Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Information Design Tools and Approach

Starting with the brain, modern science has been able to collect data and make some significant assumptions about that data. It is nearly conclusive that “the left side of the brain is the seat of language and processes in a logical and sequential order. The right side is more visual and processes intuitively, holistically, and randomly.” (Hopper) With that being said, let us find the tools that will strike a friendship with the “right side” of our user’s brains.

To properly employ powerful tools, such as computer programs for graphic designers, we must first turn technique into habit. You can get into the habit of answering the six questions:
• Who
• What
• Where
• Why
• How


You can also follow Dan Roam’s solution.
• Simple or Elaborate
• Quality or Quantity
• Vision or Execution
• Individual attributes or Comparison
• Delta or Status quo

Well, you could just draw random thoughts on note cards, spread them out on the floor, and then organize them later.

You can take a little of everything and come up with your own style. However, I get the feeling that you have to have something to organize your thoughts. And that goes for the talented and gifted too!

There are so many tools out there. Like Dan Roam says, “sometimes all you need is a pen and a napkin.” I have seen people do amazing things with Legos. But sometimes you need to combine the efficiency of a computer and the sophistication of a computer program. Sometimes you need software like:
• Microsoft Visio
• Adobe Illustrator
• Adobe Photoshop
• Adobe Flash
• Gimp

Hopper, Carolyn. "Differences Between Left and Right Hemisphere." Left/Right Brain. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. .

Roam, Dan. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. New York : Portfolio, 2010. Print.


  1. I agree with your statement about the need to first make technique into a habit and like how you discussed the different approaches. I found your video using Adobe Illistrator interesting and informative since I only have very basic knowledge about graphic design. I appreciate the clean look of your blog - it allows us to read your blog without any distractions.

  2. Your blog is very easy to read and I feel that it is very understandable as well. I like the repetition of the bullets before your lists, but at the same time, I honestly feel that there may be an excess of this. I say this because as I scroll through the page, I immediately get the impression that nothing is going to be described in detail for a novice, even though this is not entirely the case. I think you really tried to cover a lot of ground here, and you touched on a lot of pertinent information, but my end feeling is that you tried to address too much in too little space to be especially informative to anyone new to information design. In your design, I think you have things balanced well, though there is a little too much left justification for me. You have compensated for that by centering the video and graphic, but I think simply centering the date, as well, would really add to the balanced look of things. I feel this way because you have centered elements in the middle and end, but not at the beginning. I feel that you tried to convey a clean informative message here in the concept of your design and I think you did that very well. I think the shape of the graphic and video enhances the balance of the piece. The simplicity of the black and white is one of those contrast lessons that I think should continue to be used more. You just can't really get more contrast than this, and it works well. I think your title was appropriate, as well as your content. I think all in all you accomplished the goals of this assignment, though I seem to recall that we were supposed to focus on one tool. As I tried to convey before, I think you may have cast your net a little wide on this one. Nevertheless, I feel that what you did, you did well and your language, design, and overall piece are all very well executed.
    Wendy Gibson

  3. The elements have been arranged by two geometric shapes including rectangles and a square. There is a variation of sizes in the shapes that are defined clearly and are created by color portraying edges. The positive shapes in the design automatically create a negative shape. The color within the shapes differentiates and defines the linear lines. There is a difference in line quality from thin to thick, width, length and color. For example, a heavy black smooth line was used and created a different feeling in the design. The horizontal lines suggest calmness, stability and tranquility. The overall value of lightness and lack of contrast depicts a sense of harmony. Blue seems to be seen sparingly representing cool and calm. The chosen elements create an effective message of simplicity in Information Design.

    Repetition is used by depicting the shapes and bullets. The shapes are arranged on top, middle and end of the design. Throughout the design bullets appear to be a pattern. There is a large amount of space around the shapes. In my opinion, the designer is concerned with the elements and principals of art and design as the design is simple and clear. The meaning of the work depicts Information Design to be simple, clear and easy to understand.

    The title, “Information Design Tools and Approach” provides general clues to the purpose of the work. The designer is acknowledging social experiences through his work by the text and refers to graphic designers and Dan Roam. What stood out most when I first saw the design was the color of the “join this site” button.

    The feeling of balance comes across by the geometric shapes on the top of the design. The shapes helped to move through the design and led the eye. The art movement that might have inspired this designer might be Minimalism. This work is simple in what it presents and how it represents its message. The message the designer is trying to communicate is Information design should be clear and simple. If I had to choose a title for this piece, I would you name it, “The simple side of Information Design Tools.”

    The quality of the message could be improved by enlarging the square so the text is clear. The work succeeds in conveying a clear and convincing feeling of simplicity. I believe there is only one possible meaning of the design. The designer conveyed his message clearly and has accomplished what he set out to do.
    It was short and simple.

    Good Job!!!
    Danelle Wolfe

  4. As always, I like the design of your blog. It is simple and straight to the point. I also really liked the video that you included. It was very informative and I was very happy to learn about from the video. I have always felt that fonts are a great to express a message.

    You did a great job of giving an overview of the different topics from our reading. I like how you tied some of the different methods that Dan Roam provided us with together.

    One area that I would change is the timeline graphic that you included. Even when you click on it to open it bigger, it is still a little difficult to read. I have found timelines difficult to make more readable due to the nature of the design. I'm not sure if timelines should be staggered, but there may be a way of making everything bigger if you were able to divide the timeline after the first bracket and include that section below it.

    Great job though. I enjoy reading your blog.

  5. Hi there,

    Your video is very insightful and you do a great job of explaining your process of creating a logo. You seem to have very sharp design skills and proficiency with Illustrator. Illustrator and Photoshop are excellent informational design tools, but it does take time to learn how to create with these platforms. I thought that the logo that you designed was simple and effective, I liked how you joined the 2 Ts, but still added contrast to differentiate them. Great job!

    Helen Benedict