Week 4: The Psychology of Information Design and Illustrator


The way we see and comprehend our surroundings is extremely important to understand when visualizing information. First and foremost you want the visualization to be clear and easily understood. Mostly, everyone on this planet is born to understand this world through our sight. Thats why it is so important to interpret any dataset visually, it would take a much longer time to gain any insight staring at a spreadsheet or trying to calculate a mathematical equation. Today we will be talking about this need to understand how we see and comprehend and how we can use this knowledge to become better information designers.

We will also learn how to use Adobe Illustrator to help us visual interrupt these numerical values.

Lecture Slides

For those of you interest in learning more about how to use Processing when visualizing data feel free to check out the examples I posted on github. These examples go over the basics of Processing, programming and how to manipulate objects using data. If anyone is interested in learning more about programming for Adobe Illustrator you can find the documentation and examples here. The in class example can be found here.

In Class Assignment

Take one of the data sets you have been playing with the last few weeks and use Adobe Illustrator’s Graphing Tool to design a simple chart. Make sure you use the right chart type for the data set you will be visualizing.


Reading: Pages 153-204

1. Find a successful data driven design (chart, graph, map, infographic) to share with the class that you find interesting, beautiful and/or easy to understand. This can be a static visualization, interactive, motion graphic, photographic, etc.

2. Find a chart, graph, map or other data visualization that is NOT successful to share with the class.

3. Continue your research and collecting data on the topic you chose to focus on for your midterm. Start sketching out your poster design to determine the layout and the type of content you will be using to create your 22″ x 28″ poster. Think about the hierarchy of your content and the story you are trying to tell with the data. Do you want to want to call out any data specific points in your design? Include headers, subheaders and captions to make your design as easy to digest as possible. Make sure you save where you found your data to include a source text footnote.


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