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buy artwork Snellen eye chart - Braille 1 by Martin Krzywinski
VISIONS OF TYPE | Put my typographical posters on your wall. (buy artwork / see all my art)
The 2018 π Day art celebrates the 30th anniversary of π day and connects friends stitching road maps from around the world. Pack a sandwich and let's go!
My SnellenMK font adds lowercase and punctuation to the traditional Snellen design.

Visions of Type

1 · Typography and bird songs

If you live in a city, birds are essentially the only wildlife that you meet during your day.

Depending on where you live, you might come several species without even trying. In Vancouver, on a 10 minute walk around my house, I have a good chance to see rock doves (pigeons), crows, mallars, wigeons, hooded mergansers (if I'm lucky), common starlings, house sparrows (sigh), house finches, song sparrows, red-winged black birds, white-crowned sparrows, bushtits, black-capped chickadees, northern flickers, great blue herons, and the mother-of-all-honkers: Canada geese.

Birds and letters are everywhere—art of nature and man.

Letter forms, on the other hand, are the art that is also everywhere. Every typeface is an artistic expression.

Regardless where you live, sadly, you are likely to come across mutants like Comic Sans, Arial and Times New Roman — odious creatures from the shallows. Try to find Gotham, Gill Sans, Frutiger, or Garamond.

2 · The Spectrogram

Bird songs can be visualized with a spectrogram — a visualization of the frequency components (vertical axis) in the call as a function of time (horizontal axis).

For example, below is a crop of a recording of the American goldfinch, who eats a potato chip in about 0.5 seconds. And when in flight, he has it with dip.


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The spectrogram of the American goldfinch, who eats a potato chip in about 0.5 seconds. (Macaulay Library asset 94457)

The full recording from the Cornell Lab Macaulay Library is shown below.

Spectrograms give us detailed insight into the fine structure of a vocalization. For example, the black-capped chicadee's “fee-bee” (or cheeseburger) actually has a very short pause (about 50 ms) in the “bee”, making it more of a “be-e”. Below is a recording of this call.

One of my favourite bird sounds is the “sawing machine” of the marsh wren. They often hide in tall reeds around ponds and lakes, making them hard to spot — by eye, but not by ear!

3 · Learning bird songs

Mnemonics of bird songs help you remember the call and recognize the bird. It's so much easier to think "Quick, three beers!" — the call of the Olive-sided flycatcher — rather than "Chirp, chirp, chirp."

The mnemonic captures the cadence and repetition scheme of the song. For example, if you listen to the white-throated sparrow you can't help but think that this little guy is trying to tell us something.

4 · The mnemonics

French Zonotrichia albicollis: Baisse ta jupe, Philomène, Philomène, Philomène. How differently we hear!
—Madelaine Lemieux (via Twitter)

Potato chip!
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Here here. Come right here, dear.
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Who cooks for you?
Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Here sweetie.
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Trees, trees, murmuring trees.
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)

Drink your tea.
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Are you awake? Me too.
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

Qu'est-ce qu-il dit?
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Fire fire. Where where? Here here! See it, see it.
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Clear. Wick, wick, wick.
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Quick, three beers!
Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)

Where are you? Here I am.
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)

Chubby chubby cheeks. Chubby cheeks.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

See me, pretty, pretty me.
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Dear sweet Canada Canada Canada.
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

5 · The posters

buy artwork Song of the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) by Martin Krzywinski
HERE HERE. COME RIGHT HERE, DEAR | Song of the Baltimore Oriole. (buy artwork / see all my art)

If you love birds and typography, these posters are for you. The mnemonic for the bird's song is presented on a background that proportionally presents the bird's plumage colors.

5.1 · Poster sets

Some posters create natural sets.

5.2 · Individual posters

And if you explore the posters, you just might find the bird too.


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
POTATO CHIP! | Song of the American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
HERE HERE. COME RIGHT HERE, DEAR. | Song of the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
WHO COOKS FOR YOU? | Song of the Barred Owl (Strix varia) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
HERE SWEETIE. | Song of the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
TREES, TREES, MURMURING TREES. | Song of the Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
DRINK YOUR TEA. | Song of the Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
ARE YOU AWAKE? ME TOO. | Song of the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
QU'EST-CE QU-IL DIT? | Song of the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
FIRE FIRE. WHERE WHERE? HERE HERE! SEE IT, SEE IT. | Song of the Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
CLEAR. WICK, WICK, WICK. | Song of the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
QUICK, THREE BEERS! | Song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
WHERE ARE YOU? HERE I AM. | Song of the Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
CHUBBY CHUBBY CHEEKS. CHUBBY CHEEKS. | Song of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) (BUY ARTWORK)

Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
SEE ME, PRETTY, PRETTY ME. | Song of the White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) (BUY ARTWORK)


Typographical posters of bird songs
 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca buy artwork
DEAR SWEET CANADA CANADA CANADA. | Song of the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) (BUY ARTWORK)
news + thoughts

Annals of Oncology cover

Wed 14-09-2022

My cover design on the 1 September 2022 Annals of Oncology issue shows 570 individual cases of difficult-to-treat cancers. Each case shows the number and type of actionable genomic alterations that were detected and the length of therapies that resulted from the analysis.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
An organic arrangement of 570 individual cases of difficult-to-treat cancers showing genomic changes and therapies. Apperas on Annals of Oncology cover (volume 33, issue 9, 1 September 2022).

Pleasance E et al. Whole-genome and transcriptome analysis enhances precision cancer treatment options (2022) Annals of Oncology 33:939–949.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My Annals of Oncology 570 cancer cohort cover (volume 33, issue 9, 1 September 2022). (more)

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Survival analysis—time-to-event data and censoring

Fri 05-08-2022

Love's the only engine of survival. —L. Cohen

We begin a series on survival analysis in the context of its two key complications: skew (which calls for the use of probability distributions, such as the Weibull, that can accomodate skew) and censoring (required because we almost always fail to observe the event in question for all subjects).

We discuss right, left and interval censoring and how mishandling censoring can lead to bias and loss of sensitivity in tests that probe for differences in survival times.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Survival analysis—time-to-event data and censoring. (read)

Dey, T., Lipsitz, S.R., Cooper, Z., Trinh, Q., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2022) Points of significance: Survival analysis—time-to-event data and censoring. Nature Methods 19:906–908.

3,117,275,501 Bases, 0 Gaps

Sun 21-08-2022

See How Scientists Put Together the Complete Human Genome.

My graphic in Scientific American's Graphic Science section in the August 2022 issue shows the full history of the human genome assembly — from its humble shotgun beginnings to the gapless telomere-to-telomere assembly.

Read about the process and methods behind the creation of the graphic.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
3,117,275,501 Bases, 0 Gaps. Text by Clara Moskowitz (Senior Editor), art direction by Jen Christiansen (Senior Graphics Editor), source: UCSC Genome Browser.

See all my Scientific American Graphic Science visualizations.

Anatomy of SARS-Cov-2

Tue 31-05-2022

My poster showing the genome structure and position of mutations on all SARS-CoV-2 variants appears in the March/April 2022 issue of American Scientist.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Deadly Genomes: Genome Structure and Size of Harmful Bacteria and Viruses (zoom)

An accompanying piece breaks down the anatomy of each genome — by gene and ORF, oriented to emphasize relative differences that are caused by mutations.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Deadly Genomes: Genome Structure and Size of Harmful Bacteria and Viruses (zoom)

Cancer Cell cover

Sat 23-04-2022

My cover design on the 11 April 2022 Cancer Cell issue depicts depicts cellular heterogeneity as a kaleidoscope generated from immunofluorescence staining of the glial and neuronal markers MBP and NeuN (respectively) in a GBM patient-derived explant.

LeBlanc VG et al. Single-cell landscapes of primary glioblastomas and matched explants and cell lines show variable retention of inter- and intratumor heterogeneity (2022) Cancer Cell 40:379–392.E9.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My Cancer Cell kaleidoscope cover (volume 40, issue 4, 11 April 2022). (more)

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

© 1999–2022 Martin Krzywinski | contact | Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences CentreBC Cancer Research CenterBC CancerPHSA