Project 3: Structure, Organization, Type: Hierarchy and Visual Grammar

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Drawing inspiration and concepts from Chapter 4 of Designing Information, create one simple and elegant form, pictograph, or sign that helps solve a real problem or need and does so with flair.

Discussion of the Prompt

If you choose to develop a form, you can use InDesign or Word to create it, then use Adobe Acrobat in the finishing stages to create the form fields for easy fill-in. Or you can use Google Forms to create and design a form for collecting data online. Your form should serve a real need for a client, or you can ask Dr. B. for ideas and suggestions. If you choose to develop a pictograph or sign, it should be original, creative, and functional, suitable for posting as a sign (in the 1941 Studio, for example). In both cases, you could also create a "meta-form," "meta-pictograph," or "meta-sign," something that (humorously) comments on the nature of forms, pictographs, or signs (like the cartoon about the butterfly ballot). You could also create a visual pun (see p. 137 of Designing Information).

Your design should have a title or name and should be accompanied by a 100-word explanation or discussion, suitable, for example, as a plaque (as in a museum exhibit). Don't forget to attach your name (as the artist/designer).


  1. Selection and short discussion of your project. In a blog post, describe the focus of your project (what kind of form or pictograph you will create), how it will be used, and who will use it. Tag your post project 2. Due Tuesday, April 16. You'll have some time in class to discuss your topic with others and, if needed, to change your mind and repost a refined topic.
  2. Draft for peer review. Your initial draft draft should include all elements of your form or be a complete pictograph ready for in class user-testing and review. Post your draft to a blog post as a PDF file or a link (to a Google Form, for example); tag your post project 3 and project 3 draft. Due, Tuesday, April 23.
  3. Polished draft. Your polished draft should include your information graphic, your related story, and the data you used to create the information graphic, in the form of a single PDF file, submitted to the class Dropbox folder, Project 3 subfolder. Due Thursady, April 25 by the end of the day.

Format and Presentation of Project 3

The functionality of Project 3 will be an important consideration in its overall quality and evaluation, which means that your form should work well with the autdience and fulfill a need, or your pictograph or sign should accomplish a clear goal. Use the elements of structure, organization, type, hierarchy, and visual grammar discussed in Chapter 4 of Designing Information. Your images should be high quality and suitable for reproduction. Your choice of typography, if any, should be well suited to the context. I recommend using Adobe InDesign (and other tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Excel, MS Word's drawing tools, or Google SketchUp; see to make the composition of your forms or images effective and usable.

Grading Criteria

You must complete all three deliverables to earn credit for Project 3. Deliverable 3, your polished draft, will be evaluated based on the quality, design, and function of your form, or the usefulness, cleverness, or kairos of your pictograph or sign; your accompanying "plaque" or explanation, which should be well written and also suitable for public display (on the Web, on a wall); and your effective use of the strategies for organizing information, images, or text on the page or screen


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 graded projects have been returned to you.