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DESIGN 478 A: Information Design

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Meeting Time: 
TTh 8:30am - 11:20am
ART 247
Karen Cheng
Karen Cheng

Syllabus Description:

This course is restricted to undergraduate and graduate students in the UW Division of Design. DESIGN 478: Information design is an advanced visual design course in information visualization for design majors who have intermediate to advanced knowledge in visual communication design (typography, color, composition, etc.) and robust pre-existing skills in Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign) and web design (HTML and CSS). If you are not a UW Design senior or graduate student and you wish to request a seat in the class, please email me at In your email, please include a link to your online visual design portfolio, or attach a PDF (10MB maximum) of your design work. Please also explain your prior experience/qualifications in visual design.

Course objectives:
The purpose of this class is to help students develop the skills necessary to research, analyze, and present information in a compelling visual narrative. Specifically, students will:

—Research and assemble a comprehensive set of information and data
—Transform this research into clear and persuasive information/data graphics
—Organize information/data graphics (and text) into an engaging story
—Discuss, analyze and evaluate effective and ineffective information design

The vehicle for your exploration of information design will be the analysis of a specific, assigned topic. Each student must create either 1) a large-format, self-mailing poster or 2) a single-page scrolling website. Students may work in pairs; a student pair must create both a poster and an accompanying website. 

Previous examples of student projects from this course may be viewed at:

A suggested reading/book list in information visualization is compiled here:

A suggested list of information visualization blogs is compiled here:

A full syllabus for this course is available as a PDF file here:

Catalog Description: 
Exploration of strategies for enhancing and visually presenting complex statistics and data. Various information subjects are selected and formed into charts, diagrams, graphs, tables, directories and maps. Identify, through personal investigations, the principles which provide the most successful means for presentation of information. Prerequisite: DESIGN 466.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 4, 2017 - 9:11pm