Added links and readings for museum assignment. (Feb 8, 2005)

"My passion is to make the complex clear" Richard Saul Wurman

"The sheer magnitude of the information accessible to us makes an irrefutable case for why information design is so critical." Ann Senechal

"Do or do not... there is no try." Yoda

Course Details

Professor: Hal Thwaites

Course number: coms398t/3, winter 2005

Prerequisites: coms256 or permission of professor


Course Description

This course examines information design as one of the newer design disciplines in the field of communication. Under the term information design I see the process of organization, selection, testing and digitization of various pieces of reality or their mediated forms toward a predetermined impact on the receiver, from a single person to large mass audiences. It is a systemic thinking approach. In the past information designers were usually called the authors of mediated information complexes. In the most primitive terms it was the form of the information that carried the name of the authors (painter, sculptor, writer, orator) and later the name of the performer (musician, dancer, actor). The field of information design encompasses the information source, transmission conditions, the receiver‘s response, and their organization and systematization. Information itself is seen as an energetic process with catalytic characteristics. To design the information chain is the fundamental role of the designer.

Information Design is a course that explores the many aspects of creative project planning, invention, and documentation for all kinds of creative acts, with a focus on the integration of digital media. Students will find the course a productive, think-tank environment to prepare them to work in both the conception and the production of media works. This is a course about being a clear, organized, information designer and media consultant. The course content will primarily focus on process, organizational aspects, audience profiles and the design and documentation of digital media projects. But we do not limit our work to screens alone.

The course will combine assigned readings and class discussions with exploratory exercises and active learning techniques devised by the instructor and the class in response to particular concepts and issues. Various on-site exercises will be given (based on the location and topic of each module of the course) such as: guided short papers, analysis, or a media information matrix. A final comprehensive paper formed from the previous components/experiences will end the course. The class will endeavor to cover the information design process of media production and create relevant project plans and documentations, with the hope of realizing the projects in other classes, in personal work, or in industry.

Upon successful completion of the course, each student will have demonstrated: