Design That Informs / by Heather Dunmoyer

Information graphics. What is it exactly? Of course the visual of a bar graph or a scatter plot come to mind, but how do we define this?

Based upon search, Information Graphics can be defined as the graphic, visual representation for information, data, or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. When I think of infographics in the setting of Seattle, my mind automatically goes to Killer Infographics. It's a design firm in Seattle that specializes on creating incredible infographics by visualizing countless hours of research and data. Whenever I need inspiration or an idea for a sound and well-designed infographic, I will always turn to definitely give it a peep.  

So here's a big question; What does your sleep schedule look like? Can we tackle this information and present it in a way that informs and can be comprehensive? The incredible infographic designer Nicholas Felton shows us how. For a background on Felton, he began creating information design when he began creating an Annual Report each year that visually laid out his personal data. He would document and visualize just about anything. “From weight to how many miles he’s flown, to the books he’d read, and the photographs he’d taken.”

It’s fascinating to see his reports as he takes such care to record throughly the information needed. As a result, he represents perfectly and beautifully, the data he had mined.
Bold yellow for the color choice, large-scale type, contrasting sizes, and a circular map help to visually queue in the viewer to what Felton wishes to communicate. It’s so interesting to see how sleep can be visualized and Felton is successful in both capturing the attention of the audience, informing, and using visuals to represent the data. 

 source:  Nicholas Felton

From this research, I begin to embark on my University "vision quest" towards an Information Design course where I will research Huntington's Disease. I'm looking forward to the process, and finding inspiration will help to inform the design. I'm beginning to see how excellent info design does not look good, it communicates well without using a lot of imagery. A convoluted collection of unnecessary logos and icons can easily distract and take away from the design and content, rather than benefit. Staying focused on the content and data rather than the look, seems to be the best solution for effective info design.