Illustrated Etymology: Adam R. Garcia

Curator: Jeshurun Webb
date: May 31, 2013
Categories: Illustration, Information Design
Tags: definition, etymology, illustration, language
Digital by Grace Danico

“Illustrated Etymology” is a side project by Adam R. Garcia which serves as a visual lexicon to unpack the true complexity of the origins of words like “ciabatta,” “average” and “hazard.” He invites illustrators to contribute and also accepts submissions.

From the Illustrated Etymology website description: “These illustrations are an exploration, evolution and celebration of the history and meaning of words and language. Each interpretation is up to the individual artist, but most serve a ‘descriptive/informative’ function, whether abstract, figurative or diagrammatic.”

Garcia’s client work is always perfectly finished and engaging. You can see by other projects in his portfolio that he has a strong command of color and form. Garcia has embarked on his own studio, named The Pressure, after stints at Nike Sportswear and Nike Global. He is proudly based out of Portland and teaches at Portland State University. His students are lucky to have someone who can guide them toward making gorgeous formal decisions and scaffolding a process and relentless inquiry to back it up.

Screenshot of the indexed website

Sycophant by Adam R. Garcia

Extortion by Micah Lidberg

Salary by Will Bryant

Bikini by Jason Sturgill

The etymological definitions are taken with permission from Douglas Harper’s online resource This project represents a simple desire to celebrate the not-always-obvious dissonance between language and form. I look forward to seeing this visual exploration of the evolution of language unfold with more contributions. 

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