Winter 2018

Inspired information

Information Design: Research and Practice

Edited by Alison Black, Paul Luna, Ole Lund and Sue Walker, Centre for Information Design Research, University of Reading
Routledge, £55

In her 2014 book Graphesis Johanna Drucker describes information visualisations as ‘intellectual Trojan horses’ – they may appear observer-independent but they are in fact interpretations masquerading as representations. According to Drucker we need to accept the fundamentally constructed nature of data and acknowledge that phenomena such as nations, genders, populations and time spans are not self-evident, stable entities. Following this critical approach Drucker calls for ambiguity and uncertainty to be incorporated into the design of information either by being represented or by forming the basis upon which a representation is made. Few of the projects described in the new publication Information Design: Research and Practice use this latter strategy – they do not seek a non-standard format to show their constructedness. Given the context of many of the designs this is not surprising. Who wants to be confronted with ambiguity when looking for a gate at an airport? But in other contexts, science or news for instance, it makes sense to examine the data one is working with and show that it is being questioned.


Cover from Information Design: Research and Practice.
Top: ‘Coal’, 1947, a ‘graphic information’ spread by Alex Steinweiss, originally published in Fortune magazine, March 1947.


Joost Grootens, graphic designer, Head of the Master Information Design, Design Academy Eindhoven

Read the full version in Eye no. 95 vol. 24, 2018


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 95 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.


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