I recently graduated University in December 2016, and throughout my three year course I studied various design units across a broad range of topics. Many of them were design forms that I had already heard of and already had an idea of whether I would like them or not, however in my final year I was introduced to Visual Information Design. This introduction was both exciting and disappointing; I had finally found a design form that combined data with graphics to help solve issues and enable a spread of information able to be understood by all. Yet at the same time I was disappointed, as I had only found this Data Visualisation in my last year of learning and I wished I had been able to explore with it earlier. Nevertheless, I was able to work with data and graphics throughout my entire last year, even producing my graduation exhibition piece with a Data Visualisation project.
As Data Visualisation and Information Design were both unknown design topics to me, I only have only just begun to scratch the surface of understanding and exploring what they are and how I can create with them. As I am still learning, the below are what I have thus far come to understand.
Both are very similar descriptions and I am yet to know if they are the same design form or just very similar, with slightly different outcomes or processes. Either way, both are interesting to me as I was always quite good at mathematics in my early learning years however design and art called to me more and so I gravitated that way instead. And now I have found a process combining both data and design and I am excited to discover any possibilities for new learning that this might bring.
An example of Information Design is the below Infographic 'Poppy Field' by Valentina D'Efilippo - A rough guide to conflict. It shows the deaths of soldiers throughout wars combined with the length of the war and location to provide a chilling message beneath a beautiful bouquet.
Already I have nearly finished a book called Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefani Posavec. Within this book are the results of a project they began in which they collected weekly data on the same topic and produced a data visualisation on a postcard, sending it to each other across the world. By collecting data of their own lives, each week, under the same topic, it allowed them to not only see patterns and anomalies in their personal findings, but also compare parts of their lives with each other. This really intrigued me, as the weekly topics could often be what I would originally assume as mundane information, yet at the end, when the data was put together it could make you think twice about how you live your life and spend your time. For example, data they collected included how often they looked at the time, how often they said thank you and how many times they walked through doors. Each of these are relatively simple and inoffensive topics and yet to me can open up a world of further questions and exploration. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as it has shown me that Data Visualisation and Information Design don't have to capture Big data or complex topics to create an interesting conversation or discovery.
This is only the beginning for my learning journey through Data Visualisation and Information Design. I would eventually like to create my own small Data Visualisation, possibly using one of the weekly topics from Dear Data to see how my own life looks like when analysed on paper. And as this is only the beginning I hope to continue to create and grow my abilities in this design form through many further explorations of data and design.