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Information Design 101

What is information design?

Information design primarily centers around optimizing the use and understanding of data. It is not just graphic design but rather a specialized field within visual communication, mainly focusing on data visualization, such as charts and maps, and textual data representation like tables.

While aesthetics do play a role in information design by adding credibility and capturing viewer interest, the primary goal, as noted by visual journalism expert Alberto Cairo, is transforming data into visual shapes to aid comprehension. An effective visualization presents data in a way that adds meaning, not complexity.

“The art and science of preparing information so that it can be used by human beings with efficiency and effectiveness”. –Robert E. Horn

Echoing Robert E. Horn's definition, information design is a blend of art and science. As a science, it relies on research about human visual perception to develop effective visual communication methods. Our visual processing abilities remain unchanged over thousands of years, so understanding them helps to design presentations that communicate effectively.

However, information design is also an art. Designers often make decisions based on an intuitive understanding of human communication, giving preference to a certain visual display or color scheme over another. These choices aren't arbitrary but rather born from an innate sense of what works, even if it cannot be formally defined.

If this piqued your curiosity, explore our latest course offering: Information Design for Lawyers !

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