Design 4

LATCH – Methods of Organization

Information Anxiety

Making sense of information through design

“The only thing we know is our own personal knowledge and lack of knowledge.. And since it’s the only thing we really know, the key to making things understandable is to understand what it’s like not to understand.” – Richard Saul Wurman

What does this mean?

How does this relate to the design process?

LATCH – Methods of Organization






“Information may be infinite, however…The organization of information is finite as it can only be organized by LATCH: Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, or Hierarchy.”

Richard Saul Wurman, 1996


Compare information coming from various sources.


Travel Guide

Parts of the Body

Parts of a System


Used for very large bodies of information. Not always the best organization method – forced organization rather than natural.


list of states on a website

list of student names in a class roster

When would this be ideal?


Used for events that occur over a fixed duration. Easy to understand, easy to draw comparisons and conclusions.

a joke

a scenario

a narrative

What lends itself to this method of organization?


Well reinforced by color & placement. Grouped by similar importance – a value judgment.

Organization of goods.

Types of activities

Breeds of animals

What are some other examples of categorical groupings?


Assign value or weight to the information; usually on a scale

largest => smallest

$$$$ => $

Other examples?

Example: Organizing dogs

Here is an example of a list of all dog breeds.

“ Once you have a sense of organization, however casual, you can relax with that knowledge and begin to examine the information from various vantage points, which will enable you to understand the relationship between bodies of information” – Richard Saul Wurman

For example organize the dog breeds alphabetically, here is the A group.

“ The dogs don’t change, but the information about them does” – Richard Saul Wurman

For example organize them by their breed group according to the American Kennel Club

Here is the Sporting group…

…and the Toy group

We could look at dogs from a number of different vantage points and visualize that data in useful ways to convey information and impart knowledge to our audience.



And taking the data and information you gather we can visualize the data as we have seen above, and we can also incorporate narrative to elaborate on an idea through more anecdotal design information design strategies like this

and use data to compare and contrast data

Think about how you can structure data to maximize the implied information for the user
Various visualizations and arrangements of data can change meaning
Pay attention to location, alphabet, time, category and hierarchy.

One comment on “LATCH – Methods of Organization

  1. Pingback: L.A.T.C.H. | Graphic Design 4

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Welcome to the Design 4 Blog

This blog is for inspiration and education related to the Parsons Design 4 Information Design and Visualization course taught by Andrew Robinson. The objectives of this class are to help students in the Strategic Design Studies program to learn how to create effective information design as a tool for communication. Beauty in form and function, which communicates ideas effectively, is our goal.
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