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
InformForm workshop with Master Information Design students from Sint-Lukas Brussels
Pictographic design contexts can be wide ranging and differ greatly. Context is the (not necessarily physical) circumstances that surround the symbol and play an integral part in its ability to convey a message. The information space can have a significant impact on the meaning of the sign and vice versa. This is as well as aiding understanding of its function. For this reason context should be examined and explored early on in the design process, in close relation to the reader’s use of the proposed context.
The impact of the medium, format or technology on the user’s experience can be significant. Experience of form and text in a spatial setting such as an exhibition is different to the interactive environment of an app or a newspaper. Spatial dimensionality in design requires different approaches: a wall is not simply a very large page. It is the designer’s responsibility to test these frameworks accordingly. A large part of the design process is finding a harmonious balance in the decisions that show considerations for the context in relation to the content and—of course—the reader.
Context and our understanding of it can play a role in the design process, but it can also be a primary objective. This is particularly relevant when discussing wayfinding or the navigation of an information space. Symbols play an important role in the navigation of a space. Considerations for visibility, movement, placement and materials can provide the user with structure and can help minimise disorientation, allowing for efficient decision making. As users, we have a need to understand our environment and this goes for the designer in charge of the user experience.
Familiarity with an the information space can be aided and enhanced by signs if they can positively impact our decision making at that point. Familiarity plays a key role in the understanding of signs. The user needs to have the cognitive capability to understand the system, or at the very least the foundation and the principles the system it is based on.
Please check the Glossary section on this site for more useful references.
Codesigning Space by Dermot Egan and Oliver Marlow
Signage Design Manual by Edo Smitshuijzen
The Wayfinding Handbook: Information Design for Public Places by David Gibson
Wayfinding Design in the Public Environment by Andrew Hodson
Wayshowing > Wayfinding: Basic & Interactive by Per Mollerup
Wayfinding and Signage by Philipp Meuser and Daniela Pogade