Darth Vader
Julius Caesar
Michael Jackson
Bruce Lee
Marie Antoinette

Infographic Of The Day: Picture Bios Of Jesus, Darth Vader, Hitler

Graphic design studio H-57 illustrates how to pare a narrative down to its basics.

Do you really need a thousand-page tome to understand the narrative arc of Bruce Lee? Or six movies to get the essence of Darth Vader? The Milan-based advertising and graphic design studio H-57 doesn’t think so.

In fact, they’ve figured out a way to get to the essentials of, say, the life of Julius Caesar with only two words: "Ave Brutus," which, turns out, is all you really need to know. "Typodesign Strips," the studio’s collaboration with the culture website First Floor Under, are a collection of whimsical, non-comprehensive, and somewhat revisionist posters that outline the basic life stories of people like Marie Antoinette, Jesus, and Adolf Hitler, in pictograms.

The posters are studies in economy, using the international "male" and "female" icons, and each "life" hinges on four moments. Some are hilariously simple: "The History of Michael Jackson" merely depicts the figure becoming lighter shades until completely white and, at the end, horizontal. For more complicated histories, certain stages will be elaborated on in vertical space. In some cases, the number "3" (raised to the third power) represents larger quantities—soldiers, spaceships, or repeated actions. (Nuanced, these are not.)

Most of the stories end in death, which H-57 tries use to comedic effect. "The easiest stories are those with a tragic and/or violent ending," Gianmarco Milesi, creative director of H-57, told Co.Design. "Quiet, normal lives, even if belonging to very important people, are less easily (and less funnily) turned into infographics language." Case in point: the most recent poster tells the history of Napoleon. And up next? Dracula.

See all the posters here.

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  • Glen Isip

    Am I the only one who finds it insulting that Michael Jackson's graphic suggests that there was nothing that defined his life other than happening to have a changing skin tone? Napoleon, Caesar, Hitler, Jesus, even Darth Vader have at least some chronicle of their accomplishments, while Michael Jackson's graphic leads to no suggestion that he was a musician with troubles. Instead it's "his skin used to be darker." The changing tones could have been a wry sub-theme, but instead they completely gloss over his music.

  • Sardar Mohkim Khan

    Love the one on Mike and Hitler! Ave Hitler!.. ahem.. errr i just said it for fun!

  • studentofdesign

    About the  'essentials' of Julius Caesar's life... shouldn't the line be three words, namely,  'Et tu, Brutus' ?
    At the close of his life, Caesar was betrayed by all, even Brutus. His cry 'Et tu' meant, I believe, 'And you?' (as in 'You, too? You are also betraying me, as the others have done?' )  I thought 'Ave' meant 'hail' as in Ave Maria (Hail Mary). 

  • Chris Witham

    I only wish at least one of the michael jackson icons was grabbing his crotch.