Information Design

Information design has been distributed to audiences for hundreds of years but, the mundane nature of some information makes it difficult to attract peoples interest when trying to draw there attention to the purpose and message. “Information design has come to be used specifically for graphic design for displaying information effectively, rather than just attractively or for artistic expression. Information design is closely related to the field of data visualization” ( 2015). Through the invention of printing, radio and TV information design has started to become more graphically focused through the use of media to grab the attention of audiences.

This sub category of design is called Infographic: graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. In his 1983 ‘landmark book’ The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte defines ‘graphical displays’ in the following set of principles:

Graphical displays should….

  • Show the data
  • Induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production or something else
  • Avoid distorting what the data have to say
  • Present many numbers in a small space
  • Make large data sets coherent
  • Encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
  • Reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure.
  • Serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation or decoration.
  • Be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set.

(Tufte, 1983)

A example of an infografic is the London tube map which gives an audience a series of complex information in a simple and easily readable form. The use of colours to signify the different lines and there intersections indication stations or points to change lines.


In terms of measurements the eye test is interesting as it purpose has effected its design. The style in particular of reducing type size down the page is now commoditised in relation to the eye test. Meaning anything produced in a similar style is categorised as a test of vision.

In a previous post I explored how information is being presented in connection to media experiences. One artefact I considered was that of the Vietnam War Memorial by Lin Maya. She presented the names of deceased soldiers in relation to the time they passed way, this attached meaning and relation to others around them who may have died as a result of the same conflict or similar time.


In connection to the installation and ambience the measurements of sound needs to be displayed with some reference to the environment. The changing levels of the input audio is a feature that I could utilise as a measurement like the frequency wave. Below the infografic displaying the levels of decibels uses images are used as description to how loud it is maybe some reference to specific environments and replaying audio in connection to that environment.


Going forward a scale needs to be introduced into the graphics as reference to the changing levels of ambience in the environment., 2015. CCSU Department of Graphic Information Design – BA of Arts & MA of Arts. [online] Available from: [Accessed 10 Jan. 2015].

Tufte, E., 1983. The visual display of quantitative information. Cheshire, Conn. (Box 430, Cheshire 06410): Graphics Press.

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