“The book will surely appeal to both educators and practicing information designers. It addresses very contemporary issues in design practice and studies, such as a holistic view of the discipline, the notion of human-centered design, and the nature of information design as a research-based practice.”Jorge Frascara, Professor Emeritus of Information Design, University of Alberta
Information design is hard work. Clear communication and understanding involves a great deal of responsibility. Nowadays, the role of information design plays an increasingly determinant role in facilitating understanding across multiple disciplines—such as government, healthcare, finance, science, education—making the need to effectively communicate and improve the quality of information design work urgent. As Will Burtin stated in 1947, people “should not expect to attend school for two or three months, gain some knowledge, and then automatically be an accomplished designer.”
Communicating Knowledge Visually, my second book, provides an in-depth examination of Will Burtin’s mindset, process and work, which involved rigor, integration and simplification while combining careful observation, systematic thinking and objective evidence with innovative ideas and a creative use of materials to develop ambitious, people-centered designs. We synthesize Burtin’s legacy and present it as a scientific approach with a human-centered focus and a set of visual strategies that can be used to communicate scientific discoveries, medical concepts and other content that is too big, too small, too slow or too abstract for normal sensory comprehension. This approach can equip today’s information design practitioners with a more systematic design mindset to tackle complex problems and develop higher quality interventions.
This book also contributes to education. In Burtin’s words, this approach will “provide education with a bold and new incentive so that young people and teachers [could] respond vigorously to creative opportunities on the many new levels of a new reality.” A more scientific approach to information design can give educators a framework and a broader tool kit “to train a creative mind to solve communication problems instead of merely enhancing them.”
Will Burtin, “Theory of Design Course Lectures” (Lecture 1, February 20, 1947), 2, Will Burtin Papers, 96.7, Cary Graphic Design Archive, Rochester Institute of Technology