We were asked to pick any topic in the history of design to explore and write about. From that exploration, we were to design an info-graphic as a manifestation of our research. I chose to explore the topic of information design, so this image is a meta-design of an info-graphic on info-graphics.

My interest in information design began when I was studying the principles of non-composition in graphic design. I learned to differentiate between composition from construction with inspiration from artist/designer Sol Lewitt, who creates large wall drawings and paintings by building a conceptual “drawing machine”. Lewitt builds his drawing machines by writing specific instructions and setting parameters before even approaching the wall. By being confined to these rules, the images produced are unique and unexpected, and have a conceptual depth as a result of the process that produced them. I see information design the same way. Successful information design has preset parameters and rules based on the content it is meant to communicate. Following Edward Tutfe’s aesthetic of minimalism and avoiding “chartjunk”, beautiful design comes from the patterns made from information connecting. An image can only be as rich as its content, and information itself is beautiful.

This graphic is a circular timeline that spirals out as time gets closer to the present, highlighting the Artistic, Cartographic, Scientific, and Journalistic practices of information design that I focused my research on. In an attempt to escape the flatland, the segments that represent that highlights in history get larger as the circle expands, creating a level of perspective that places earlier history further away. The outer layer of the circle stays open to allow for more information to be added as new impactful designs emerge over time.

California College of the Arts, MFA Design
Design History with Mara Holt Skov

Information Design

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