Week 4: The Psychology of Information Design and Illustrator

Additional Links
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
45 Ways to Visualize Two Values
Data Viz Catalogue
Hint.fm Wind Map
Adobe Scripting Documentation

Guest Speaker
Jer Thorp, artist, designer, writer and teacher, talks about his work with data as a medium for creating art. Watch video below.

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

How We Got To Now – Clean

In Class Assignment

Get setup with Datavisual.

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: Chapter “Creating Information Graphics”, pages 153-171 and “The Rise of Interactive Graphics”, pages 185-204

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, wayfinding, 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 20″ x 30″ 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.
4. Watch the lecture video for Week 5.