Course Description

DES 149: Information Design: Principles and Practice (4)

Discussion—1 hour; Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite(s): Upper division standing or consent of instructor. Restricted to students with upper division standing. Design principles and visual strategies for effective information display; analysis of contemporary and historical examples of visual representations and visual narratives in science, humanities, and the arts; emergence of digital methods for interactive data presentation.

Course Description

DES149: Information Design: Principles and Practice (4)
Welcoming upper-division students in all majors

Informational Design Examples

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how about a diagram or a map? Diagrams, charts, graphs, tables, guides, instructions, directories, and maps are all essential materials for understanding and navigating our world. They help communicate our ideas and our research findings to both disciplinary peers and broad non-specialist audiences.

In DES 149—through a series of readings, lectures, discussions, exercises, and projects—we explore ways to enhance the clarity, density, and impact of information displays through decisions about color, language, typography, and form. We learn by studying exemplary work in diverse fields, including the manuscripts of Galileo, timetables and timelines, the Pioneer Plaque, notations describing dance movements, axonometric maps, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, electrocardiograms, and a textbook of Euclid’s geometry. By looking at and dissecting a variety of examples, we analyze why some graphics are effective and others are not, and experiment with how they can be improved.

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