Sense NEWS: Summer 2017 Highlights

Summer is a time for rest and recreation, for slowing down and just taking it easy. Not for us! Here are just a few of the things that have been keeping us busy. And be sure to clear your bookshelves, folks — we have three (yes three) books in the works:

  • Teaching at Parsons: We’re both super excited to be teaching two sections of Information Visualization, a required class of the BBA Strategic Design and Management program within the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design this fall. We’ve been revising the syllabus, preparing lessons, reading and re-reading some key texts, and planning some fun exercises and assignments. Oh, and there will be quizzes – LOTS of them!
  • New book on information design pioneer Will Burtin: Sheila co-authored a book on the legendary German designer Will Burtin with R. Roger Remington, Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design and Director of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology. Rapidly nearing final production, the book will showcase key projects by Burtin (some never before published) and shed new light on the relevance of his design and writings for present-day information designers. Unit Editions, publisher of high-end design books such as the recent monographs of Paula Scher and Lance Wyman, will be launching a Kickstarter for the book this September, with deluxe and standard editions available. We’ll announce when the Kickstarter goes live.
  • New book on information design and research: Sheila has been hard at work on a first-of-its-kind book bridging the worlds of information design and ethnography. Entitled “Ethnographic Information Design,” the book combines a repertoire of qualitative methods from more established practices (e.g. contextual interviews, diary studies) with principles and frameworks from information design (e.g. visual displays, organizing principles, visual coding). Students, professionals, and researchers related to information design are the target audience, although the book may also be of interest to students and professionals from the social sciences, anthropology and psychology interested in learning visual skills to improve their work and create more compelling stories. Taylor and Francis will be publishing the book in early 2019.
  • New textbook on information design: We’ve kicked off work on another information design book: “Understanding Information Design: Principles and Practice.” This will be a comprehensive information design textbook aimed primarily at undergraduate students studying information design as part of a degree in graphic design, visual communication, or communication studies. One of the main goals of this book is to provide a solid grounding in the “thinking” aspect of information design work — that is, the ability to define and investigate problems, both at the strategic and tactical levels, in order to arrive at the most effective solution. The first half of the book will cover the basics of information design history, the design process, visual perception, cognition, and other essential topics, while the second half will explore a broad range of applications, from icons and symbols to interactive visualizations, all accompanied by exercises, discussion questions, interviews and case studies. Bloomsbury will be publishing the book in early 2020.

Finally, we have a few projects brewing behind the scenes. Once they’re ready to hatch (get it?), we’ll share some updates.

Image: A comparison of bird’s eggs and pill capsules from a spread in “Scope” magazine (1957) by Will Burtin.