Systems and Processes: Information Design as Algorithms and Concept Maps

By Eugene Park and Christopher Hamamoto.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 10, 2014 $US5.00

At its core, information design is a practice that weaves and organizes large quantities of information in such a manner that can effectively articulate a specific topic or behavior. While the visual forms created by information designers can vary greatly from a small bar graph in a newspaper article to a large topological map, the variables that give form to such visuals have traditionally been extrapolated from plotting quantitative data.

Moving beyond the designs based strictly on numeric or geographic data, this paper introduces the practice of mapping conceptual ideas and practices that are grounded in the principles and methods to create algorithms and conceptual models. When applied as classroom projects, conceptual models and algorithms introduce students to the issues and challenges of navigating through conceptual data through linear and non-linear methods. The application of algorithms can be used to teach how to impart a clear a step-by-step instructions to the user while conceptual models encourages mapping of multiple pathways that converge around a singular and central topic. In addition to its applications as a teaching and research tool for designers to organize and articulate complex ideas, algorithms and conceptual models can also open opportunities for creative interdisciplinary collaborations.

Keywords: Information Design, Design Education, Mapping

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 8, Issue 1, October 2014, pp.19-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.237MB)).

Eugene Park

Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, College of Design, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Saint Paul, MN, USA

Christopher Hamamoto

Designer, Design, Flipboard, Palo Alto, CA, USA