Visual Information

Visual Infor­ma­tion, a course cur­rently in devel­op­ment, is an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to think­ing about how we rep­re­sent and under­stand data. As a class, we’ll approach issues of infor­ma­tion design. We’ll work to cre­ate a cul­ture of pos­i­tive cri­tique while build­ing an under­stand­ing of data graph­ics, the role of artis­tic design, and the trans­for­ma­tion of infor­ma­tion via 2-D, 3-D, and higher dimen­sional means. A sampling–though nei­ther exhaus­tive nor hierarchical–of frame­works, the­o­ries, and con­cepts we may con­sider in infor­ma­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tion include:

  • Color (col­orime­try, color space, color infor­ma­tion, color blindness)
  • Scal­ing (what is a scale? what do scales do? what does it mean for a scale to be lin­ear? non-linear?)
  • Shape (how do dif­fer­ent shapes afford dis­tinct visual advan­tages? How can shape be a dimension)
  • Tufte-ian approaches to infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture (the infor­ma­tion is the inter­face, the Lie Factor)
  • Wilkinson’s gram­mar of graph­ics as a way of describ­ing data representation
  • Inter­ac­tiv­ity (Pro­cess­ing, d3.js)

Stu­dents will also work on a term-long project–with a topic of their choosing–to either develop and extend a the­ory of data graph­ics or lever­age exist­ing frame­works to cre­ate new kinds of data graphics.