Design

This interactive collage of 200-year-old hand-drawn minerals absolutely rocks

A web designer used more than 2,000 hand-drawn minerals from an early 1800s compendium of mineralogy by James Sowerby to create this addicting display.

An impressive interactive project by web designer and data artist, Nicholas Rougeux, makes thousands of hand-drawn minerals searchable in a high-definition map that's not only fun to look at, but organized by color.

Original scans from British Mineralogy and Exotic Mineralogy
An original page from Sowerby's compendium.

The interactive page features 718 illustrations made from a whopping 2,242 individual images in Sowerby's books (some minerals were broken up into smaller drawings in the original texts). Those were then arranged by color and can be clicked to reveal more geological info.

Fluor
Lapis Lazuli

In addition to being visually enticing, the detailed drawings are a stark reminder of the tremendous amount of work (and artistry) that cataloging natural environments entailed.

Much like Sowerby's original feat, Rougeux went to great lengths devising a way to categorize the images by color. Creating a color key that fit each specific image's palette.

A picture from Nicholas Rougeux's interactive project on mineralogy.

Rougeux carefully restored the images to their original vibrancy before organizing them. He then created a color key from the retouched pictures.

Rougeux's color-coded palette prior to slotting the images.

4.5 hours

Rougeux says it took 4.5 hours just to manually drag the images into their corresponding spot.

The results are worth the effort...

If you're as into this feat of design as we are, you can also purchase a poster to memorialize the collage on a wall near you.

To see more...

Check out Rougeux's website where he features other impressive feats of web and data design, including this similar project about plants.

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