The Preservation of Favoured Traces

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Charles Darwin first published On the Origin of Species in 1859, and continued revising it for several years. As a result, his final work reads as a composite, containing more than a decade’s worth of shifting approaches to his theory of evolution. In fact, it wasn’t until his fifth edition that he introduced the concept of “survival of the fittest,” a phrase that actually came from philosopher Herbert Spencer. By color-coding each word of Darwin's final text by the edition in which it first appeared, the poster traces his thoughts and revisions, demonstrating how scientific theories undergo adaptation before their widespread acceptance.

The six color offset poster measures 24 by 36 inches and is printed on Finch Fine Bright White paper. To get all of Darwin's ideas on one page, the type is set in 2.8 point Bell Centennial.

To see the full project description and to explore the interactive version, please visit our project page.


Darwin Traces Book

For those interested in curling up and reading at a more reasonable type size, we’ve also created a book. The book is available on Blurb, order one today.