Information made visual

Eddie Opara has designed the graphics for a new "friendly science" title, making the book's dense technical information understandable to all.

Pentagram partner Eddie Opara has created a simple yet striking design for Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars and Suburbs, making the book’s dense technical information user-friendly and highly readable.

Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars and Suburbs by scientist Eric W. Sanderson looks at how three powerful forces that drove American prosperity for the better part of a century are now detrimentally affecting the country’s quality of life. Looking ahead, the book envisions what America would be like if the dependence on oil, automobiles and urban sprawls were to end, and a new ecology was formed that valued the land, encouraged well-designed cities and depended on the country’s natural advantages in resources such as wind, sun, heat and ingenuity.

Opara’s design helps Sanderson make his case through a clear, cogent layout and a series of 72 highly detailed diagrams. The graphics are a key element of the book and aim to engage readers in a user-friendly manner, complementing the highly dense text.

In an attempt to make the book stand out amongst other scientific volumes (which tend to favour stark white), the cover is bright blue and features a technological vortex of lines that lead the reader to the bold title. The design is eye-catching and immediately signals the its futuristic point of view.

For the featured graphics, Opara created intricate infographics that are extremely straightforward and easy to interpret. The wide variety of diagrams add visual depth and texture to the book.

We created a hybrid book that reads like a beautiful novel as well as a quintessential scientific documentary. Combined, all parties, lay and science, will enjoy this book with its extensive use of compelling and richly insightful infographics from beginning to end, says Opara

Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars and Suburbs is divided into three parts, with each section opening with a conceptual illustration that shows the reciprocal relationship of oil, cars and suburbs.

“The book was a huge challenge for everyone involved, myself included,” says Sanderson. “The scope is huge, the data presentations complex, and the outcomes counter-intuitive, yet simultaneously this is a book written for my mom and dad. It was terrific to have the Pentagram team working with me to create something I’m very proud of.”

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