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Click! Onomatopoeia For Your Eyes

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Whiz, BAM! Boom. Remember onomatopoeia from fifth grade English class? Well here’s a treat for your eyes, a sort of visual onomatopoeia where designer Ji Lee twists letters and words into visual representations of their meanings:

Horizon by Ji Lee

Parallel by Ji Lee

Moon by Ji Lee

Gravity by Ji Lee

These images are taken from Ji Lee’s book, Word As Image: a collection of 90 altered words, examples of visual onomatopoeia. He has also just come out with an animated version of the same book, showing us that not only can we push our perception of the written word, but also the medium in which it is delivered. Why stick with static words on pages made with cellulose fiber from dead trees when words and the concepts they represent can be delivered dynamically, delighting you with their very existence as well as their meaning?

Want to try visual onomatopoeia for yourself? Here’s the challenge: convey the meaning of a word visually, using only the letters that make up the word itself. If you come up with something you like, Ji Lee is inviting people to share their best efforts at his Facebook page.

Kalliopi Monoyios About the Author: Kalliopi Monoyios is an independent science illustrator. She has illustrated several popular science books including Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Find her at Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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