It is remarkable how much educational materials for children have improved in design quality. The end result is that many books and the like targeted at children are equally appealing to adults. A great example of this is the illustrated book series by Miroslav Sasek. His books about key global cities provide information about behaviours and landmarks of each city, informing a young reader about the personality and characteristics of a specific city. The illustrations, layout, and overall craft of the books are so great that I find myself wanting them on my prized bookshelf. (see here).
Another great example of educational materials designed with such craft that it becomes equally appealing for adults is a book that brings to life the Periodic Table of Elements by Bunpei Yorifuji. The book is called the Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic Table Personified (see here). He approaches each element like a character, describing who he/she is and what role they play among their friends (the other elements) and the world at large. The attitude and style of each “character” reflects the behaviour of the actual element making the immersion in the information much more engaging. Somehow it feels like he borrowed from the Japanese anime heritage coupled with that of the French Dessins Animes heritage. The result is a type of comic that is relevant to both young and old (see his website here).
Perhaps the reason why there is an increase in this “dual-appeal” content is that the role of storytelling in our daily lives has drastically increased as has our design aesthetic. This is due to the proliferation of content at our disposal that we consume daily. As such, what we produce often has a higher quality and intellectual respect for its intended audience. Another angle is also that our ability and hunger to be more playful and young makes us appreciate things that previous cohorts did not. What do you think? Thanks to the guys at Brainpickings for introducing me to Bunpei (see here).