ah teaches information design

P1: Information Design

This term we will be working with SFU's Sustainability Office to help the university and broader community understand sustainability research at SFU.

Working with materials provided by the Sustainability Office as well as the Sustainability Office website, you will be creating designs intended to clearly, effectively, and understandably communicate SFU sustainability research.

Please note that the materials provided contain a lot of information. You are not required to include all that information, but you are expected to make a strong argument for why the information you include (or not) is reasonable.

Due

Before your lab time on Oct 1.

Worth

15% of your final grade.

Instructions

There are a number of weeks in which to complete this project, so please make sure to read the instructions below carefully.

Starting Sept 10

In the labs, you will start by looking at the collection of resources provided by the Sustainability Office and the Sustainability Office website. Your main task this week is to consider how to make the given information understandable by a general audience.

Think about how you understand — or do not understand — the given information as you read through it. As part of this you will also begin drafting approaches to the design. To get started, please consider the following questions:

  1. Purpose:
    • What is this material (the spreadsheet and website) communicating?
    • Who are these materials likely meant for?
    • How might the form — not the content — of this information (spreadsheet and website) be perceived by a general audience?
  2. Information:
    • What kinds of information about sustainability research is available in the material?
    • Would a general audience understand the information content provided?
    • Why might there be concerns — or not be concerns — with understanding the information?
  3. Use:
    • Could a general audience make use of this information? Why so/not?
    • Would a general audience care about this information? Why so/not?
    • How could this information be made more understandable by a general audience?
  4. Organize your answers to #1/2/3 from the above into an easily understood document (500 words total max). You will be discussing your findings next week in the labs, so it is important that you make it readable for your classmates.

    Having answered the questions above, generate twenty thumbnail sketches which demonstrate how you would approach presenting information on sustainability research to a general audience. These sketches can be for the following campus-presentable forms:

    • A static 1920x1080px design for digital displays.
    • A 15-second 1920x1080px motion graphic or video for digital displays (with no audio).
    • A web-page for inclusion in the Sustainability Office website.
Due in your Sept 17 lab:

Below is a breakdown of deliverable categories which can help you decide what level of deliverable you would like to aim for, and how to achieve it. The categories are extra exploration, keeping up, or tough week.

:D (Extra exploration):) (Keeping up):| (Tough week)

In addition to keeping up (outlined to the right) at least three high-fidelity sketches have been made (in addition to the 20 thumbnail sketches) to help further explore refining those directions.

  • 1 completed set of answers in a readable format, printed for lab.
  • 20 thumbnail sketches of initial designs demonstrating a variety of different design directions.
  • 1 mostly complete set of answers in a readable format, printed for lab.
  • 20 thumbnail sketches of initial designs, with little variety of different design directions.

Starting Sept 17

There will be discussion and critique in the lab this week, so please make notes as necessary.

  1. Based on your responses from last week, in-lab discussion, and critiques develop an mockup for a design direction which helps communicate your topic to a general audience. Take into consideration:
    • What form makes sense? (i.e. static display, motion-graphic, web-page)
    • What constraints are associated with this form?
    • What does this need to convey about sustainability?
    • Why, where, and how would a general audience engage with it?
    • Could the information be distorted or misinterpreted given the form or the content?
  2. Continue developing a mockup of the design using one of the following forms:
    • A static 1920x1080px design for digital displays.
    • A 15-second 1920x1080px motion graphic or video for digital displays (with no audio).
    • A web-page for inclusion in the Sustainability Office website.
  3. Prepare a brief argument (max 300 words) of why your proposed design communicates a sufficient amount of information effectively for a general audience. Use clear visual examples to support your argument.
Due in your Sept 24 lab:
:D (Extra exploration):) (Keeping up):| (Tough week)

In addition to meeting expectations (outlined to the right) the argument uses visual references from the design to effectively demonstrate the strengths in the design.

  • 1 mockup of a design, brought to lab.
  • 1 argument of why your design communicates the topic effectively, printed for lab.
  • 1 mockup of a design, brought to lab.
  • No argument printed and/or provided for lab.

Starting Sept 24

This week in the lab you will receive additional feedback on your mockup and argument. The feedback should be worked into your final design due next week. Please make sure your final deliverables for next week answer:

  1. How the design clearly and effectively conveys the chosen topic.
  2. The brief argument (max 300 words) should effectively argue why your design effectively conveys the chosen topic, using clear and appropriate visual examples to support your argument.

Final Delivery

Final deliverables are due to Canvas before your Oct 1 lab and make sure to double-check all your submitted files to ensure they can be opened so that no late or problematic submission penalties are assigned.

The submission is:

  • 1 mockup of a design
  • 1 argument of why your design is effective (with visual examples)

Remember that IAT-235: Information Design is a design course, and as a result the submitted package of materials and their quality should show due design consideration just as much as any other aspect of the project.

Grading Rubric

Your project will be graded on the following criteria:

Process (3 points)

Grading Focus: Weekly deliverable checks, quantity and quality of exploration, final deliverable quality.

  • A: Deliverables demonstrate more exploration both in quantity and quality than outlined in the brief. Final deliverable is well designed and structured.
  • B: Deliverables meet the expected amount of process exploration outlined in the brief. Final deliverable is well designed and structured.
  • C: Some of the required weekly deliverables are missing. Final deliverable has some minor concerns with design or structure.
  • D/F: Numerous weekly deliverables are missing. Final deliverable has major concerns with design or structure.

Argument (6 points)

Grading Focus: Quality of argument, focus on topic, use of visuals to support argument.

  • A: Clear connection between the design and written argument. Maintains exceptional focus on the topic. Provides an exceptional argument with relevant supporting details and appropriate visuals.
  • B: Clear connection between the design and written argument. Maintains consistent focus on the topic. Provides an adequate argument with relevant supporting details and appropriate visuals.
  • C: Some lapses in connection between the design and written summary. Demonstrates inconsistent focus on the topic. Argument weakened by extraneous or loosely related material and, or, inappropriate visuals.
  • D/F: Little to no connection between the design and written summary. Demonstrates little or no focus on the topic. Argument weakened by inconsistent or few details and inappropriate visuals.

Design (4 points)

Grading Focus: Application of design elements/principles, quality of designed materials, balancing aesthetic engagement and utility.

  • A: In addition to achieving a 'B', the material designed successfully balances aesthetic engagement and utility to create a informative and aesthetically pleasing (or engaging) design.
  • B: The material designed effectively uses colour, imagery, symbols, and type to convey the intended topic effectively to a general audience.
  • C: There are some concerns with the use of colour, imagery, symbols and, or, type, which somewhat hinders the effectiveness of the intended topic for a general audience.
  • D/F: There are major concerns with the use of colour, imagery, symbols and, or, type, which confuses the intended message for a general audience.