02 Graphic Design Principles for Information Visuallisation

From Lev Manovich’s article, the most important thing for the designer is to focus on how to convey information to the audience clearly and easily. Obviously, before setting about a data visualisation designer has to completely understand what is the most essential information as well as the relations between each data or information like classification, so that designer could choose a design element to present the data clearly. Besides, each design elements such as colours, fonts, grid need to be limited.  For instance, It’s Not Your Imagination. Summers Are Getting Hotter, a projected did by Nadja Popovich and Adam Pearce shows summer temperatures from 1951 to 1980 and 2001 to 2012 in the Northern Hemisphere. 屏幕快照 2018-02-04 20.23.15

Audiences can easily tell dark blue means extremely cold, blue means cold, orange means hot, red means extremely hot and even grey means past period by common sense. Moreover, it gives audiences a chance to compare the temperatures in past ages and in the present through colours, which is the connection between different data. As we known, they want the audiences to notice temperatures in recent years, not far past years(1951-1980), so they only use coloured histogram in 2001-2012.

Another example is Nicholas Felton’s 2012 annual report.

01@2x (1)

He only used four colours to develop this report. When someone contacts with more people, the yellow dot which presents him get bigger. Audiences can tell interpersonal relationship by the size of dots. And the imaginary line shows the contacted object, and full line avoids misunderstanding. Like the principle of graphic design, since the full line is not much used as the imaginary line in the data part, he just uses the imaginary line to break the text into 3 paragraphs. Besides, he used two different types of fonts which make the whole design look tidy and clear.

Siegel’s lecture shows many interesting examples of visualisation that are not limited to 2D graphic paper but also interactive projects.  A good project is required to invite people to guess, to think, to ponder. And audiences are pleased to interact with the design which based on sounds, moving image or even physical staff in this dazzling age.


Aaeron Siegel’s video “Making Visible the Invisible” from 2012, which provides an introduction to data visualisation within art, design and exhibition contexts. https://vimeo.com/52832102

Felton, N. (2012). Feltron.com. [online] Feltron.com. Available at: http://feltron.com/FAR12.html [Accessed 4 Feb. 2018].

Google Docs. (2012). 5 Minute Guide: Graphic Design Principles for Information Visualization. [online] Available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CVbRgxAby5AdS6ERCmAde69v7_gXSWoK-YcJZzs-KKY/edit [Accessed 4 Feb. 2018].

Popovich, N. and Pearce, A. (2017). It’s Not Your Imagination. Summers Are Getting Hotter.. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/28/climate/more-frequent-extreme-summer-heat.html [Accessed 4 Feb. 2018].



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