Design Disciplines: Information Design

It’s one thing to know that you want a career in design, but to know what you want to do within the field of design, well that can be more difficult to figure out. There are a variety of different disciplines of design, in which one can decide to specialize in. To help you sort through it all, we will be brief overviews of the different disciplines. Today, we will begin with Information Design.

If all design disciplines involve managing and communicating information, how is information design different? Information Design focuses on taking complex concepts and visual data and making it more visually accessible, using typography and imagery to  help the viewer navigate through the confusion in order to gain an understanding of the information.

Information Design requires an analytical mind and a different kind of research than other disciplines, it takes a more journalistic approach. It also requires an understanding of perception and cognition in order to present the information in a more comprehensible way.

An Information Designer must be able to combine research, reportage, and design to organize data into an aesthetically pleasing composition that increases the users understanding of the material.

While Information Design does involve creating charts, graphs, and maps, there is so much more to it than that. As with all disciplines of design, it must be conceptual. It must use form and function to garner interest and it must uphold the integrity of the information.

Organization is a key factor in Information Design. Separating information into segments and related groups of information makes it easier to process the material.

So where is Information Design used? More places than you might think. As an Information Designer you may work on annual reports, wayfinding systems, newspaper, magazine, or web reporting, technical and user manuals, text books, product packaging, and much more.

For more on Information Design, visit these links:

Data Visualization Brings a Whole New Meaning to Graphic Design
by Maura McDonald
Information is Beautiful
Luminant Design
Design Council
10 Tips for Designing Better Infographics
3 Trends That Will Define The Future Of Infographics
Illustration by numbers: an in-depth guide to creating infographics
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Infographic Design

By Amy Lyons
Published August 24, 2011