When crafted with care and consideration, infographics and other forms of data visualization can give us valuable insights into complex issues. They can help us make sense of mountains of data and force us to reconsider long-held beliefs. At their most powerful, they can help us see the world in new ways. Okay, okay, this one doesn’t really do any of that.
A Taxonomy of Arse V. 1.1 is the work of Stephen Wildish, the founder of the British creative studio Wildish&co. Every Friday, Wildish posts a new little project he worked on throughout the week, typically "something witty or pretty," he explains. This particular one, however, "fell in the crude camp"--it’s a remarkably thorough classification of the word ass (or, more accurately, "arse," the variant popular in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere) in all its linguistic flexibility, from common expressions like "smart arse" and "lazy arse" to, well, less universal uses, like "tight as a duck’s arse." A bit sophomoric, but rigorously so!
The capsule bio on the Wildish&co site does mention that the illustrator has "a habit of collecting and ordering things," and the taxonomy can be understood as the product of this impulse. "As you can tell, I love a list," he told me, "and if there is a spot of humor in there the better." But as thorough as the arse poster may be, it’s still not quite as compendious as the project that preceded it. The previous week’s Taxonomy of Sh*t shows an even more complex web of vulgarity, covering "shit a brick," "no shit, Sherlock," "shoot the shit," and dozens more.
Though there are some, I’m sure, who will take offense to the work, I think it’s refreshing that Wildish has found a career in which he can put his irreverence on display. He agrees: "The Friday project is the fun part of the day job with Wildish&co." And apparently, good for business, too; Wildish says the projects give "potential clients a really good flavor of what to expect from us." Hopefully, they find things more "kick arse" than "arse ugly."