr. Seuss Storylines]


Dr. Seuss’ books have been characterized by their powerful rhyme and eccentric characters. Below the surface, however, you’ll find metaphors and morals about politics, religion, and war.

This series of infographics was created for students interested in learning about information design. Three Dr. Seuss stories were simplified to create a concise list of events/themes occurring in each story. These events/themes were then given form using creative visual metaphors. The posters demonstrate how complex narratives can be reduced to their essential elements. The result is a colourful, informative, and logical piece of graphic design.

Design Process:

Horton Hears a Who (1954) tells the story of Horton – an elephant living in the Jungle of Nool – who discovers a small world living on a speck of dust. This small world is called Whoville and is inhabited by the “Whos”. The main visual metaphor, represented by a circle engulfed by a larger circle, is the concept of a world-within-a-world. The circles represent the storylines of Whoville and Nool, respectively. Each storyline has a starting point and ending point, and the main events and themes emerging from the stories are mapped chronologically. Sometimes the two storylines (the two worlds) share the same themes and depend on each other.

The Butter Battle (1984) tells the story of two countries competing against each other in an arms race. The tension between the two sides escalates but, ultimately, neither side is brave enough to destroy their enemy. The two countries’ activities are mapped symmetrically in a line-graph style, resulting in a powerful image that depicts the conflicting nature of the story.

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose (1948) is a story about a Moose who is kind enough to welcome small animals to live in antlers. The small animals use (and abuse) his antlers until one day Thidwick tells them he’s had enough. The story is about self-respect and courage. The storyline is shaped after the antlers. The shape of the antlers mirrors Thidwick’s behavioral transformation – from submissive to confident. The main themes emerging from the plot are arranged chronologically in the same graphic style as the previous posters in the series.


As well as illustrating a few key principles of information design, the three posters also showcase consistency and unity, which are central in creating a memorable brand experience (essential when publishing a series of design works).


(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)



(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)


(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)


(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)


(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)


(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)


(image: Alessandro Patrick Lingua)



*Alessandro Patrick Lingua is a creative thinker with a BA in Design for Graphic Communication and MA in Graphic Design. Ever since he can remember, he’s been trying to express himself through various forms of art: he has enjoyed painting, making music, and has always been fascinated with typography (well before he knew the definition of the word). He has grown up in a number of countries– including the USA, England, Italy, and Luxembourg. He loves critiquing films, playing football, and making lavish breakfasts.

You can find him on Behance and you should also visit his personal website.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.