Every now and then you stumble across a website that is truly magical (eelslap.com). A site that makes you realize that the web, digital media, and technology have created a whole new realm for artists to explore and create.

This week I was sent a link to a brilliant early stage project called ‘Imaginary Factory‘. Created by illustrator, typographer and designer Jing Zhang, the project takes complex and often mundane items and turns them into simplified, colourful and (truly) gorgeous visual info-graphics.

“Ever wondered how your iPhone/Camera works? How the best cuppa coffee is made? Or the mechanism of a pendulum clock, a toaster etc. Perhaps some elves inside (are) working it out for us.”

Imaginary Factory - iPhone


A brilliant concept for learners

These info-graphics can work as a great launching pad for complex topics. Injecting fun and personality into inanimate objects with tiny elves and bright colours, suddenly a bland lesson can be turned into something way more engaging. It is amazing how a little imagination and creativity can really spark interest into a topic or concept.

Imaginary Factory - iPhone Zoomed


Turning complicated into fun

Although the graphics are not technically correct (I didn’t see too many cogs when iPhone fell on the ground) they do start students thinking about what goes on behind the scenes of complex devices. With different parts labeled and explained in brief detail, it also promotes the opportunity for students to research the technical details further. Not to mention, the images are just a whole lot of fun!

Imaginary Factory - TV


A creative and technical project

What I particularly like is the crossover between creativity and technical detail. The below example of a cake recipe takes a concept we are all very familiar with and offers a completely different perspective. I can imagine taking other objects and procedures and asking students to create their own ‘elf’ run factories.

Imaginary Factory - Cake Recipe


Make sure to visit the ‘Imaginary Factory‘ site to see more of these great pieces. And, it is well worth checking out some of Jing Zhang‘s other work to see her beautiful approach to visualising complex ideas.


What do you think of this visual take on complex ideas? And can you see students being motivated by the creativity behind them?


All images courtesy of the ‘Imaginary Factory‘ by Jing Zhang.

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