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INFORMATION DESIGN

The information age empowers individuals to understand, explore and shape their surroundings in a way that is unprecedented in terms of speed and scale. Despite all the new tools and technologies the world seems more complicated than ever. It is in need of new ideas, methods and personalities to map the data describing our individual and collective patterns of behaviour, transactions and thoughts and translating these to their essence. Not only by making information attractive, but first and foremost by turning it into effective narratives.

Every new technology transforms the nature of design. Digital technology has fundamentally changed the role of graphic designers. A new balance needs to be found between those who publish information and those who study it. Designing news and designing knowledge are therefore essential themes within the programme of the master Information Design. Students are questioned about their position in the new collaborations that technology has allowed them to participate in. This asks for designers who are strong individuals, who have developed personal design methodologies and have acquired knowledge of the world in which they act.

Technology has also opened up the field of design itself. Allowing designers to create their own design tools and thus expand the notion of what a product is. The master Information Design introduces students to new practices and challenges them to experiment and discover their own approach, so that they will be able to create their own systems and recipes. In this process they will be forced to develop an active knowledge of their profession and the broader cultural field in order to understand the connotations of their individual expression.

Designing information is a multidisciplinary effort, and therefore students of the master Information Design have varied backgrounds as designers, journalists, scientists and design managers. This fits the programme’s inclusive approach of actively seeking collaborations with external individuals and institutions to research current issues.

For more information check the website of the Master Information Design: www.masterinformationdesign.info.

DESIGN TUTORS, THESIS SUPERVISORS AND GUESTS DEPARTMENT INFORMATION DESIGN

Team of design mentors and thesis supervisors 2017-2018:
Simon Davies (designer), Gert Staal (design writer, critic and editor, thesis supervisor), Koehorst in ‘t Veld (designers), Delphine Bedel (artist, publisher), Anja Groten (designer), Frans Bevers (architectural designer), Arthur Roeloffzen (designer), Kim Bouvy (photographer, thesis supervisor and coordinator of the department), Joost Grootens (designer and head of the department).

Visiting critics / guests 2016-2017:
Delphine Bedel (artist, publisher), Manet van Montfrans (researcher Modern European literature at UvA), Bureau Mijksenaar (wayfinding experts), Jennifer Pettersson (documentary film and radio maker) Marina Otero Verzier (Head R&D HNI and external examiner).

Guest lecturers 2016-2017:
Sybren Kooistra (data journalist), Jonas Lund (data artist), Arnold van Bruggen / Rob Hornstra (journalist / photographer Socchi Project), Erik van Gameren (information designer), Hans Gremmen (graphic designer), Geert Mul (multi media artist), Astrid Vorstermans (publisher Valiz), Remco van Bladel (graphic designer), Shuchen Tan (documentary film maker), Henrik van Leeuwen (researcher, designer), Louis Lühti (designer, writer), David Bennewidth (graphic designer), Ronald Ophuis (artist, painter), Karel van der Waarde (design researcher), Gerlinde Schuller / The World as Flatland (information Design studio), Matthijs van Boxsel (writer and pataphysic) , Hansje van Halem (graphic designer), Anja Groten (hacker, designer) Christiaan Triebert  / Bellingcat, (investigative research network) Büro 146 (graphic design agency).

 

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

In the first year of the master Information Design the student obtains the skills and
knowledge to take on an individual design research project. Students are challenged to develop a critical, autonomous attitude towards current practices and paradigms in the design field and how these relate to society. During the second year students develop a thesis and design project in which the designer uses, showcases and communicates the tools and attitude developed in the first year of the study. The programme is structured in such a way that it fully supports students to explore their own fields of interest within the various assignments. The master Information Design is situated in a domain framed by three crucial notions: technology, critical reflection and communication.

Technology 
Technology lies at the heart of the information age. But there is nothing new here. The introduction of (industrial) printing techniques at the end of the 19th century made it possible to share information between one and many on a scale and at a pace and a price that was without precedent. Subsequent technological innovations have since shaped groups of specialists dealing with the reproduction and representation of information: journalists, editors, typesetters, designers et cetera. Every new technology changes their roles and responsibilities and creates a new balance between the different players in the process of publishing information, from author to reader.
More than other design fields graphic design seems characterized by its connection to technology. Necessarily technology has to play a vital part in the education of the graphic designer – supporting bachelor students to obtain much needed professional skills, and deepening these skills and stimulating reaction on the impact of technology during the phase of master education.

The master Information Design introduces the student to the basics of film making, map making and writing, which we see as crucial 2.0 skills of the graphic designer. Students are expected to have obtained the essential graphic design skills such as typography, image editing and editorial design before they enter programme. These 1.0 skills will be developed further by applying them in more complex contexts, and by creating a critical understanding of the impact of the design essentials on the products they design. If individual students show insufficient mastery of the essential graphic skills we will give recommendations for self-study.

Critical reflection
Challenge: question personal perceptions, methods and preferences in design.
Position: explore and identify an approach that is relevant to the designer and the professional field.
Collaboration: engage in interdisciplinary research and design processes as a means to gain a critical understanding of various fields of expertise linked to communication and design.
Cultural understanding of the design field: gain new insights into the way design is linked to its broader cultural surroundings, and challenge fixed ideas on culture through daily interaction with fellow students from all parts of the world.
Political understanding of society: acknowledge that design cannot be dissociated from the political context in which it functions and learn to position work in a political reality.

Communication
The master Information Design acknowledges that new technologies will lead to new products. Exploring new formats and new roles for information design and the information designer is therefore an essential part of the programme. They are related to the fast changing patterns in communication, the roles of media and publishers, and the global notion of an information overload. At the same time a number of information design typologies will be studied during the first year of the study. Typologies are formats developed over time with their own rules and cultural history. They offer authors, publishers, designers and users an environment with a common understanding that facilitates communication. Next to the skills and the critical attitude, the experience and knowledge of how typologies work is an essential part of the toolkit for students working on their thesis project in the second year.

Head of department: Joost Grootens
Coordinator: Kim Bouvy