Information design:
in practice, an informed theory

InformForm is an international platform for information design, which celebrates and explores both practical and theoretical experimentation within the field of design. It prides itself on showcasing relevant examples of work by students, for students. Read More

inform #1 data and information

by InformForm

Discover and understand
Information design exists at the core of graphic design. It can simplify complexity, relate the seemingly unrelated and create insight. There should be a reason or purpose to give form and graphically represent information. The strength of purpose can be ascertained through process. Depending on an idea the foundations of a design could, for example, be to:


Data and information
The terms data and information are often used synonymously but it’s important to differentiate between the two. Data holds no meaning, it’s through the process of interpretation and the assignment of meaning that data becomes information. Quantitative data is measurements conveyed numerically, qualitative data is observed and measurements expressed descriptively. Information design is about knowledge: its acquisition, interpretation and communication through form. The neutrality of data is altered through assignment and appropriation. Therefore no design is ever neutral or objective.

The designer’s authorship and responsibility can cover several ambiguous states of this process. This is not merely a concern that belongs to the designer alone. It exists at the point of data generation, and its usage from this point onwards. The selection of certain information (and therefore the non-selection of other information) will always carry a certain bias. There will be the designer’s perception of the originator’s intentions, which will allow for another filter of interpretation for a (new) receiver.


Originally published in InformForm #1 2012

Posted in Articles
January 1, 2015
400 words & 1 image

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