Design 4


Download the course syllabus PUDM_2003_C_ROBINSON_Sp12 (PDF)


Design 4 – 2487 – PUDM 2003 – C, Visual Organization and Information Design

When: Jan 24, 2012 – May 08, 2012, Tuesdays 3:00 pm – 5:40 pm

Where: Arnhold Hall 55 W13th 407

Instructor: Andrew C. Robinson


How can information design be used to make sense of complex data, events, processes and organization systems?  And how can information design inform good (and bad) decisions?  How does can it be used to learn something new, tell stories and build awareness about the ourselves and the world we live in?  We will be exploring these ideas in Design 4

Students will explore information design by examining and creating visual communication in the form of icon and symbols, pictogram systems, page layouts, diagrams, charts, maps and instructional material. The class involves a studio and will draw upon previous design and technology skills.

Prerequisites: Design 1, 2, and 3

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a deep understanding of visual organization and information design.
  • Develop skills to analyze and design effective data visualizations and communication.
  • Understand the implications that information design skills hold for design management in the distillation of multivariate data.
  • Prepare students to apply their knowledge to their upper-level classes (Design Research, Design Development, Senior Seminar and Thesis).

Assessable Tasks

The coursework will include in-class and out-of-class projects that demonstrate on-going development in visual analysis, design, and presentation skills.  There will be two core project themes that inform project work in class, and multiple activities and deliverables will be explored in each project.

The following are concepts and themes that inform the content of our work for Design 4.

The focus of this semester will be on learning information graphic tools and techniques for narrative and navigational based graphics. How do you tell your audience the story? and how do you lead your audience through the information? We will critique our work on both on design merit and it’s ability to communicate the information and the message to a target audience.

Each task (assignment or project) in this class will center on a theme or topic. Based on the lectures and exercises from class, you will do research and apply information design tools and techniques to create visualizations about this theme or topic. The tools you use will include InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and may also include iMovie, After Effects, Sketch-up. etc. Diagraming techniques include pictograms, ideograms, time-lines, quantitative charts, flow charts, instructions, storyboards, and maps. You will use these tools and techniques to deliver projects that include presentations, posters, movies etc.

Core Values at Parsons
Parsons mission is to preparing students to creatively and critically address the complex human conditions of 21st century culture.

Students and Faculty share a commitment to:
*the Urban – making New York City and other urban areas our laboratories and
sites for research and making, reflecting the urgent needs and possibilities of 21st
Century art and design and beyond;

*Sustainability – addressing the need to work for both human and environmental
sustainability through understanding and designing systems that allow for or
produce longevity and renewal;

*Diversity – being an institutional leader in addressing historic under-representation
(of people of color, LGBT people, and others)(?) in art and design schools and the professional fields they help to create, especially insofar as so many different people locally and globally are impacted by and interact with designed goods, systems, and spaces;

*the Global – fostering students’ understanding of political and social economies,
global dynamics of exchange and production, and historical specificities in order to
prepare them to work creatively and ethically in a changing world;

*Art and Design as Agents for Social Change – challenging students, and the
members of the Parsons community, to understand our work in relationship to its
social and political possibilities, following on the legacy of the New School, and
updating it for our present and the future.

Class Values
Process work is valued in this course and is considered a key element to good design. When applicable, students will be asked to bring in supporting material for each project presented to reviewers and to the professor.

This will include the following design process (Applied Design Thinking) stages:
1) Define the problem
2) Research
3) Ideate
4) Prototype
5) Choose
6) Implement
7) Learn

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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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