Project 1: Qualitative Issues: Perceptions, Conventions, Proximity

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Identify one rich and complex example of information design for analysis using the terms and principles from Chapter 2 ("Qualitative Issues: Perceptions, Conventions, Proximity") of Designing Information. Your analysis should apply at least three of the principles discussed in the chapter, which include the following:

  • use of lines
  • shape
  • form
  • color
  • labeling
  • connections
  • notation
  • time
  • point of view
  • navigation
  • interpretation

Your example for analysis should be one that can be viewed on a single screen or page, such as an information graphic, poster, flyer, book cover, or website front page. At the start of your analysis, you should include an image of the example and then some background information about its context. Your analysis should include screenshots, images, close-ups and whatever other visual content may be necessary to understand your analsysis or the basis of your conclusions. In your interpretation and conclusions, you should be sure to comment on whether the visualization of information has accurately represented the subject matter. The length of the analysis, in terms of word count, should be about 1,000 words, which may include narrative, annotations, and captions. You can use the presentation of content in Designing Information for your inspiration (i.e., layout) or other scheme that you devise.

Discussion of the Prompt

This project asks you analyze, which is a method of elaborating the complexity of a subject by breaking it down into features, components, or parts, followed by an interpretation of how everything works together to achieve (or not) some purpose. Much will depend on your selection of an example of information design for analysis. You should pick an example that is complex and interesting enough to warrant your close attention (see some tips for finding good examples below).


  1. Selection and short discussion of your example of information design. In a blog post, attach or provide a link to the example you want to use for your analysis and then three sentences about why this example is a good subject for analysis. Tag your post project 1. Due Thursday, Feb. 7. You'll have some time in class to discuss your example with others and, if needed, change your mind and repost a more suitable example.
  2. Initial draft for in-class peer review. You should post your draft to a blog post (tag: project 1). Your draft should include discussion of at least one of the three principles you're using to analyze the example, an image of the (full) example, and any subsidiary images that focus on particular elements. Due Thursday, Feb. 14.
  3. Polished draft. Your polished draft should include all elements of your analysis, including application of (at least) three principles, background information, representative images, interpretation, and a list of illustrations/sources/bibliography that identifies any cited material that requires documentation. Note: citation information pertaining to images should be include in a caption beneath the image. You'll be given directions in class for where to submit your polished draft in PDF format. Due Thursday, Feb. 21 by the end of the day.

Format and Presentation of Project 1

The format and presentation of Project 1 will be an important consideration in its overall quality and evaluation, which means that you should take care to use a layout and design that best represents the content. Your polished draft should emulate the principles you're applying to your example. Use the elements of qualitative design (lines, shape, form, color, labeling, connections, notation, time, point of view, navigation) to present the information in a readable and persuasive format. You can, if you choose, use Designing Information itself as the inspiration for your layout. Your images should be good quality and can be annotated (using Adobe Acrobat, for example), and each should have a caption that includes a description and a credit line that identifies the source. You should use typography consistently and purposefully. I recommend using Adobe InDesign (and other tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat) to make the composition effective and relatively easy (managing effective and complex layouts in Word can be very tricky). If you don't know how to use InDesign, now would be the time to learn.

Grading Criteria

You must complete all three deliverables to earn credit for Project 1. Deliverable 3, your polished draft, will be evaluated based on your choice of an interesting and complex example, the quality and perceptiveness of your analysis of at least three of the principles, your effective use of the terminology of information design in presenting your analysis (terms from Designing Information or The Psychology of Everyday Things, for example), and the quality of your polished draft's presentation in terms of layout and design.


After you receive feedback on your polished draft, you may elect to revise and resubmit. If you choose to revise, you'll be required to include detailed submission notes with your revision. Submission notes should explain the significant revisions you've made to improve the project. All revisions should do more than make corrections and may involve reconceptualizing the approach or possibly choosing a new example for analysis. Revisions will be due one week after originally returned to you.

Sample Information Graphics, Sites, Posters, etc.

Search on Pinterest for examples of information design and posters:

Information Graphics

Information Is Beautiful

Monsters University