Information Design - Spring 2009 - Actual Size

Week Fourteen

Wednesday, Apr. 29
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week 14 Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Rough draft of at least one document from your final project for in-class review.

Presentation Mania

Presentations by (1) David on "Medical Tables"; (2) Kim on Tyers, "Performance Based Design"; (3) Sergiy on Ruecker and Liepert; (4) Luis on Donnell, and (5) Byron on Krull and Sharp.

Designer Profile Review

We'll examine some aspects of your now complete Desginer Profile projects.

Some examples.

Final Project

In-class review and work on final project.

Final Office Hour

I'll be holding at least one final office hour in Loree 010 before the summer begins, at which time you can learn your grade, retrieve your work, and get additional feedback. The time and date will be posted soon.

Homework

Final Project

In-class review and work on final project.

Final Office Hour

I'll be holding at least one final office hour in Loree 010 before the summer begins, at which time you can learn your grade, retrieve your work, and get additional feedback. The time and date will be posted soon.

Homework

Final Project

Complete final project. Upload PDF copies of your documents to Sakai. Leave printed copies either (1) in my mailbox in Murray Hall or (2) under my office door in Loree (room 010).

What Where When
FP color print versionMurray Hall Mailroom (CAC) or Loree 010 (C/D)4 PM, Wednesday, May 6
Final Project PDF versionDropbox on Sakai4 PM, Wednesday, May 6

Final Office Hour

Monday, May 11, 3.30-4.30 PM. Loree 010. Stop by for final grades and comments. Otherwise send me an email clearly requesting that I send your grade by email.

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Week Thirteen

Wednesday, Apr. 22
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week 13 Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Designer Profile Final draft and DS: Bing printed copies to class. Upload digital copies to Sakai drop box.
  • Final Project: Creative Brief. Bring printed copy to class.

Of Interest

50 great examples of infographics.

Graphic Design in Swiss Industry.

Presentations

Presentations by Kateria, Chris, and David.

Still to present: Kim, Sergiy, Luis, and Byron.

Final Project

Work on final project.

Homework

Reading

Krull and Sharp - "Visual Verbs: Using Arrows to Depict Actions" (on Sakai)

New: Ruecker and Liepert, "Interface Design Lessons from the Periodic Table" (on Sakai)

New: Alex Tyers, "Performance Based Design" (on Sakai)

Hanno Ehses, "Representing Macbeth: A Case Study in Visual Rhetoric" (on Sakai)

Donnell, "Illustration and Language in Technical Communication" (on Sakai)

Final Project

Work on final project. Rough drafts of one or more documents due next week.

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Week Twelve

Wednesday, Apr. 15
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS). Class will start 15 minutes late this week, at 4:45 PM.

Week 12 Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Final draft of Designer Profile. DS due next week. You'll have the first hour of class to peer-review your document and implement final changes based on feedback.

Of Interest

A timeline.

A poster summary of Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design by Gunther Kress and Theo Van Leeuwen. Poster by Karen Neckyfarow and Lauren Saks.

Free and lovely science art and photo library: Conceptual Diagram Symbol Libraries.

More free infographics you may want to use in your work: Gerd Arntz Web Archive: Isotype.

Links and Causal Arrows

Tufte on Links and Causal Arrows and Mapped Pictures/Annotated Images.

Some examples:

Final Project

We'll use today to get started on the project. I'll talk to each of you more about what you want to do, and you'll have a chance to research models, genres, and material for the project.

Again: Your final project should consist of at least three different but related documents that respond (provide information in response to) a well-defined problem or need. Depending on the nature of your project, the documents may be different sub-documents within a single longer document like a booklet; e.g., a critical edition of a poem or a manual for a device. One, but no more than one, of your documents may be a poster or a tri-fold brochure.

Some more questions to keep in mind are

  • Who is your specific audience?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What do they already know?
  • What documents might they already have access to that supply some or all of the information they need?
  • What are the strengths and flaws of these documents?
  • Where and how will they acquire your document(s)? Where will they use them?
  • Why wasn't your audience being served (or served well) before?
  • What is your most important design/usability challenge?

Homework

Reading

Interview with Ellen Lupton (on Sakai).

Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller, Modern Hieroglyphs (PDF)

Ellen Lupton, "Reading Isotype" (on Sakai)

Hanno Ehses, "Representing Macbeth: A Case Study in Visual Rhetoric" (on Sakai)

Donnell, "Illustration and Language in Technical Communication" (on Sakai)

Presentations

Two brave volunteers for the Donnell text. One for Gross, "Medical Tables: How They Work" (from last week). And one for Ehses, "Reading Macbeth." All three texts are available on Sakai.

Still to present:

  • Chris,
  • Kim,
  • Sergiy,
  • David,
  • Luis,
  • Byron.

Designer Profile Project

Finish Design Script for this project. Six-hundred words, drawing on Tufte and at least three other readings. Quote informatively and supportively at least three times from EACH reading. Turn in a printed copy. Upload a digital copy to your Sakai drop box.

Final Project

Prepare a one-page Creative Brief for your final project. This needs to specify the following information:

  • Problem to which the documents at least in part respond. What is the cause of the problem? What are its effects on the people affected? The problem may have several parts or aspects.
  • People affected by the problem, who'll use the documents.
  • Place(s) = (1) location of problem; and (2) place where users will access the document.
  • Patron = the client. The individual or organization playing for the design. What does he, she, or it want?

Moreover: Given the problem, what will the documents communicate? What do the users need to know? Why do they want or need to know it? How will this knowledge help them to respond to the problem?

Refer to Baer, pp. 50-57, for more on the Creative Brief.

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Week Eleven

Wednesday, Apr. 8
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week 11 Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • First draft of Designer Profile. Have PDF ready to circulate (via Scribd) in class.
  • Ideas for final project. What purpose would the documents work together to serve? Who would the intended user be? What would he or she do with the documents? Where would he or she access the documents? What information would the documents store and communicate? You don't need to write formal answers to these "creative brief" questions yet. But start to think about possible answers.

Of Interest

What professional information design experts do with their time: Karen Schriver tweets on Twitter.

How Do Different Wines Taste?

Sprint Widget Mosaic = Visualizing the Now!

Data Visualization: Modern Approaches

Presentations

Presentations on Tufte, first and last chapters.

PDF Review

Before saving layered files (e.g., in Photoshop) as PDFs = FLATTEN the file. Otherwise the file size is HUGE!

Poster Project Review

We'll look at some of the posters in class.

Each element in a poster, as in informational texts in general, should do at least one of the following:

  • Communicate the information (store, transmit, present), including information about the document itself.
  • Attract and persuade the user.
  • Organize the document surface (or space) into a coherent, visually logical whole.

At minimum, a designer wants to persuade a user that a document is (1) a source of good information and (2) a good source of information.

The third function may extend to organizing (or visually connecting) the document with its environment, its context of use.

As we've discussed before: Text often stores and presents information. But the shape, size, color, and postion of the text may be used to organize the document surface, to make the pieces fit together. And the same text may attract a user to the document as a whole in the first place or attract her attention to a particular item of information.

An element may realize a function independently or in conjunction with other elements. It may realize one function in collaboration with one group of elements and another function in collaboration with a different group of elements.

Optimally, you should consider which of these functions each feature or element of your design serves. If it serves one, consider how it may serve more than one. An element should never serve none of the functions.

Textual information in posters may include:

  • Typeface Name (required)
  • Histoy, including explanation of the name
  • Designer biography
  • Common uses, special uses, common or famous locations or collocations
  • Peculiar features of the typeface
  • Stengths and weaknesses
  • Comparative information (likes, unlikes)

Visual information in posters may include:

  • Complete alphanumeric set for the typeface (upper and lower cases)
  • Anatomy
  • Examples in use
  • Demonstration of peculiar features, strengths, weaknesses
  • Associations
  • Variants, related fonts, contrasting fonts, etc.

More on the Final Project

At least three related documents. Two can be of the same genre but must serve different purposes.

All three documents need to use both words and images to convey information. The status relation needs to be EQUAL.

To start, you'll need to determine the following for the project:

  • Problem to which the documents at least in part respond. What is the cause of the problem? What are its effects on the people affected? The problem may have several parts or aspects.
  • People affected by the problem, who'll use the documents.
  • Place(s) = (1) location of problem; and (2) place where users will access the document.
  • Patron = the client. The individual or organization playing for the design. What does he, she, or it want?

Moreover: Given the problem, what will the documents communicate? What do the users need to know? Why do they want or need to know it? How will this knowledge help them to respond to the problem?

Designer Profile Project

Continue to work on profile. Show work to instructor.

Related: A Timeline and Profile from fifty years ago: Funnies Annual #1 (1959).

Homework

Reading

Interview with Karen Schriver (on Sakai).

Allard, "Coping with Complexity" (on Sakai)

Gross, "Medical Tables: How They Work" (on Sakai)

Infosthetics: the beauty of data visualization

Designer Profile Project

Complete a final draft of the profile. Upload PDF version to Sakai. Bring printed copy to class.

The Design Script will be due the following week.

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Week Ten

Wednesday, Apr. 1
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week Ten Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Bring two or three examples of good reference (book) design and/or book or magazine profile design to class.

Presentations

Presentation on Salway and Martinec, Some Ideas for Modelling Image-Text Combinations.

Brochure Review 3

In light of the presentation: Two more examples of image (text-image relations): Inca Mythology (labeling, identifying) and Scarlet Witch (cause-effect, range).

Designer Profile Project

We'll go over the assignment again and look at relevant examples. We'll do this with reference to Kostelnick and Roberts's work on the conventions of informational documents:

Magazine example: Two-page spread from Rutgers Magazine (.pdf,.jpg).

Next you'll have a chance to discuss your ideas and the project requirements in groups. Then you'll begin to work on your individual profiles.

Homework

Reading

Tufte, chapters 1 and 6, if you haven't read them already.

Designer Profile Project

Complete a first draft of the profile. Save a PDF version to circulate. We'll be critiquing these in class.

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Week Nine

Wednesday, Mar. 25
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS). Class will start 15 minutes late this week, at 4:45 PM.

Week Nine Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Type History Poster – Final draft. Printed color copy (to scale is not necessary). PDF on Sakai. Note: Work will not be graded unless the PDF version is on Sakai.
  • Type History Poster DS – Printed copy in class, electronic copy on Sakai.
  • Bring Samara and Digital Foundations books to class. Have Information Design in My Life material available in electronic form.

Presentations

More presentations on Tufte reading.

Brochure Project Review: Part Two

We'll look at what worked well in the brochures and what still needs attention.

But for an important reference, we should take a second look at the selections from Eyewitness Art: Composition (.pdf).

Inca Ceramics Motifs

Some review topics . . .

  • Images: Each image in a document should give new/different information, and should bear a clear and well-defined relation to the text.
  • Interior organization: Spider-Man vs. Captain America and the Hulk; Inca Geography vs. Hulk

The Information Design in My Life

In-class midterm exercise. Approximately one hour. Bring Samara book and Digital Foundations book for reference.

The editors of a new book project, titled >The Information Design in My Life, have asked x number of leading information designers, including yourselves, to each contribute two pages of pictures and comments on the eponymous subject.

Here are the requirements:

  • Two page spread using a (modular) grid; 8.5 x 11 inches (portrait). For comparison, the Samara book is slightly shorter and wider.
  • Like Samara: Try using a larger top margin.
  • White background
  • Two levels of heading, including an imaginative title for the spread and the designer's name (i.e., your name). Name and title phrase should be visually differentiated (by color, font, size).
  • Optional one-sentence blurb under or above the title
  • Paragraph of introductory text (your own or use fill text).
  • Five images information design with five captions. Each caption should have a descriptive title.
  • Crop images for emphasis.
  • Supra-textual elements: page numbers, book title, perhaps also your name or an appropriate section title in the margin, etc. Set up these recurring features via the master page. Note: do not use 1 and 2 for page numbers; start spread with EVEN page number greater that 20.

Your design should follow a conservative grid design on a white background with one image and one text block on each tier of the page. One page of the spread should have three items; the other page, two items plus the title and introductory text.

Consequently, set up a basic layout using a 3 x 3, 4 x 3,or 5 x 3 (column to row) grid. Use image width to establish column width and the projected horizontal space between the image and text to establish gutter width (or the other way around).

Complete the design. Use paragraph and character styles to simplify the process. (Basically your body text will consist of five identically styled paragraphs plus one contrasting paragraph of introduction plus the title/headings.)

Save as PDF and upload to (1) Sakai and (2) Scribd.

Designer Profile Project

For this project, you'll design a book chapter or periodical article (journal or magazine) devoted to the life and work of an individual designer or design group.

The project has both a collaborative aspect and a solo aspect to it.

The basic text for the project will be provided, but you'll need to investigate (1) the genre and design conventions for the format you select (book, magazine, or journal article) and (2) the style and work of the designer.

For example: What are the supratextual conventions of a magazine, a book, a scholarly or professional journal?

To get started: Let's take a look at some of the different kinds of (mainly) textual information that consistute a typical reference book biography text:

Now let's take a look at some re-designs of the bio text from a previous information design project:

  1. Front pages (color)
  2. Front pages (black & white)
  3. Back Matter
  4. Other pages

The Assignment: Designer Bio/Profile Article.

A sample: Archigram (.pdf).

Sample Entries from Biographical Dictionaries

Below are representative examples of the biography reference book genre; they're functional but not especially exciting, design-wise. Evaluating them as designs, we should consider two questions in partiocular: (1) How does the design suit, or fail to suit, the subject? and (2) How does the design at all its levels convey, or fail to convey, effectively information about the subject? Putting question (2) in a different way: How does the design promote or assist what Waller called active reading?

  1. Ancient Greeks: Pericles, p. 1
  2. Ancient Greeks: Pericles, p. 2
  3. Ancient Greeks: Pericles, p. 3
  4. Ancient Greeks: Pericles, p. 4
  5. Ancient Greeks: Pericles, p. 5
  6. Spies: Sara Edmonds (source: I Lie for a Living: Greatest Spies of All Time)
  7. Spies: Sir Francis Walsingham (source: I Lie for a Living: Greatest Spies of All Time)

And some magazine design examples: Re-Layout a Magazine assignment.

Form groups of three and discuss ideas, working methods, and division of labor for your designer profile project.

Homework

Reading

  1. Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information, chapters 1 and 6 (Escaping Flatland, Narratives of Space and Time). Available on Sakai, under Resources.
  2. Andrew Salway and Radan Martinec, Some Ideas for Modelling Image-Text Combinations (PDF).
  3. Optional: Len Unsworth, Image/Text Relations (PDF).
  4. Again: Take another close look at Baer, chapter 4, and Hedrick, Guidelines for Typography in NBCS.

Designer Profile Project

Update: Read through the assignment carefully. Select a designer from the liked list. Write down/sketch some preliminary ideas. Start finding images. One of the things we might do in the next few classes is upload images to Scribd and talk about the role these would play in your profile design.

Bring two or three examples of good reference (book) design and/or book or magazine profile design to class.

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Week Eight

Wednesday, Mar. 11
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS). Class will start 20 minutes late this week, at 4:50 PM.

Week Eight Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Type Poster Designs – Bring THREE different initial poster designs, either sketched on (graph) paper, composed in a graphics program like Photoshop, or in InDesign (saved as a PDF).
  • Type Poster Research – List five specific visual features, properties, signature uses, or associations of your selected type. Include this list with your designs.

Presentations

We'll begin today with three on the Tufte reading.

Brochure Project Review

We'll look at what worked well in the brochures and what still needs attention.

Type Poster Project

For the rest of the class, work on your type poster projects. Show your different designs to your classmates and the instructor.

In addition to methods covered in Digitial Foundations, there are many Adobe related poster tutorials online. For instance (and more or less at random): Poster Tutorial.

Review Baer, chapter 4: The Design Tool-Kit. In particular, refer to the examples and comments in the sections on Weight and Scale, Structure, and Graphic Elements. Many of the examples work as excellent templates or prototypes for possible type history posters.

Homework

Reading

  1. Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information, chapters 1 and 6 (Escaping Flatland, Narratives of Space and Time). Available on Sakai, under Resources.
  2. Take another close look at Baer, chapter 4, and Hedrick, Guidelines for Typography in NBCS.
  3. Poynter, Color, Contrast, & Dimension in Design (interactive Flash tutorial).

Poster Project

Complete your type history poster and design script. Post copies of both (PDF and Word respectively) to Sakai. Upload a copy of your poster to SCribd. Bring a printed copy of both to class. (Print poster in color.) The print of the poster can be shrunk to 8 1/2 by 11 paper.

Refer to Hedrick, Guidelines for Typography in NBCS, when designing your design script, which should be as much an instance of good information design as your brochure and poster.

When drawing on the readings to support your account, you should refer to Baer, chapter 4, and Tufte in particular. Both authors need to be cited multiple times in your DS.

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Week Seven

Wednesday, Mar. 4
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week Seven Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Brochure Project Design Script – printed copy for the instructor, electronic copy in Sakai Dropbox. Again: Here is the promised example of a style sheet (the style sheet refers to this document).
  • Type Poster Research – Begin researching a few typefaces and drafting (on paper) some design ideas for the type poster project. Bring at least one sketched design to class.

Presentation

Stephanie presents on Tyler, "Shaping Belief."

Things to Look At and Talk About

Infographic: Memento Plot Diagram (via Vi.sualize.us).

Website: Poster History.

FontBook: Samples.

Kevin Cannon, Twin Cities Rock Atlas (.jpg) for City Pages.

Cannon documents and explains his design process for this project on his blog, Big Time Attic.

Selections from Eyewitness Art: Composition (.pdf).

Type Poster Project

We'll take a look at some sample model posters, in order to get a good sense of the standard and variable features of the poster format and the type (history) poster genre.

As before with this kind of genre and format examination, we'll want to note not only what the user will expect, what her or she will want to do with the document, but also what works (what helps users to use the document) and what doesn't work (what interferes with their use of the document).

Following this, you'll begin work on your Type Poster Project.

Homework

Reading

  1. Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information, chapters 3, 4, and 5 (Layering and Separation; Small Multiples; and Color and Information). Available on Sakai, under Resources.
  2. Also take a look at Tufte's brief introduction.

Type Poster Project

Work on poster designs. For next class: Bring THREE different initial poster designs, either sketched on (graph) paper, composed in a graphics program like Photoshop, or in InDesign (saved as a PDF).

Prepare a list of at least five specific visual features, properties, signature uses, or associations of your selected type. Include this list with your designs.

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Week Six

Wednesday, Feb. 25
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week Six Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • 6 typography photos (Type in the Wild).
  • Final brochure design (printed color copy, PDF in Sakai dropbox). You will have some time in class, about an hour, to finalize and print your finished brochure sets.

Discussion Examples

Information Design in My Life.

Next: your typography examples via Scribd.com.

Type History Project: Intro

Old version of assignment from last year: Type History Poster Project (2008).

The Information Design in My Life

The editors of a new book project, titled The Information Design in My Life, have asked x number of leading information designers, including yourselves, to each contribute two pages of pictures and comments on the eponymous subject.

Requirements

  • Two page spread using a modular grid; 8.5 x 11 inches (portrait) with half-inch or less margins.
  • Imaginative title for the spread.
  • Optional one-sentence blurb under or above the title
  • Paragraph of introductory text (your own or use fill text).
  • Five images with five captions plus one close up with a caption.
  • Crop images for emphasis.
  • Supra-textual elements: page numbers, book title, perhaps also your name or an appropriate section title in the margin, etc. Note: do not use 1 ands 2 for page numbers; start spread with even page number greater that 20.

Note: Captions can either be near the images they describe (proximity principle) or grouped together and associated with the images via numbers or thin connection lines; or some other system of your devising.

Objects of Reference

Online Article: Graphic Design at 70 M.P.H..

Information Graphic: The Zero-Energy Solution (NYTimes.com).

Selections from Eyewitness Art: Composition (.pdf).

Selections from Roy Lichtenstein: Interiors (.pdf).

See also Samara, Making and Breaking the Grid, pp. 31, 68-69, 164-65, 203.

Saving and Printing

Save finished work; upload PDF version to Sakai. Print a color copy for next week.

Homework

Reading

  1. Tyler, "Shaping Belief" (on Sakai)
  2. Mackiewicz, "How to Gauge a Typeface's Personality" (on Sakai)

Brochure Project Design Script

Write your design script for the trifold brochure project.

The first two sections of the DS should add up to about 600 words.

The first section should be a style sheet for your design. Here is an example of a style sheet (the style sheet refers to this document).

The second section should explain some of the design decisions, both group decisions and personal decisions, with supporting references to at least three of the readings. There should be at least six references (with page numbers) and at least two short quotes from the reading.

The third section should be a MLA-style bibliography listing sources for the text of your brochures (not images).

Here are two sample design scripts (note that the requirements for these were slightly different to the ones for your project):

I've put another sample DS up on Sakai, in the Work Samples folder under Resources.

Information Design in My Life

Complete and save; upload PDF version to Sakai. Leave this mini-project for now. We'll get to it in a future class.

Type Poster Research

Select a typeface for your poster project. Begin researching that typeface and drafting (on paper) some design ideas. Bring at least one sketched design to class.

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Week Five

Wednesday, Feb. 18
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week Five Divider Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Two different preliminary designs for your brochure; bring two printed, double-side copies of each design to class. Black and white is fine.

Work Due Overview

Assignment Due Date Sakai Scribd Printed
Digital Foundations, chap. 13 exerciseJan. 28PDF--
Quine Exercises, parts 1 & 2Feb. 11PDF--
ID in My Life prepFeb. 11--text only
2 preliminary brochure designsFeb. 18--b&w, 2 copies
6 typography photos (Type in the Wild)Feb. 25single PDFsingle PDF-
Final brochure designFeb. 25PDF-color
Brochure specs and design scriptMar. 4doc or PDF-one copy

Presentations

Presentation on Charles Hedrick, Guidelines for Typography in NBCS.

The Trifold Brochure Genre Review

Reading Test: How does this brochure read?

Essential Brochure Features (textual, etc.):

Brochure Design Possibilities and Other Things to Keep in Mind

A trifold brochure whose content "moves":

Some things to keep in mind:

Graphics in the Brochure: quality, consistency (within each brochure and between the brochures of the group), and clarity. Consistency concerns include size, position, and color of the image and scale/distance and angle of the depicted object.

Work on Trifold Brochure

Partly in light of the preceding disucssion and examples, compare your research and design work. Look at the different design features of each of your brochures. Make decisions. And then begin to revise your designs. Settle on a definitive basic template for the set and a definitive method of variation. Remember that each brochure must clearly look like it belongs to the set and also clearly stand out as a distinct variation.

Once all the fundamental creative decisions are made, go to work on your individual brochures, periodically reviewing each other's progress.

The final brochures will be due next week. Bring the .indd version and a printed COLOR version to class.

Homework

Reading

  1. Burrough and Mandiberg, Digital Foundations, chapter TBA.
  2. E. R. Brumberger, "The Rhetoric of Typography: The Persona of Typeface and Text," Technical Communication 50 (2003): 206-223 (on Sakai).

Brochure Project

Complete a final draft of your brochure. Bring the INDD version and a printed COLOR version to class.

Typography in the Wild Assignmnet

Take photographs of examples of typography in the wild: three examples of typography that suits its purpose and three of typography that does not. Each of the good examples and each of the bad examples needs to be of typography from a different document type or genre (e.g., book cover, store sign, poster, menu, map).

Combine the photographs into a single PDF document, with the three good examples appearing first and the three bad second, and upload the document to BOTH Scribd and Sakai. We'll use Scribd to look at these in class.

Again: make sure that all six images are uploaded in a SINGLE file and try to keep the file size smallish, without losing quality. You can use Acrobat Professional (part of Adobe CS3) to combine multiple files into a single document.

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Week Four

Wednesday, Feb. 11
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week Four Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Information Design in My Life. Save the images and text in your "hw" folder on Eden. The "hw" folder should be a folder you create inside your "415" folder. Alternatively, you can save this work on a portable drive. Just remember that you'll need to have access to this material in class in the near future. Print out the text part of this assignment and have it ready to turn in.
  • Quine Exercises. Have this work on hand in class in both the original .indd format and as a PDF. We'll do some final adjustments to it and go over some aspects of the exercises as part of the class discussion.

Presentations

We begin this weeks class with a short presentation on Lipton, chapter 1: How Humans (Almost) Universally Perceive (PDF).

Exporting Your INDD file as PDF

As noted last week: we'll go over this at the beginning of class.

InDesign Typography Review

In preparation for the trifold brochure project, we'll review some of the main typographical powers of InDesign.

Anatomy of a letter

Type Anatomy Diagram.

ALso: Brief introduction to typography.

And let's take a close comparative at some excellent fonts.

CRAP Principles/Page Design Review

Visual logic of the page: uses page design to visually indicate what goes together, what doesn't.

CRAP = Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.

Another principle is Focus.

Let's compare these examples:

  1. Rolex Awards for Enterprise
  2. Example 2
  3. Example 3
  4. Example 4

Carefully examine Example 2 and list the following: (1) eight examples of CRAP; and (2) two things wrong with the design / two things you'd add or change. Give brief reason why for each.

Research Review for Trifold Brochure Project

First, let's go over the Tri-Fold Brochure Project assignment more slowly than we did last time.

Next: let's visit the RU Libraries Home Page.

Trifold Brochure: Examples and Analysis

We'll compare some examples, looking especially at conventional features – including supra-textual features – of the genre. Which features are variable, common but non-essential? Which are essential? What are some common artefactaul features of the genre?

Samples from previous semesters:

You can find another example (Aztec Architecture) under the resources for our course on Sakai.

Other Brochures

Sample brochures at Pixel Enthusiast.

Brochure Sets

Brochure set: Welcoming the New Driver

Brochure set: Horan

Brochure Set: Pet Behaviour Brochures

Pet Health brochure set

Example: Rabies

Brochure set in desparate need of redesign: Hernando County Animal Services Brochures.

Brochure set: Color Trends

More examples: work of Jayesh Raut

More brochures:

Trifold Brochure Project: Initial Designs and Planning

In your design teams, begin working on your projects. Develop three personas and three scenarios (see Baer chapter 2) for the project. Plan the design. Compare your research.

As part of your planning, it is essential that you collectively develop and agree on a basic grid structure to use to organize and assist your design. Here, refer to the options and examples provided in Samara.

In particular: Look at the grid examples in Samara, pp. 52-53, 100-101, and 78-79 (the last being a good example of variation within group identity).

Prepare a first draft of your individual brochure for the next class. This should contain your text and images.

To begin: Open Adobe InDesign CS3. Then, as needed, browse through the InDesign CS3 tutorial to familiarize yourself with the basic InDesign layout and tools.

Next: Use this step-by-step tutorial to set-up your basic trifold brochure layout.

Finally, in your groups begin to draft your brochures – and arrange to email or otherwise share whatever parts you need to share.

Homework

Reading

  1. Burrough and Mandiberg, Digital Foundations, chapter 4. On setting type in Illustrator. Much of this carries over to using InDesign.
  2. Baer, Information Design Workbook, chapter 4.
  3. Kostelnick, R. "Supra-Textual Design: The Visual Rhetoric of Whole Documents," Technical Communication Quarterly 5.1 (1996): 9-33.

Typography Reading

  1. Update: Charles Hedrick, Guidelines for Typography in NBCS. This essay is presented by Hedrick in 16 versions, each more or less identical in content but appearing in a different typeface. Select other versions via Hedrick's Typography Resources.
  2. Chasteauneuf, A Tutorial for Good Typography in InDesign – Setting up a baseline grid
  3. Red Labor, Know Your Type

Hedrick's essay is a clear and solid introduction to typographical basics we'll be drawing on throughout the semester. The Red Labor article is a short overview, focusing on excitement where Hedrick focuses on clarity. The Chasteauneuf article is a good tutorial for InDesign that supplements the Illustrator type lesson in Digital Foundations.

Brochure Project

Each group member: Prepare a Creative Brief (see Baer pp. 50-57) and write a description of the three personas and three scenarios (see Baer pp. 58-62) that your developed in class for your project.

Complete two different first (skeletal) drafts of your brochure (as we did with the Quine exercise, but this time only two versions). The text doesn't need to be finished, but you should use headers and other labels to indicate the kind of content that will occupy each part of your design. Each of these drafts should go beyond (indicate modifications, improvements) the preliminary design from class in different ways.

In the next class group members will compare their designs and settle on a final, definitive design for the project (i.e., the basic layout and features for the whole set).

Have an .indd version of your work available to work on and share in class.

Also bring two black and white printed versions of each of your drafts (double-sided), one for group work and one to turn in.

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Week Three

Wednesday, Feb. 4
There is no class meeting this week.

Week Three Image is forthcoming

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Week Two

Wednesday, Jan. 28
We meet in the Satellite Room (RUCS). Class will start 15 minutes late today, at 4:45 PM.

Week Two Image

In Class

Work Due

  • Reply to "Introductions" thread on the Class Forum. In your reply: Add a link to your "projects" folder (copy and past the URL) and then test the link.
  • InDesign Exercise from Digital Foundations: Submit the PDF version (not the .indd file) to the 415 Information Design dropbox on Sakai.

Informational Documents and Information Design

Informational documents tell users what they need to know – store and transmit information – that helps them to do something = to perform an action, complete a task, solve a problem, etc.

Sometimes the information in a document is sufficient for this purpose. In other cases, the document works in conjunction with other sources of information.

Documents usually contain at least two kinds of information:

  1. information that helps the user to do something beyond the document (e.g., buy a fashionable and professional looking business suit; write an English paper; catch up with what's happening in the latest season of 24; design a magazine spread using InDesign; find the toilet in a museum); and
  2. information that helps the user to use the document itself (e.g., page numbers, table of contents, index).

Both kinds of information need to be considered with care when designing a document.

Information design seeks to maximize the effectiveness of a document – the way it successfully stores and transmits information.

Waller – informational documents divide into different genres, each with its own more or less rigorously codified set of features that users expect to find = conventions.

Lipton – (almost) universal design principles. These apply to the design of all genres of document.

Samara – grid as (almost) universal design techique.

  • Design principles (Lipton)
  • Design techniques, like using a grid (Samara)
  • Knowledge of different document genres and their conventions (Waller, Kostelnick)
  • Studying design models and examples (Samara again)
  • Design equipment, like InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator
  • Audience analysis
  • Editorial feedback from your peers

Conventional Features of Informational Documents

Information design theorists Kostelnick and Roberts provide the following helpful schemes for analyzing the conventions of informational documents:

Example: Two-page spread from Rutgers Magazine (.pdf,.jpg).

Photoshop Introduction

We'll take a look at some basic features of Adobe Photoshop CS3, concentrating on three features that you'll use for you Personal Bio Page (see below): layers, cropping, and saving (images) for the web.

As part of this introduction, we'll refer to Digital Foundations, chapter nine.

Quine Exercise: Part 2

Part 1 of the Quine exercise focused on layout and typography. Part 2 continues this focus but adds graphics and color to the mix.

In part 2 you'll make five variations of the announcement, sticking to the 8 in by 8 in dimensions:

  1. Using only an 8-pt font from the list of typefaces for part 1, try to use white space and contrastive positioning to make the title look like/stand out as the title (i.e., without making it bigger than the other text).
  2. Now make the title bigger and position it in the lower half of the layout (i.e., a counter-standard position).
  3. Next, modifying one of your previous designs or starting a new design, add a focal image. The image CANNOT be a picture of Quine. Rather make an image (e.g., a collage or icon) in Photoshop (or Illustrator) that symbolizes LOGIC and use that in your design.
  4. Make a version of the Quine announcement in the style of the Chinese restaurant menu (brochure) from last week.
  5. Make a version of the Quine announcement in the style of the Zipcar brochure from last week.

Note: For the first two examples, stick to the 4 by 4 grid. For the last three, modify the grid (e.g., 3 by 3 or 4 by 3).

Tri-Fold Brochure Assignment: Preview and Prep

Next we'll start some preliminary work on the Tri-Fold Brochure Project.

Samples from previous semesters:

You can find another example (Aztec Architecture) under the resources for our course on Sakai.

Other brochures:

Homework

Reading (updated Feb. 3)

  1. Burrough and Mandiberg, Digital Foundations, chapters 7-10.
  2. Baer, Information Design Workbook, chapter 2.
  3. Ronnie Lipton, Practical Guide to Information Design, chapter 1: How Humans (Almost) Universally Perceive (PDF).
  4. Kostelnick, R. "Supra-Textual Design: The Visual Rhetoric of Whole Documents," Technical Communication Quarterly 5.1 (1996): 9-33. (This will be available on Sakai as soon as I can upload the file. I'm having trouble with Sakai at the moment, but should have it under control soon. If not, we'll read this important article for the next class.)

Presentations

The presentations for the next class will be on the Lipton reading.

CRAP Principles Reading

If you have it: Read Robin Williams, Non-Designer's Design Book, pp. 10-86. These chapters introduce us to the mighty (simple) "CRAP principles" — Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.

If you are not in possession of the the Williams book, then read these online articles on the CRAP principles of design:

We'll go over examples of CRAP applied and CRAP ignored in next week's class. And there'll be a small related group exercise.

Adobe Creative Suite Exercise (updated Feb. 3)

You'll need to have some basic facility with PhotoShop. So those of you new to the application should work through the PhotoShop chapters in the Digital Foundations book.

The Information (Design) in My Life

Look around you and find some interesting examples of information design in your everyday environment (in your room, in your neighborhood, on campus, etc.). In particular, look for six examples that illustrate some of the ideas in the readings for this week and last (Waller, Samara, Lipton, Baer, Kostelnick, etc.). Photograph these six examples (if possible, take several photos of each).

For each example: write a short text explaining how the example illustrates specific ideas from the reading. In support of your explanation, be sure to quote from the readings, identifying each reading by the author's last name and supplying the page number of the quoted material in parentheses after the quote.

You should refer at least three times to each reading and can draw on more than one reading in your discussion of particular example.

Your photos and text will form the basis for an in-class exercise next week.

Save the photos in your "hw" folder on Eden. Print your comments and the quotes from the reading and turn this in to me next week. Also, save an electronic copy in your "hw" folder to use in the next class.

Quine Exercises

As discussed in class, complete the last part(s) of the exercise and save all your work from the various Quine warm-up exercises. Keep the (native) .indd version for your own use, but also save your work in PDF format. We'll discuss the exercise in the next class.

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Week One

Wednesday, Jan. 21
We meet first in Frelinghuysen Hall, then in the Satellite Room (RUCS).

Week One Image

In Class

Introduction

In which we review the syllabus and policies; look at some examples; and discuss information, rhetoric, audience, document, genre, element, and some other basic terms of the course.

Examples

Let's go over a range of very different examples (by no means exhaustive) of information design.

Some of these documents convey a large amount of information, some very little. Some convey information in many different categories, some only in a few. And some are for a single kind of user (even a signle user) and some present different kinds of information for different kinds of user. Try to imagine and describe the user(s) of each document and to catalogue the different kinds of information as we look at each document in turn.

The documents:

Next compare the front and back sides of these two very differently designed folding brochures: Zipcar brochure and Chinese Restaurant take-out menu (.pdf).

Which of these is more rigorously designed? What is the designer trying to say in each case? Who is the audience? That is: What do the designs tell us about their intended audiences? How are we meant to use these documents? What do they help the user to do?

At the same time: Notice the structural similarities between the two documents. Underlying the considerable stylistic differences, the two documents have surprising features of their designs in common. What are some of these features? And what does their similarity suggest about the practices of information design?

PDF Examples

Here are some documents designed especially for online distribution and use (as well as printed use):

Make Folders for Design Work

Use SSH to make coursework folders on Eden. Follow these step-by-step instructions.

Note: Don't use spaces or upper-case letters in file or folder names!

Design Basics: Layout and Typography

Let's begin with a look at some basic layout and typography terms and ideas. We'll spend a lot more time with these as the semester continues and you'll soon encounter them in depth in the reading.

To help us with this crash introduction, let's take a look at the Text and Grid pages at Thinking with Type.

Quine Layout and Typography Exercise

A photograph

Photograph of W V O Quine.

This exercise will give you some initial practice with layout and typography. You'll work with (fictional) text announcing an exhibition at Harvard University devoted to the late American philosopher and logician Willard Van Orman Quine.

This project is based on Ellen Lupton's Grid Project (PDF) at Thinking with Type.

For examples, see Thinking with Type and Samara, Making and Breaking the Grid, pp. 22-23. Here is a (pretty mediocre looking) scan (PDF) for use in class.

To begin: Open Adobe InDesign CS3. Then, as needed, browse through the first two parts of this InDesign CS3 tutorial to familiarize yourself with the basic InDesign layout and tools.

Following the model for this assignment, create a new document in InDesign. Your document will have six pages, one for each variation. Your page size is 8 x 8 inches. Create a grid with 1/4-inch margins all around and four vertical columns with 1/4-inch gutters between them.

When your document appears on screen, use guidelines to divide the grid again horizontally.

Once you've set up your grid, arrange the Quine text on the grid. Create four different designs on four different pages, all using the same underlying grid.

Use typefaces from the list below. Do two layouts using a single size of type only (e.g., 8-pt or 10-pt), and one layout that introduces one additional size of type. The last layout can use any combination of sizes but should use at least three different sizes.

Note: You may modify or selectively remove the punctuation from the basic text, if necessary. Otherwise you must use the complete text on each page.

If possible, limit yourself to the fonts below. Half your pages should use only a single font. The other pages can use one or two fonts. You should use a serif font (e.g., Garamond) at least once and a sans-serif font (e.g., Gill Sans) at least once.

  • Helvetica
  • Garamond
  • Myriad
  • Bodoni
  • Futura
  • Helonia
  • Constantia
  • Gill Sans
  • Univers

Note: Not all of these typefaces are available in InDesign. See you what you find there – and what you might be able to find and download for free via the internet.

As you work, a few points to keep in mind:

  • The information you're laying out is divided both hierarchically, by impoortance, and into different categories. What will your intended document user notice first, second, third, and so on?
  • Use lots of WHITE SPACE. Try to use the white space to guide your user's attention. For instance: We generally think of the title of a document like this one appearing in a larger font than the rest of the content. But if all the textual content is set at the same size, how might you use white space to set apart/emphasize the title?
  • Avoid using all CAPS.

Saving and Exporting Your Quine Project

Save your work often and occasional copy your work either to Eden or to a flash drive. When you're finished, save your native InDesign file (.indd) in your "projects" folder on Eden.

Export

You should be able to complete this exercise in class. However, I encourage you to take one more look at the project and make adjustments. The finished work is due by the start of class next week. Submit a printed version and save a PDF version along with the InDesign file in your "projects" folder.

Note: Have the InDesign file (.indd) ready for next week's class; we'll go over "exporting" it into PDF format at that time.

Next Week . . .

Next week, among other things, we'll discuss the readings; work on an in-class exercise building on the "Information Design in My Life" homework assignment, and begin working on the Meso-American Cultures tri-fold brochures.

Homework

Reading

  1. Burrough and Mandiberg, Digital Foundations, chapters 4 & 13.
  2. Robert Waller, "Making Connections: Typography, Layout, and Language" (.pdf). Waller will introduce us further to the key concept of genre as it applies to the field of information design.
  3. Timothy Samara, Making an Breaking the Grid, pp. 14-32. Browse the many examples that follow.
  4. Baer, Information Design Workbook, chapter 1.

You can purchase the text books from the Rutgers Bookstore and possibly used copies of some of the books from New Jersey Books, 108 Somerset St.

Presentations

Presentations, at least for the first few weeks, will be made in pairs.

Next week's presentations will be on the Waller article and the first chapter of Baer. Presentations will be given at the beginning of class.

Each pair of presenters needs to prepare a one to two page outline/summary in Word (.doc) or PDF (.pdf) format. This summary needs to state the main ideas and define the key terms of the reading. Upload your summaries to the Scribd group and bring a printed copy for the instructor to class.

Here is an example of a written summary/outline. It's from another class, on game design rather than information design, but it covers similar material. It should help you with length and level of detail. Note that the attached summary is for TWO chapters. Each team of presenters for next week is responsible for only one chapter.

Preaentations should be about five minutes and should include some images, using Powerpoint, Keynote, or some other means.

Class Forum and Scribd

Register for the Class Forum. Respond to the "Introduction" thread.

Register for Scribd and join the class group (search for "415_spr09", the name of our group).

InDesign Homework

Complete the 5-part InDesign exercise in Digital Foundations, chapter 13. Be sure to vary the colors (i.e., don't use red and blue but two other colors for the shape.)

When you're finished, submit the PDF version (not the .indd file) to the 415 Information Design dropbox on Sakai.

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~ Jonathan Bass
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