Design for Information by Isabel Mereilles

Isabel Meirelles’s “Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations” makes a welcome contribution to the information visualization literature.

Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations

The author is an experienced designer and educator in information and motion graphics, for print and interaction. The book is intended primarily for designers, but it does attempt to bridge the technical requirements with visual design theory and practice – and there is a great need for this type of synthesis.

The book contains a wealth of beautiful and useful visual examples that illustrate accomplishments in information visualization, as well as the important theoretical foundations underlying these. The author introduces relevant research in psychology, such as the Gestalt laws describing how we detect patterns and visually integrate coherent percepts (proximity, simplicity, familiarity, and segregation between figure and ground).

The book is structured around the main established visualization methods: 

    • Relational Structures: Networks
    • Hierarchical Structures: Trees
    • Temporal Structures: Timelines and Flows
    • Spatio-temporal Structures
    • Textual Structures

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jul 21, 2015]

Visual Complexity by Manuel Lima

The recent (2011) Manuel Lima book “Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information” has made it onto a Wired magazine list.

Visual Complexity

The book includes a showcase and analysis of “the variety of contemporary visual depictions of complex networks”

The author is responsible for the site:
featuring a database of projects that visualize complex networks.

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Dec 02, 2011, edited Jul 21, 2015 ]

Visualization Methods

Periodic Table of Visualization Methods shows visualization methods for data, information, concept, strategy, method and compound presented in a familiar periodic table structure. The classification scheme in use here is a multi-faceted one:

simple to complex
data / information / concept / strategy / metaphor / compound
process / structure
detail / overview
divergence / convergence


This project is one of the maps produced by, a collaborative effort from various Swiss universities including Università della Svizzera italiana, Universität St. Gallen (UNISG) , L’Université de Genève (UNIGE), Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW).

I was especially intrigued by the XEROX PARC Cone Tree (Cn) which has been used to represent hierarchical file structures including the Wold Wide Web.

[Edited from Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jul 10, 2007 ]

Information Design and Architecture

‘Information Design’ also known as “Information Architecture” (IA) and many other names, but we already knew from Gottlob Frege that a symbol can denote many senses…

The first book on Information Design that I read was this book, published in 2000:
Information Design

edited by Robert Jacobson.

I saw it at the MIT bookstore, and couldn’t resist…

One of the first online journals about usability is Boxes and Arrows, and I had the opportunity to attend a presentation and meet its founder Christina Wodtke…I think she was one of the founders of Information Architecture Institute… the presentation consisted largely of a film featuring interviews with various ‘information architects’…
the opportunity was partly the result of the recent IA Summit which just happened to take place in Montreal… one of the interesting applications
discussed at the summit was Flickr Photo Sharing…

Christina published a book on IA in 2002
Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web 

Information design and information architecture is interesting to me, although it is a little bit like ‘informatics’, the meaning of this seems to be continually redefined with subtle nuances. the following list of disciplines are closely related:

I suppose the inter-disciplinary nature of information makes it difficult to label…

I just run across this article, and thought it was an interesting parallel between architecture and information architecture… i always thought that these have a lot in common…

We Are All Connected: The Path from Architecture to Information Architecture, by Fu-Tien Chiou

For architectures of large scale websites there is

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
wirtten by Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville. This 2nd edition was published in 2002.

Peter Morville published a new book on IA in 2005:
Ambient Findability

You can read an interview with Peter Morville in Boxes and Arrows by Liz Danzico

Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

by Jenifer Tidwell, the book site ( offers a good summary of the contents. Jenifer Tidwell first presented a UI pattern language.

[Edited from Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from April 18, 2005 – November 18, 2006]