NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

Member of International Council of Design ico-D

English | فارسی

Neshan 23


Information Design

Erik Spiekermann

We are bombarded by a phenomenon called Information Anxiety which makes us look, listen and react. Some of this information, however, is more important than others. Maybe we’d be better off without the junk mail and the commercials, but often the information we do need isn’t provided in a way we can readily understand.
Familiar forms of communication all contain information which may not necessarily excite or even interest you, but not understanding it could be expensive. How you interpret some information could even be a matter of life or death. Clearly, there’s a crying need for information design in our modern world, for data that is organized, written and presented so everyone can understand it. When the design of information is left to chance the result is information anxiety. And when things become too complex, when an environment defies common sense, when technical requirements are allowed to prevail over human considerations, then someone has to intervene. This is where the information designer comes in. It’s his (or her) job to know that what’s required here is more than just “good” design.

What’s the point of creating a swell-looking layout and printing it in attractive colors when all the wrong questions are being asked in all the wrong ways?
There are some encouraging signs that information design is finally coming into its own. Identifying the problem is the first step. And more and more businesses are now discovering the advantages of clear communications. Their response signals a fundamental shift in design thinking to a model where something is more efficient, more practical and - what a surprise - more affordable, precisely because it is rationally designed.
Good information design must communicate by convincing us, not just browbeating us. And information designers would do well to keep something else in mind. They need to know, as clever advertising people have long known, that nothing convinces people more than being entertained. Show me a form that’s fun to fill out, a sign that makes me smile, or a set of instructions I’ll want to take to bed to read, and maybe all this information anxiety won’t seem so painful after all.

Erik Spiekermann

– art historian, printer, typedesigner (Meta, Officina, Unit, Info, Fira et al) information architect, author. Founder MetaDesign ’79, FontShop ’89. Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Britain 2007. TDC Medal & National German Lifetime Achievement Award 2011, etc. Partner in Edenspiekermann Berlin, San Francisco, Amsterdam. Lives in Berlin, London & San Francisco. A book about his life and work “Hello I am Erik” was published by Gestalten Verlag in 2014. He runs P98a, an experimental letterpress workshop in Berlin. e​.spiekermann@de​.edenspiekermann​.com

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