MA Information Design
Programme Director: Keith Tam
In contemporary society, information fills our everyday lives. From wayfinding signage to utility bills, from editorial information graphics to shopping experiences, well designed information helps people effectively perform tasks, learn, generate knowledge, as well as making decisions. Regardless of medium of delivery, information design plays a crucial role in the communication and delivery of public services for all, but also establishes customer relationships and influences how brands are perceived. As a field of practice, information design brings together a range of knowledge and skills such as graphic design, typography, usability research, writing and editing, information architecture, interface design and so on. Analytical, goal-oriented and user-centred, the process of designing effective information requires good observations of users and stakeholders, so that their needs are duly fulfilled.
Building on our Department's strength in typographic and information design research and its focus on 'designing for reading', we develop communication and visual systems that facilitate the effective communication of complex information to users. We approach information design from a strategic perspective, analysing and conceptualising services and user journeys. We adopt a user-centred approach where theories, previous research as well as engagement with real or proxy users support design decisions and generate new design opportunities. We make informational artefacts such as complex documents, user interfaces and interaction environments that are functional but also with a high order of aesthetics and typographic craftsmanship.
The programme puts equal emphasis on theory and practice. The practical component of the programme consists of a series of studio projects with given briefs and an independent or client-based project. All projects are accompanied by client-facing design documents and reflections on practice. The theoretical component consists of a regular programme of seminars and lectures, essay and report writing, as well as the research and writing of a 10,000-13,000-word dissertation on a chosen topic, focussing on a specific aspect of information design.
Teaching and learning
We situate design practice within a research-intensive environment. Most of the teaching happens in a dedicated studio in an informal and relaxed setting. Students have their own workspaces with after-hours access. The Department houses outstanding collections and archives related to information design and typography, including the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype collection, the most complete Isotype archive in the world. Students will be able to make use of these resources in their learning as well as research. In addition to departmental staff, visiting professionals frequently contribute to the programme, in seminars, lectures, tutorials and critiques. There will also be opportunities to visit leading information design studios.