Information Design

KT Meaney
Greening the Grocery Store
It turns out that the "recycling symbol" at the bottom of my yogurt container had nothing to do with its recyclability. So why was it there? My curiosity led to findings around which I built a design class.


Alice Twemlow
Dodging, Dazzling, and Divulging
Design Responses to Mass Surveillance


Observed
Redesiging the Parking Sign
Nikki Sylianteng was sick of getting parking tickets. Her solution: redesign the signs.



Rob Walker
Object of Interest: The Yellow Card
An appreciation of a great World Cup object: the yellow card.



Observed
Shape: A Film About Design
Shape is a short film that is part of MakeShapeChange , a project aimed at young people to get them thinking about how the world is made around them and where design fits in.


Debbie Millman
Jonathan Harris
Jonathan Harris on his web and database art projects, his relationship to time and memory, and the sexuality of the internet.



Rob Walker
Seeing The Problem
How a graphic communication campaign could help us address a real electoral map crisis: Gerrymandering 2.0.



Debbie Millman
Clement Mok
Clement Mok on the early days of Apple computer, the joys of working for Steve Jobs and starting his successful businesses.


Rob Walker
Branding By Numbers
Emblemetric backs its assessment of the American Airlines logo with "the data." Of course, that's open to interpretation.


Rob Walker
What Are You Looking At?
The maps of the future will tell you what to look at. Sometimes, you should look elsewhere.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment. This week's focus is charts and diagrams.



Tom Vanderbilt
Interface Time
Review of "Talk to Me" at Museum of Modern Art


Rick Poynor
The Dictionary as Art Concept
A new Magritte exhibition catalogue is not the first to take the form of a dictionary. How important is originality when it comes to book design?


Rick Poynor
Paul Stiff, the Reader’s Champion
For the late Paul Stiff, design educator, writer, editor and skeptic, typography must never neglect to serve the reader.



Julie Lasky
Design Indaba 2011
Review of Design Indaba 2011 conference in Cape Town, South Africa



Mark Lamster
Gerd Arntz: Design Icon
Gerd Arntz: A design icon who designed icons.


Alexandra Lange
Networks Before the Internet
A new exhibit at the Noguchi Museum shows how small and intertwined were the worlds of mid-century art, design and architecture.



Jonathan Schultz
Solo Kota Kita
Report on a design-oriented sysem for providing information about community resources in Indonesia as an aid for budgeting.


Michael Bierut
Mr. Vignelli’s Map
Vignelli Celebration: Massimo Vignelli's 1972 New York City subway map is a beautiful example of information design that was ultimately rejected by its users.



William Underhill
Map Kibera
Report on the Map Kibera project to provide navigation and information on Nairobi's massive informal settlement.



Alexandra Lange
Nothing Runs Like A...
A note about Deere & Company’s foray into the consumer market.



Gong Szeto
Interview with Brian Oakes
It’s not often that graphs and numbers take center stage in a popular film, but in the brilliant hands of graphic designer Brian Oakes, information design is not a backdrop but a main character in the recently released documentary I.O.U.S.A. Interview by Gong Szeto.



Tom Vanderbilt
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do




Michael Erard
Word Made Flesh
The forgotten discipline of sentence diagramming forces the structure of language to wear the clothes of images. A sentence diagram is less a map than a portrait, and in this vaudeville language is painted, corsetted and trussed.



William Drenttel
Threat Advisory Pandemic Alert System (TAPAS)
How do we measure the danger level from the Avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus? What we lack is that one Tom Ridge-like bit of inspiration that would lend clarity to these confusing times. We took our cue from a certain John James Audubon. Herewith, one option for Homeland Security. Yes, we know: it's for the birds.



Jessica Helfand
Disaster Relief 101: No Door Hanger Left Behind
Door hangers seem the perfect metaphor for FEMA's failure: they're one-dimensional, unnecessarily complicated, and basically useless.



Michael Bierut
The Great Non-Amber-Colored Hope
A student design for a prescription pill bottle takes a metoric rise to mass production and becomes an instant icon in the world of graphic design.



Jessica Helfand
New Models for Design Efficiency: Introducing Otto




William Drenttel
Maps of Cyberspace
It is the internet that has changed our perception of space, precisely because the sheer volume of interconnectivity is beyond our imagination, whether it be language-based, data-based, or community-based. Add black holes and photographs of asteroidal moons around Jupiter, and our world seems increasingly expansive. Yet, if we cannot map it, how can we understand it?



Michael Bierut
Me and My Pyramid
The redesign of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid is neither satisfying nor nourishing from an information design point of view.



Jessica Helfand
My Friend Flickr
Flickr is a digital photo sharing website and web services suite that was developed by Ludicorp, a Vancouver, Canada company founded in 2002. It's a utopian oddity — a culture enabled by a technology that in turn enables a culture — and it's a brilliant example of socially networked software because it's free, its easy, and it makes sense.



Jessica Helfand
The New Paper Chase: Cyberspace on The Auction Block
On February 23,
Christies in New York will auction more than 1,000 items dating as far back as the early 17th century, all of it tracing the history of cyberspace.



The Editors
Understanding and Action




Jessica Helfand
Am I Blue
Bumper stickers and lawn posters aside, Americans showed their concern on election day 2004 by standing in epic lines at polling centers around the nation, but also in certain subtle, discreetly visual ways. From dressing in all blue (or red) to wearing "I voted today" buttons, there has been a kind of silent visual communication effort steadily in play for the last 36 hours.



William Drenttel
Edward Tufte: The Dispassionate Statistician III




Michael Bierut
The Idealistic Corporation
American corporations in the mid-twentieth century, such as IBM, Container Corporation, and General Dynamics, worked with designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Herbert Bayer and Erik Nitsche in the conviction that design was not only a tool for business, but an potent instrument for making the world a better place.



William Drenttel
Learning from Las Vegas: The Book That (Still) Takes My Breath Away




Jessica Helfand
One Person, One Vote, One MRI?




Michael Bierut
Information Design and the Placebo Effect
It turns out that New York City is filled with buttons for pedestrians to activitate "Walk" signals at busy intersections that have never worked. Does pressing these useless buttons provide us with a sense that at least we're doing something?



William Drenttel
Call for Entries: Periodic Table of the Elements
Jessica Helfand and I are building a collection of Periodic Tables and hope to publish a book on their scientific, visual and cultural history.



William Drenttel
Uut, Uup and Away
What happens when we discover new elements, especially ones on the outer fringes of the periodic table? Where did Uut and Uup come from?



Michael Bierut
Errol Morris Blows Up Spreadsheet, Thousands Killed
Errol Morris's documentary "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara" demonstrates his mastery of information design as a poetic narrative device.



Michael Bierut
Mark Lombardi and the Ecstasy of Conspiracy
Artist Mark Lombardi's intricate handdrawn diagrams describing the relationships behind contemporary political and financial scandals are both beautiful objects and extraordinary feats of information design.



William Drenttel
Information Archaeology
Russ Kick is "a self-described 'information archaeologist...'" The revealing of state secrets through deconstructing a PDF.



William Drenttel
Edward Tufte: The Dispassionate Statistician II
More on Edward Tufte and his critique of PowerPoint.



Jessica Helfand
Edward Tufte: The Dispassionate Statistician I




Observed | September 29

MoMA announces a three-day symposium to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Modern Architecture, November 10-12. [MB]

More on Target’s iconic pill bottles, designed by Deborah Adler, now sadly replaced with more conventional ones. [MB]

Banking on simplicity and good design principles, Figma wants to be the GitHub of design—and more. [JH]

The humanitarian core of design—and why it matters. [JH]

Design, politics, and the future. [JH]

A wrist watch for the visually impaired. [JH]


Observed | September 28

The relationship between design environments and cognitive function. Here’s the original study. [JH]

An exhibition in New York celebrates the accomplishments of the working designer while framing a larger conversation about a defining moment of creative syncretism. [JH]

Design fans? Look no further! [JH]

"When you start tinkering with things ... the consumer kind of gets a little testy.” A plea to return to the "vastly superior design" of Target (pill) bottles. [JH]

“Visually, anyway, there was a discernible arc to the event, with Mr. Trump growing more agitated as the night wore on, and Mrs. Clinton becoming almost giddy with what felt increasingly like genuine pleasure.” One reporter watches the first US Presidential debate—with the sound off. [JH]


Observed | September 27

Audi’s longstanding design flaw—and its failure to admit it. [JH]

Le Corbusier once said, “If you want to see bad taste, go into the houses of the rich.” On design—and disease. [JH]

Cory Doctorow explains design fiction. [JH]

Times Higher Education explains what a design degree is actually worth. [JH]


Observed | September 26

Design. And desire! [JH]

“The future is already here,” says Fiat design chief Ralph Gilles. ”It’s just not here. It’s in different places.” [JH]

The Art Directors Club, a fixture on the New York advertising and design scene since 1920, is closing down to be acquired by The One Club. [MB]

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fights censorship, protects First Amendment rights, and provides legal representation for comic creators facing prosecution. [JH]

One word: plastics! [JH]

A fashion guide for today’s stylish federal employee. [MB]


Observed | September 23

The reason your neighborhood increasingly resembles a boring shopping mall is because somebody’s banker prefers it that way [MB]

A pantheon of record sleeve designers pick their favorites. [MB]

Molly Young and Teddy Blanks team up to produce a periodic table of NYC trash. [JH]

The Financial Times, on the comfort—and value—of Gerrit Rietveld’s classic zig-zag chair. [JH]

A new book suggests that design is at the core of all innovation. [JH]

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visual content is processed 60,000 times faster than text. [JH]

“In just a few years, understanding programming will be an indispensable part of active citizenship.” Reflections on the ethical dimensions of coding. [JH]


Observed | September 22

Farewell, Rollo Tamasi. Remembering the remarkably versatile director Curtis Hanson and his best movie, L.A. Confidential. [MB]

“Design to me is about improving our daily life—it is not about creating another lamp or another chair.” Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde wins the design innovation medal in London. [JH]



Jobs | September 30