“Everything rolls, everything comes back; eternally rolls the wheel of being,” Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Indeed, it seems that for as far back as we’re able to peer into human history, the wheel has been one of our most central visual metaphors for being. From our early maps of the cosmos to our depictions of time, the circular form appears again and again in the diagrams that changed our world. But what, exactly, makes this simple round shape so powerful and so timelessly alluring?
In Reinventing the Wheel (public library), writer, design critic, and Design Observer co-founder Jessica Helfand considers the rich history of rotational diagrams — the wheel as a visual metaphor and an interactive tool for representing and understanding information, predating print by thousands of years.
Posted by KWB wandering among the borderlands of the Ether.