How can we make sense of information that surrounds us in today's complex world? How can we make explanations of the natural and the man-made world; give visual expression to otherwise invisible information; help ease complex tasks; or help people find their way? How can we bring order to large databases as well as the built environment using elements of visual communication?

Information design arose as a a response to the need to communicate concepts regarding everyday life, professional tasks, and science. Even before there were designers, there were certain tasks that prompted individuals to find deliberate ways to communicate them visually. People from every walk of life (from builder to the chicken carver and the sailor) took matters in their own hands and designed information on the spot.

More recently, visual communication designers have taken systemic approaches to understand and respond to challenges of communication. Designers articulate information by ordering visual elements – lines, shapes, colors and text – in a way to establish clear reading paths for readers/viewers.


instructions : DeReMetallica (left): Graphics illustrate techniques of metallurgy as they were known in the 17th century. The Art of Handwriting, Diderot (right): refinement of techniques during the French enlightenment has brought about the need to develop refined ways to accurately show them



charts and tables
conceptual diagrams
charts and tables : since the Renaissance, geometric shapes were used to visualize numeric relationships, help compare quantities, and observe change in time. Moment of fear is recorded as the word "serpent" was pronounced to a subject (left). Dots are used to compare car models (right)
conceptual diagrams : visual anchors such as dots and lines help to envision spatial relationships of abstract concepts burried in the inherent linearity of language. Hereditary diagram of a fly (right).
maps : cartographic depictions of the moon (left) have gradually become more precise. This is due to both improvements in observation and graphic depiction techniques. European maps (right) inscribed with travel and migration routes
wayshowing : emergence of densely populated modern urban centers and the introduction of modern commute has made the living environment so complex that visual aids are prepared to guide the individual.
organizing hierarchies : table of contents of a book, a building directory, a phonebook, an encyclopedic page need hierarchical design, and more recently websites serve that function