TYMCESI-Strategic Information Design

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Eric Kindel

Email: e.t.kindel@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:


This module introduces students to the practice of information design, with an emphasis on strategic and creative thinking skills. Adopting a user-centred approach, the module situates information design within a business context, so that it forms a critical and integral part of a business’s strategic developments. Brand identity, customer experience, and information architecture are the main themes of this module. Principles and methods of information design will be introduced. Students will develop design concepts from an experiential standpoint across media, as well as crafting specific instances of communication for print, screen or in the environment.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to:


•    conduct critical analyses of the communication and business goals, intended users and contexts of use of an information-intensive design project

•    conduct analyses of the information architecture of a complex body of data/content and to generate a logical and effective taxonomy based on users’ and stakeholders’ needs


•    demonstrate independent initiative and an iterative approach to a design project

•    apply synthetic skills in proposing a creative, appropriate, and persuasive solution to a design problem, showing evidence of sensitivity to users’ and stakeholders’ needs, visual judgement, and the ability to recognise and design with genre attributes


•    demonstrate craft skills and professional competence in producing design prototypes, specifications and well-documented files of process work

•    communicate effectively via visual and verbal means, in the form of oral presentations, written reports, design documentation and academic essays

Additional outcomes:

Students should be able to work as part of a team, effectively contribute to meetings, build their own additional learning objectives into a project, as well as manage time and resources effectively to execute a project to completion.

Outline content:

The main component of the module is a practical design project. The brief for this project will vary from year to year, but the issues that the project addresses will remain the same. Students will consider the macro perspective of designing for a customer experience with touchpoints that may span across media, as well as crafting specific instances of communication for print, screen or environments.

Approaches to information architecture will form a major part of the project:

•    developing complex taxonomies and organisation systems for a large body of content

using techniques such as card sorting and task flow analysis

•    shaping the interfaces that allow users to select and display relevant content based on their needs and goals at various points of their user journeys

•    understanding client’s business model and goals and their relationship to information architecture and interfaces

Examples of genres include online shopping websites, product catalogues, document repositories, physical and virtual libraries and archives, event programmes, on-demand music services, etc.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There are three main vehicles for teaching and learning

1.    Practical design project: A practical investigation into information design issues, simulating a professional design studio environment, where design principles and research methods are applied. Teaching modes include tutorials, small-group discussions, critiques and presentations.

2.    Research and essay writing: Investigation into a chosen topic on information design and its application in a business context. Research and writing of an essay. Tutorials will be the primary teaching mode for this component.

3.    Seminar: Oral presentation based on directed reading, supported by visuals and a printed handout. Discussions are encouraged on the ideas, principles and methods introduced in the assigned readings. 


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17
Tutorials 15
Supervised time in studio/workshop 33
Guided independent study 235
Total hours by term 300.00
Total hours for module 300.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 33
Project output other than dissertation 67

Other information on summative assessment:

Both the essay and the practical design project will result in a final summative mark after submission.

Formative assessment methods:

Formative assessment on the essay will typically be provided by one session advising on the choice of topic, and one in-progress feedback session. Formative feedback on the practical design project will be provided orally at iterative critique sessions, typically alternating between plenary and one-on-one sessions.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

An individual item of coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of not less than 50%, otherwise it must be resubmitted by a date to be notified.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 27 July 2017

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