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Information Design: History and Practices
with Alicia Cheng and Sarah Gephart

When did storytelling with data begin and what does it look like now?

Information design as a term only emerged as recently as 1970, but the exploration of communicating data started well before then. This course looks at seminal historical examples starting from the 18th century to the present through a series of presentations from historians and practitioners in the field.

This course is for designers and data visualizers who want to expand their knowledge of visual storytelling, past and present. The course will highlight key historical and contemporary designers and case studies, showcasing a range of multivariate representations of data using different mediums, scales and dimensions.

Guest presenter schedule (subject to change)

Session 1: Course Introduction

MGMT. design

Session 2 & 6: Lessons and Techniques from Information Design History Part 1: BCE to 1900; Part 2: 1920-1980

Doug Scott
is a graphic designer and legendary educator with over 40 years of experience. He has taught graphic design, exhibition design, typography, graphic design history and information design at a number of institutions such as RISD, Yale, Maine College of Art, University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth, Northeastern University and Harvard University. Doug has so much history to relay we broke his talks into two parts, the first about info design precedents, from ancient times to the early 1900s, and the second from the 1920s to the 1980s, setting the stage for the current day.

Session 3: Plotting complexities: Towards a Representation of Everything

Ian Fowler
serves as the Curator of Maps, History, and Government Information for the New York Public Library. In that role he is responsible for the care and development of the cartographic collections as well as using new geospatial technologies and applications for education, and the use of NYPL map collections for scholarly research. Before joining the New York Public Library Ian was the director of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine and has previously worked at the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress. Ian has a B.A. in Education with a minor in Geography from The Ohio State University and an MSLIS from Dominican University outside of Chicago.

Session 4: From Isotype to Visual Education, the Triumph of Pictorial Statistics

Jason Forest
is the Director of the Data Visualization Lab for McKinsey and Company and is the editor-in-chief of Nightingale: The Journal of the Data Visualization Society. Jason will share his love of Otto and Marie Neurath and take us on a deep dive into the history of Isotope and pictorial statistics.

Session 5: A Geometry of Connections

David Reinfurt
is an independent graphic designer. In 2000, he founded O-R-G inc. and established Dexter Sinister with Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey in 2006. David currently teaches at Princeton University and has taught at the Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University. He was a Rockefeller Fellow in Architecture and Design as well as a Rome Prize fellow in Design at the American Academy. We know him as a smart guy who can share some insights on Ray and Charles Eames like no one else.

Session 7: Data Action : Using Data for a Public Good

Sarah Williams
is an Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is also Director of the Civic Data Design Lab and the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Williams’ combines her training in computation and design to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broad audiences and create civic change. She was Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and she will talk about her amazing work at the Civic Data Design Lab.

Session 8: Visual Journalism

Martín González Gómez
is a graphics editor at The New York Times. Prior to that he was a visual journalist at The Economist where he built graphics and interactive articles about politics and the pandemic, among others. He will share insights on creating data visualizations for the election and other projects, the process, and what its like to work at the nation’s newspaper of record

Session 9: Graphing with Barcodes and Mapping Mayhem: Unusual Information in Unexpected Places

Barbara Glauber
founded the New York-based design studio Heavy Meta in 1990. The studio focuses on projects for cultural institutions, collaborating with artists, curators, and editors to create interdisciplinary exhibitions, information graphics, identities, and over 100 books. Her publications have been selected for the AIGA 50 Books 50 Covers 17 times and have won numerous awards including the Alice Award for the most beautiful illustrated book. Barbara has an MFA from CalArts, teaches design at Yale and Cooper Union, and is a co-curator of the Typographics Conference. She will share her unique approach to information design as it relates to her personal practice and irreverent sensibility.

Session 10: Wrap up/Discussion

MGMT. design

There will be no assignments but references and additional readings will be offered based on the theme and presentation of the week. A curious intellect, appreciation of history, and a stable internet connection are the only requirements. This class will be online via Zoom. NB: this class will skip April 23 and 30.

Registration is now closed

Tue, March 5 – Tue, May 21, 2024
6:00–7:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Number of sessions: 10


Price: $375

About Alicia Cheng

Alicia Cheng

Alicia is the Head of Design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was a founding partner of MGMT. design and a co-design director at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. As an educator, she currently serves as an external critic at the Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at Yale University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Barnard College, and the Cooper Union School of Art. In 2020 she published “This Is What Democracy Looked Like,’ a book on the visual history of the printed ballot. Alicia received her BA from Barnard College and MFA from Yale University.

About Sarah Gephart

Sarah Gephart

Sarah is the principal of MGMT. design, a graphic design office that focuses on cultural projects through print, branding, experiential, and information design. MGMT. has won awards from the Art Directors Club, the American Society of Magazine Editors, Print Magazine Design Annual, Society of Environmental Graphic Designers (SEGD), AIGA 50 books/50 covers, AIGA 365, and I.D. Magazine. Sarah is currently teaching at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and has previously taught typography and information design at Pratt, the Cooper Union School of Art, Texas State University, Maryland College Institute of Art, and Parsons School of Design. Sarah received her BA from Oberlin College and MFA from Yale University.