Visual Information for Everyday Use: Design and Research Perspectives

Visual Information for Everyday Use: Design and Research Perspectives

Visual Information for Everyday Use: Design and Research Perspectives

Visual Information for Everyday Use: Design and Research Perspectives

Synopsis

Creating graphical commmunication for public use is a large industry and a fertile area for research and development. Here, world figures within the interdisciplinary field of information design have come together to share their knowledge.

Excerpt

When a proper history is written of the thinking and practices which cluster around information design-an awkward term for a still contested idea-due space should be given to two long conversations in Dutch forests, and to the books which emerged from them. Visual Information for Everyday Use is one of those books, and one of the things which it does is record the formal content of the second conversation: the Lunteren symposium on 'Public graphics' in 1994. the planners of the symposium, collaborating from their bases in Utrecht and Delft, had a simple idea: to 'bring together researchers and practitioners, to discuss approaches to public information across disciplines', and to establish 'public graphics' as a coherent field of study.

Fourteen years separate the books, and 16 the meetings: in the interval the landscape shifted politically, economically, culturally and technologically. Visual Information for Everyday Use charts many of the ways in which information design has been inscribed and practised on this changing terrain. To give just one minor index of change, in channels of discourse: the first meeting, at Het Vennenbos in 1978, eventually generated the book whose title, Information Design, echoed that of the print-on-paper journal which emerged soon after the conference; while a legacy of the second meeting was the stimulus to set up two e-mail discussion groups, 'InfoDesign' and 'InfoDesign-Cafe'.

I was lucky enough to be at the Lunteren symposium and have, elsewhere, set down a gathering of critical reflections upon it (Information Design Journal, 8(1), 1995). But this book is more than a document of the symposium: I know something of the work involved in transforming a collection of 'conference pre-prints'-those often unstable, partially-formed, shooting scripts-into the formal shape of a book, a venture which now escapes the conversation's boundaries of time and place for a life of its own. Congratulations to the trio of editors!

What my own written retrospect did not do was try to capture the look and feel of the Lunteren meeting, so my account missed the personal inflections and styles,

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