“What is Information Design?”

When you first think about ‘Information Design’ you might imagine graphics, data, or written copy used in a professional environment, maybe a business brochure or a retail web site but, we receive and process information continually and differently – so in truth, “What is Information Design”? The Society for Technical Communication frames the concept logically “…the translating [of] complex, unorganized, or unstructured data into valuable, meaningful information”. (Baer p.12)

In practical application, this definition of Information Design unlocks the question for all of us. All you must do is look around to see examples of this discipline in everyday life, such as restaurant menus, map directions, kiosks, and blogs! Of course, it still includes business text – real estate brochures, company presentations, or research documentation.

But what also makes organized, complex, and structured data valuable? Insight! According to Nathan Shedroff, “Insight is what is created as we add context and give care to both the presentation and organization of data, as well as the particular needs of our audience” (Baer p.36). Let’s examine the way the Center for Disease Control uses clear language and associated visuals to educate the public on the Covid-19 vaccine safety. As people start to receive the vaccine they want to be reassured of oversight, to do this the agency condenses their message of multi-agency collaboration and technology processes in hope of gaining public trust – as a result the intent and delivery of this information design becomes purposeful.

“The human brain is wired to instantly process a picture and to never forget a story.” – Dan Roam


Baer, Kim, “InformationDesignWorkbook”, Rockport Publishers, Inc, Beverly MA, 2008

Center for Disease Control 2020 “Continuing the Journey of a Covid-19 Vaccine”, Retrieved February 3, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/journey-of-covid-19-vaccine-508.pdf

Roam, Dan, “Visual Roadmaps and Stories”, Digital Room Inc, San Francisco CA, Course content from DIGA 3050 SUNY ESC, Retrieved February 3, 2021 from https://www.danroam.com/showcase

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