Information design is the practice of presenting information in a way that fosters an efficient and effective understanding of it. The term is used specifically for graphic design and for displaying information effectively, rather than just for artistic expression. It is closely related to data visualization and is often given as part of graphic design courses. Information design is an explanation design. It explains the facts of the world and leads to knowledge and informed action.
Information design can be used for broad audiences or specific audiences. The resulting work often seeks to improve a user's trust in a product such as medicine packaging inserts, operational instructions for medicine packing inserts, operational instructions for industrial machinery, and information for emergencies. Government and regulatory authorities have legislated about a number of information design issues, such as the minimum size of type in financial small print, the labeling of ingredients in processed food, and the testing of medicine labeling.
Simplicity is a major concern in information design. The aim is clarity. Sometimes more information means more clarity. Simplicity is a growing subjective matter and must always be increasing with the information user in mind. Simplicity can be easy when following five simple steps when it comes to information design.
- Tell the truth
- Get to the point
- Pick the right tool for the job
- Highlight what is important
- Of course, keep it simple.
These are the steps that will help an information designer break down results, as well as keep their audience engaged. Today’s innovations in communications have created an undeniable demand for specialists in information design and communication. Corporations, governments, and nonprofits are engaging the reach of their initiatives, providing a fresh platform for launching new products and services, and involving employees in new ways.
Information design focuses more narrowly on the information units and may encompass the information aspects of industrial design (labels, knobs, and the physical interface), information content design, page design, typography decisions, and so forth. Information design can be applied to a single work, such as a city map, or to the entire set of customer information. The output is the part of an information plan, a separate information design document, or simply the designed object or set of objects.
The practice of information design invites questions about how people learn or prefer to learn and how they use information. It also raises questions about how to use design information for different cultural and other contextual differences in the audience. Information design ideas can often be tested in an ability laboratory by observing surrogate users trying to use the designed information and getting their feedback. The practice of information design invites questions about how people learn or prefer to learn and how they use information. It also raises questions about how to design information for differences in the audience.