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project brief
Communication often occurs in multiple formats.
The purpose of this project is to have students
convey complex information in several distinct
formats. In this class, students are required to
be researchers, authors, editors, and designers.
A good amount of class time is spent on content
development where the students explore the es-
sence of the story to determine its inherent struc-
ture. From there, they represent this structure in
visual form, allowing the viewer to engage with
the content in a way that is accessible at fi rst
glance and easy to comprehend. Students are re-
sponsible for choosing a topic within the domain
of physical health and well-being, researching
and developing content, and designing the fi nal
pieces. Along the way, they are asked to examine
the differences between the formats and to work
with the characteristics of each. Such characteris-
tics deal with the sequential/holistic, viewer-con-
trolled/presenter-controlled, permanent/ephem-
eral nature of each. Students are challenged to
consider design issues such as narration and se-
quence, visual hierarchy, progressive disclosure,
cognitive preparation through advanced organiz-
ers, matching of content structure to visual struc-
ture, units of viewing, and information density.
project goal
Projects will be designed in three different for-
mats: booklet, poster, and a slidelike presenta-
tion. The topic for the initial project will address
physical health and well-being; subsequent topics
can be areas where the student already has ample
knowledge. We will also conduct an audit of exist-
ing visualizations to analyze the project’s success
(or lack thereof), and examine design principles
used and possible alternate solutions.
Class: Communication Design Workshop
Level: Masters
Faculty: Tomoko Ichikawa
Duration of Project: Seven to Fifteen Weeks
Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Visualizing Various Information Types across Multiple Channels
Human Vitamins
Student: Kyungsun Kim
The challenge, when trying to describe the world
of vitamins, is solved by dividing the thirteen vi-
tamins into two basic groups: water soluble and
fat soluble. This became the basic structure for
my poster and booklet. The poster uses two very
dynamic, abstract images of water and liver/
intestines to represent the absorption process
of the two groups. The poster also outlines the
benefi ts and defi ciencies of each vitamin.
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Benefi ting from a dramatic im-
age that visually describes sco-
liosis, viewers are shown how
to detect the condition early,
understanding of the various
types of scoliosis, and major
treatment options. Clear and
simple structuring of the con-
tent, effective use of typograph-
ical hierarchy, and informative
graphics in each of the sections
result in an easy-to-view poster.
Student: Phillip LaFargue II
Biotechnology versus
Organic Food Production
Student: Lucas Daniel
By demonstrating comparative
information of two opposing
types of food production and
distribution, this poster at-
tempts to educate on various
levels. In what is essentially
an annotated and illustrated
matrix, the viewer sees compar-
isons at each step (indicated
in the middle column in gray)
from production to market.
The introductory paragraphs
on top under the “Biotechnol-
ogy” and “Organic” headings,
along with the text between
the two faces, synthesize the
big story that sets up the
remaining content in the
poster. A comparative timeline
appears at the bottom to
indicate major milestones of
each production method.
Childhood Obesity
Student: Jessica Gatto
My poster compares daily activities of families in the U.S. with
obese parents and those with nonobese parents in the U.S. Activi-
ties include eating together, being active as a family, and television
viewing. Contrasting the body mass index of the two groups from
toddler age to young adulthood is also revealing. Comparisons are
done in a nonjudgmental fashion, allowing viewers to arrive at
conclusions on their own. My booklet provides a more sequential
narrative. It outlines societal factors that contribute to obesity—a
steeper increase in carbohydrate consumption versus protein con-
sumption, a more rapid rise in the price index of produce versus
soft drinks and sweets, and a decrease in walking and biking—and
offers solution areas, calling on parents, schools, and the media.
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