Stressed Lego Man


Magazine: Popular Science, March 2015, USA

1. tell us what the image is (hopefully there is a caption or explanation in the magazine)

The image of a cover of a Popular Science magazine is a yellow Lego Man in the center wearing a hazmat helmet and has a radiation symbol on his “shirt”. He has a face expression of fear. There are a couple groupings of words and captioning in various font sizes, styles, and colors around the Lego Man.

2. tell us your own thoughts.

I chose this cover after browsing through a friend’s box full of science magazines in his classroom (he is a science teacher, by the way). I chose this cover for a Popular Science magazine, because of the yellow Lego man and his radiation symbol. The next thing that caught my eyes was the word “STRESS” in red and the Lego Man’s face expression. Before I started to look at every wording closer, I found myself wondering what the Lego Man had to do with the captioning around him. The variation of font sizes and styles were effective as it made me read everything to see which captioning was about the Lego Man or the word “STRESS”. The choice of fonts in black and red were also effective by allowing the Lego Man to really stand out.

3. tell us the reaction from the stranger.

The stranger I chose was the duct guy who came to my house to clear out and repair my dryer duct and exhaust ducts. I told him I needed to pick his brain after he was done with the work on the dryer. He was a bit hesitate and I assured him it was just a class assignment and needed him to participate. He said, “Oh, okay. I hope I get an A.” (My son interpreted ASL-voice/voice-ASL)

4. tell us about the stranger (male? female? approximate age? major? or anything else you find interesting about the person)

He is in his early 60s and a third generation Japanese who does not read or speak Japanese. He regrets not learning Japanese when he was growing up. He is a retired minister who went into construction to keep himself busy. He is taking a class online to complete his Theological study (master degree). He was very easy to talk to and we ended up sharing our point of views and ideas about the image I chose.

5. how did your reaction differ or was it similar to the stranger?

He and I had similar initial reaction when we saw the cover of my choice. He saw the yellow Lego Man immediately and but he spent a bit more time observing the Lego Man noticing his radiation symbol, hazmat head helmet, face expression, and the size of the Lego Man in the center of the cover image. He then read everything around him and started to wonder what the Lego Man’s story was about, especially if it was as scientific as the magazine was. He started to pull me into discussing the image and each captioning. After a few minutes of discussions, I pointed out a teeny tiny red arrow next to the Lego Man. He said, “Whoa! I did not see that! So the “Stress” is related to that yellow fearful Lego Man?!” and “How can we beat stress through science?”

I asked him, “Why did this magazine use Lego as a scientific item? It is a toy!” He replied, “Well, science nerds like to build, so why not with Legos? It got our attention, though didn’t it?” He had a good sense of humor.

6. post the photo

Drats! We had great discussion for about thirty minutes before he realized and he had another job to go to, so he left in a hurry. I forgot to snap a shot of him with my chosen image. I found the print out still on the dryer he was working on, so I took a picture of where he left it at. The dryer is not ready to be used yet because one duct bracket went AWOL. My son will finish the job though. (picture below)




4 thoughts on “Stressed Lego Man

  1. Hello janemfair,

    I enjoyed your illustration for this week. I must say that while deciding on an illustration to reply to, I chose this as one of them because of the Lego man. It reminded me of my childhood so it made it that much more interesting for me to comment on. I also believe that the radiation symbol attracts the eyes because for most people, they know it means something bad. I started writing this post as I was reading yours and I just realized that the Lego man also caught your attention. Now that I am back on this subject, I feel like this publisher’s intention may have been to attract people like us because we can relate to the Lego man. The word stress stands out to me as well and could typically attract a college student as we tend to get stressed out with heavy workloads. However, as it mentions, you can beat stress with science. This cover obviously does a good job attracting our attention and I believe that has to do with us being able to relate to the Lego man.

    Overall, in my readings this week, I concluded that science imaging is very important. It has come a long way from where it used to be. We now have access to X rays, MRIs, and ultrasound to name a few. This allows for us to see injured parts of our bodies and the health of babies who are still in the womb. I commented on the ‘JonPrices’ Jupiter illustration and that image too is a good example of how far we have come. To think we are able to take images out in space to advance the scientific explorations is incredible and a positive for the human race today. Most people tend to talk about the negatives in life, however, this weeks topic allowed me to stop and think about how far we have come and how important imaging is in the science world. I believe that there is so much more out there and we are just scratching the surface. At the end of the day, images for science will always be important and will also help the human population advance in many the things we do.

    Good Work!

    Todd Skirving

  2. HA HA I agree with Todd Skirving as this image caught my eye because of the Lego as I grew up with Lego. It made me wonder what was the issue surrounding a Lego man so it got me to look at the image closely to understand the image. it was really eye catching and it is a good grasp for certain audiences such as older generations. This also was interesting to see what the stress was however there is more to the story itself once you open up the magazine to read what the story itself is. Also other thing that made me think of was BACK TO THE FUTURE movie where they wore the radiation suit in a parking lot. It combined two things to my interest from my childhood and it was a science image that contains a untold story. Why I say untold story is because of the words especially the fonts that was all over the magazine so it was difficult to grasp the concept of what the suit and Lego was referring to.

  3. This post caught my eye with the Lego as well, just as it did with you! I was curious as to what a lego man had to do with science. At first glance of the cover, I see the painful/stressful face that is on the lego. Therefore in comparison with you, seeing the large word stress right next to it, made it very clear to me that the article relating to it had to do with stress. It is kind of crazy how everyone can think so differently and the initial differences we see when looking at an image.

    Based on the cover, I would assume that the article talks about how to manage your stress and what is going on with your body when you have the stress. The scientific technology and advancements that have come along over the years is the only reason that this interpretation would be possible. The technology that has grown in the field of science like X-rays, Ultrasounds, and MRI’s show how much change has occurred over the years. The article shows the progress that has come around where as the visual on the front draws someone in by bringing them back to their old days and feelings. It is this connection in the visualization that draws the reader in and makes them want to pick up the magazine.
    I believe this is why the visual is so successful on the cover of this scientific magazine and love that you found it!

  4. I too was drawn in by the Lego man, but this is obviously the purpose of him being on the cover. Given that this is a science magazine after all, I can understand that they would want something or someone recognizable to draw an audience’s attention. Why not use the Lego man? He’s a known character to younger generation’s due to the recent Lego Movie and anyone who grew up playing with Legos will also recognize him. He also sends a very interesting message that stress is toxic, seeing as the Stress headline is directly related to him and he is in a hazmat suit. Using this character is very effective at drawing our attention to what might otherwise be an ignored or less interesting topic to many of us.

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