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.