Last week I was in Lisbon, Portugal, attending the 1st International Conference on Design and Graphic Printing (CIDAG). In addition to graphic printing other areas of design, such as corporate design and information design were discussed. I have been invited to do the opening keynote lecture for the information design area after Joan Costa, who did the same about corporate design.

Joan Costa presented a theory of six elements (cultural, verbal, graphic, products/services, environment, and communication) to be taken into account for branding and corporate design. He also included a short discussion about diagramming and diagrams, in which he explained the importance of extracting the essence of a piece of information for creating a diagram, as a diagrammatic representation cannot display everything. This point has commonalities with my thesis, where I argue that for developing effective diagrammatic representations it is essential to properly understand the content and extract only the necessary information to be displayed.

Wednesday 27 October- From left to right: Sheila Pontis, Fernando Silva and Joan Costa (Photo ©Rafael Pozo)

After his presentation, I presented a methodological view of diagramming information. For this I gave an overview of the objectives and boundaries of the information design discipline, highlighting the importance of design methods. In addition, I introduced the most relevant stages of the design process and the relation between these stages and different types of design methods. The last part of my presentation was devoted to explain the results and findings of the ‘Diagram(a)s backstage’ workshops, which took place during 2009 in Barcelona and London as part of my PhD research. During these workshops participants were engaged in a diagrammatic task for which some of them had to use MapCI, the design method I have developed as part of my practice-led thesis. Findings of these workshops revealed how important is the understanding of content for the identification of key information, and for the development of more effective diagrammatic representations.

From left to right: Mark Porter, Aurelindo Cela, Rafael Pozo and Pedro Oliveira (Photo ©SP)

In addition to these lectures, experts in the other fields also presented their works and theories. As an example, Mark Porter gave an overview of the current situation of the print industry and its relation with the new digital devices (i.e. iPad, iPhone). Both the lectures of Rafael Pozo Puértolas and Prof. Rajendrakumar Anayath were more related with print production, the role of the designer and the printer and the development of print systems and technologies. Many research projects about different design areas were also presented.

In general, the 3-day conference was an intense experience and a unique opportunity to meet people form different areas of design and know the different projects and approaches that are being done. In terms of information design research, some interesting projects are being developed in Portugal, i.e. the project entitled ‘Sign systems for touristic information: design and method’ conducted by Joao Vasco Neves.

Once again, I would like to thank the members of CIDAG for their help and kind attention during the whole conference.

I am looking forward to the second edition!

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