What is Information Design?

Often times when delving into the true definition of some subject I like to divide the complete phrase and look at the definition of its components. Simply put, the answer to the question “What is Information Design” can somewhat easily be learned by studying the definitions of the two words that make it up:

As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary:

  •  Information: knowledge obtained about someone or something: facts or details about a subject
  • Design: to conceive or execute a plan; to draw, lay out, or prepare

 So…Tom Fredericks paraphrase yields: To conceive, draw, or prepare facts or details about a specific subject.

In his book Information Design, Robert Jacobson defines information design as “the art and science of preparing information so that it can be used by human beings with efficiency and effectiveness” (Jacobson, 1999, p. 15) Furthermore, he adds that one of its primary objectives is to help make human interactions with equipment as easy and natural as possible.

Information design goes beyond aesthetics and endeavors to articulate information to a target audience, leading them to a more efficient, effective and complete understanding of the information. In my opinion a primary goal of information design is to avoid being one-dimensional in an effort to reach your audience who might very well think and process information differently than you. Information design captures the true sentiment found in the old adage “A picture is worth more than one-thousand words”.

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5 thoughts on “What is Information Design?

  1. Nicely done! Great theme and easy to read.
    I like your definition: “Information design goes beyond aesthetics and endeavors to articulate information to a target audience, leading them to a more efficient, effective and complete understanding of the information.” I especially like your use of the words “…efficient, effective and complete…”. I think those words truly capture the crux of good information design.
    – Felix Torres

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  2. Alicia Kurcoba says:

    Tom,

    Awesome job on your first blog! The border of the city is visually appealing and I think the colors that you chose complement each other nicely. The spacing in your blog was also very well done. It is designed in a way that makes it easy for the reader to understand. The definition of both information and design are a great way to better explain just what information design is. You are a great writer and your thoughts on information design are very well put! I also enjoyed the ending phrase of, “A picture is worth more than one thousand words”. That statement helps to clarify why the designing of information is so important. Great job!!

    Alicia Kurcoba

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  3. I like the theme that you chose for your blog. It suits the topic of information design nicely. I like how you broke down the elements of information design to yield your definition. That was a great idea. I look forward to reading your blog as it progresses. You’re off to a great start!

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  4. Simple and clean with a good definition of the topic. I always thought that that adage should be changed to account for inflation and the ability to manipulate photos. Perhaps now we should say a picture is worth more than a billion words?

    Andrew Rusello

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  5. bfshaff says:

    Tom, good job. I really like how you broke down information design down to describe it. You could not have choose a better sentiment as – “A picture is worth more than one-thousand words.” I read once to add to that quote…”a graph is worth reams of data.” Perfect for this class. 🙂

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